Today Barack Obama and Mitt Romney presented their final arguments for election in opposing editorials in the Wall Street Journal. You can read both below. Here is Barack Obama's case for four more years.
Barack Obama: Real Progress, But We're Not Done
For the past few days, we've all been properly focused on one of the worst storms of our lifetimes. We mourn those who were lost. And we pledge to stand with those whose lives have been turned upside down for as long as it takes to recover and rebuild—better than before.
Because when hardship hits, America is at its best. The petty differences that consume us in normal times fade away. There are no Democrats or Republicans during a storm—only fellow Americans. That is how we get through the most trying times: together.
In 2008, we were mired in two wars and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Together, we've battled our way back. Our businesses have created over five million new jobs in the past two and a half years. Home values are on the rise. Manufacturing is growing at the fastest pace in 15 years. The American auto industry is back. Thanks to the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform, the war in Iraq is over. And Osama bin Laden is dead.
We've made real progress. But we're not done yet. On Tuesday, you get to choose between two fundamentally different visions of America—one where we return to the top-down policies that crashed our economy four years ago, and one built on a strong, growing middle class.
Our free market is the engine of America's progress, driven by risk-takers, innovators and dreamers. Our people succeed when they have the chance to get a good education and learn new skills—and so do the businesses that hire them, or the companies they start. We believe that when we support research into scientific and medical breakthroughs, new industries will start here and stay here. We grow faster when our tax code rewards hard work and companies that create jobs in America, and when quality health care and a dignified retirement aren't just achievable goals but a measure of our values as a nation.
For eight years, we had a president who shared these beliefs. Bill Clinton asked the wealthiest to pay a little more so we could reduce the deficit and still make these investments. By the end of his second term, America had created 23 million new jobs. Incomes were up. Poverty was down. Deficits became surpluses. And Wall Street did very well.
In the eight years after, we followed a different path. Bigger tax cuts for the wealthy we couldn't afford. Encouraging companies to ship jobs and profits overseas. Fewer rules for big banks and insurers. The result of this top-down economics? Falling incomes, record deficits, the slowest job growth in half a century, and an economic crisis we've been cleaning up for the past four years.
Gov. Mitt Romney has offered—under the guise of "real change"—these very same policies that failed our country so badly. But we know better.
We shouldn't end college tax credits to pay for millionaires' tax cuts; we should make college more affordable for everyone who's willing to work for it. We should recruit 100,000 math and science teachers so that high-tech, high-wage jobs aren't created in China but in America. And we should equip another two million Americans at community colleges with skills that businesses are looking for right now.
Change is an America that is home to the next generation of manufacturing and innovation. I'm proud I bet on the American auto industry. I refuse to cede the future of manufacturing to other countries. We need a tax code that stops rewarding companies that ship jobs overseas and starts rewarding companies that create jobs here; one that stops subsidizing oil-company profits and keeps supporting new energy jobs and new technology that will cut our oil imports in half.
Change is an America that turns the page on a decade of war to do some nation-building here at home. So long as I'm commander in chief, we'll pursue our enemies with the strongest military in the world. But it is time to use the savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to pay down our debt and rebuild American roads, bridges, schools and broadband.
Change is an America where we reduce our deficit by cutting where we can and asking the wealthiest to go back to the income-tax rates they paid under President Clinton. I've worked with Republicans to cut a trillion dollars of spending, and I'll do more. I'll work with anyone of any party to move this country forward. But I won't eliminate health insurance for millions of poor, elderly or disabled on Medicaid, and I won't turn Medicare into a voucher to pay for another millionaire's tax cut. That is surrender to the same philosophy that hurt middle-class families for too long.
I'm fighting for the Americans whose letters I read at night, whom I meet on the trail every day. The laid-off furniture worker who's retraining at age 55 for a career in biotechnology. The owner of a small restaurant who needs a loan to expand after the bank turned him down. The autoworker who's back on the job filled with the pride of building a great car.
When these Americans do well, America does well. That is the change we need right now. Now's the time to keep pushing forward to make sure that no matter who you are, where you come from or how you started out, you can work to achieve your American dream.
