While still-presumptive Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney was squeaking yet another just win must win (a “victory” that may yield less actual delegates than go to the loser) -- one of many just win must wins to come, next up Ohio, after Santorum beats him on March 10 and Gingrich bears him on March 13, then Illinois, after Santorum beats him on March 17 and before he gets trounced across the South, scrounging up votes bit by bit until Santorum beats him in Pennsylvania and he carpet bombs New York and Connecticut with ugly money in April to bounce finally this summer into winner-take-all California and Utah to prevail at last over a demoralized base and bloodied infrastructure -- our President was finally taking his Auto Bailout victory lap, delivering this intelligent, open-hearted, energizing, funny speech, addressing the UAW.
I've got to admit, it's been funny to watch some of these folks completely try to rewrite history now that you're back on your feet. (Applause.) The same folks who said, if we went forward with our plan to rescue Detroit, "you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye." Now they're saying, we were right all along. (Laughter.) Or you've got folks saying, well, the real problem is -- what we really disagreed with was the workers, they all made out like bandits -- that saving the auto industry was just about paying back the unions. Really? (Laughter.) I mean, even by the standards of this town, that’s a load of you know what. (Laughter.) ...
Let me tell you, I keep on hearing these same folks talk about values all the time. You want to talk about values? Hard work -- that’s a value. (Applause.) Looking out for one another -- that’s a value. The idea that we're all in it together, and I'm my brother's keeper and sister's keeper -- that’s a value. (Applause.) They're out there talking about you like you're some special interest that needs to be beaten down. Since when are hardworking men and women who are putting in a hard day's work every day -- since when are they special interests? Since when is the idea that we look out for one another a bad thing?
I remember my old friend, Ted Kennedy -- he used to say, what is it about working men and women they find so offensive? (Laughter.) This notion that we should have let the auto industry die, that we should pursue anti-worker policies in the hopes that unions like yours will buckle and unravel -– that’s part of that same old "you are on your own" philosophy that says we should just leave everybody to fend for themselves; let the most powerful do whatever they please. They think the best way to boost the economy is to roll back the reforms we put into place to prevent another crisis, to let Wall Street write the rules again. They think the best way to help families afford health care is to roll back the reforms we passed that’s already lowering costs for millions of Americans. (Applause.) They want to go back to the days when insurance companies could deny your coverage or jack up your rates whenever and however they pleased. They think we should keep cutting taxes for those at the very top, for people like me, even though we don’t need it, just so they can keep paying lower tax rates than their secretaries.
Well, let me tell you something. Not to put too fine a point on it -- they’re wrong. (Laughter.) They are wrong. (Applause.) That’s the philosophy that got us into this mess. We can’t afford to go back to it. Not now.... We’re fighting for an economy where everybody gets a fair shot, where everybody does their fair share, where everybody plays by the same set of rules. We’re not going to go back to an economy that’s all about outsourcing and bad debt and phony profits. We’re fighting for an economy that’s built to last, that’s built on things like education and energy and manufacturing. Making things, not just buying things -- making things that the rest of the world wants to buy. And restoring the values that made this country great: hard work and fair play, the chance to make it if you really try, the responsibility to reach back and help somebody else make it, too -- not just you. That’s who we are. That’s what we believe in. (Applause.) ...
America is not just looking out for yourself. It’s not just about greed. It’s not just about trying to climb to the very top and keep everybody else down. When our assembly lines grind to a halt, we work together and we get them going again. When somebody else falters, we try to give them a hand up, because we know we’re all in it together. I got my start standing with working folks who’d lost their jobs, folks who had lost their hope because the steel plants had closed down. I didn’t like the idea that they didn’t have anybody fighting for them. The same reason I got into this business is the same reason I’m here today. I’m driven by that same belief that everybody -- everybody -- should deserve a chance. (Applause.)
So I promise you this: As long as you’ve got an ounce of fight left in you, I’ll have a ton of fight left in me. (Applause.) We’re going to keep on fighting to make our economy stronger; to put our friends and neighbors back to work faster; to give our children even more opportunity; to make sure that the United States of America remains the greatest nation on Earth. (Applause.)