That is the America within our reach. That is why I'm asking for your vote this Tuesday.
Mr. Obama, a Democrat, is seeking re-election as president of the United States.
Next, Mitt Romney makes his case for President. He spells out the new direction for the country and the shared vision of a potential Romney-Ryan administration.
Mitt Romney: A New Direction for America
After more than a year of campaigning, endless political advertisements, two conventions and four debates, the presidential election is almost over. The big decision of 2012 will soon be in the hands of the voters. The choice Americans make will shape great things, historic things, and those will determine the most important and intimate aspects of every American life and every American family. All presidential elections matter. This one matters a great deal.
It matters to the senior who needs medical care but, thanks to ObamaCare, can't find a doctor who is taking new Medicare patients. It matters to the men and women who once had good-paying jobs with benefits but now work part-time with no benefits just to put food on the table. It matters to the college student graduating this spring with a heavy load of debt and few opportunities to pay it back. It matters to the single mother who lives in fear of foreclosure as her employment prospects dwindle.
This election is about them. It is about all of us.
It is about the education of our children, the value of our homes, the take-home pay from our jobs, the price of the gasoline we buy, the choices we have in our health care. It is also about broader forces—the growth of the economy, the strength of our military, our dependence on foreign oil, our leadership role in the world.
After four years of disappointments, fixing America's problems requires a new direction. The path we're on hasn't led us where we need to go. In so many ways, it seems that things have gotten even worse. We can make excuses for what has gone wrong, and many have tried. But excuses won't turn this country around. Only leadership can do that.
I know something about leadership because I have led before. I have reformed businesses that were on the verge of collapse. I have helped to save an Olympics that was plagued by scandal. I have worked with men and women on both sides of the aisle in Massachusetts to achieve real change and real reform.
I can do it again in Washington. Republicans and Democrats in Congress may seem to share very little these days, but they share responsibility for the problems we now face. Just as it took both parties to bring us to where we stand, it will take both parties to get us moving again in the right direction.
That is something we can only accomplish if we work tirelessly to bridge the divide between the political parties. I will meet with Democratic and Republican leadership regularly. I will look for common ground and shared principles. And I will put the interests of the American people above the interests of the politicians and the bureaucrats.
Together, we will overcome our difficulties and usher in a new age of prosperity.
America is ready for that kind of leadership. Paul Ryan and I will provide it. Our plan for a stronger middle class will create jobs, stop the decline in take-home pay, and put America back on the path of possibility and opportunity.
This, in turn, will enable us to fulfill our responsibilities to promote the principles of peace as leader of the Free World. We will help the Muslim world combat the spread of extremism. We will dissuade Iran from building a nuclear bomb. We will build enduring relationships throughout Latin America. And we will partner with China and other great nations to build a more stable and peaceful world.
We face big challenges, but we also have big opportunities. New doors are open for us to sell our ideas and our products to the entire world. New technologies offer the promise of unbounded information and limitless innovation. New ideas are changing lives and hearts in diverse nations and among diverse peoples. If we seize the moment and rise to the occasion, the century ahead will be an American Century.
Our children will graduate into exciting careers that are worthy of their qualifications. Our seniors will be confident that their retirement is secure. Our men and women will have good jobs and good pay and good benefits. Our veterans will come home to a bright future. We will have every confidence that our lives are safe, and that our livelihoods are secure.
This requires a different direction, a change from the course of the past four years. It requires that we put aside the small and the petty, and demand the scale of change that we deserve: real change, big change. I pledge that my presidency will bring about that kind of change—confronting the problems that politicians have avoided for over a decade, revitalizing our competitive economy, modernizing our education system, restoring our founding principles.
If you are ready for that kind of change, if you want this to be a turning point in America's course, join us and vote Tuesday for the kind of leadership that these times demand.
I am running for president because I believe in America. I believe in the America that never gives up, never stops striving, never ceases believing in itself. That is what I have been campaigning for, and that is what I will fight for as president of the United States.
Mr. Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, is the Republican candidate for president of the United States.
Filed under: Mayor Daily Politics