Pelosi Remarks Introducing President Obama at Democratic Issues Conference

Washington, D.C. — Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced President Barack Obama to address House Democrats at the annual the Democratic Issues Conference this evening in the Capitol Visitor Center. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

“Thank you very much, my colleagues.  I thank Vice Chairman Becerra for his generous introduction.  I thank him and John Larson for this magnificent issues conference that brings us together here and now — honored by a visit by the President of the United States.

“John isn’t here.  He was called away on a family matter, but he left us in very good hands and laid a very fine foundation for this issues conference.  And I thank you Mr. Becerra for your leadership on this as well.

“Mr. President, we are having a conference dedicated to securing jobs and securing America.  And because of the leadership of John Larson and Xavier Becerra, we’ve been focusing on innovation — recognizing that innovation begins in the classroom, that changing energy policy is essential to it, and that essential to it all is health policy.  All of the bills have been passed by this House.

“How appropriate it was for us to have our issues conference begun by a keynote speech by Eric Schmidt — the CEO and Chairman of Google — who honored us with his presence last night.   He gave us a very patriotic speech about science and innovation and job creation.  And how honored we were that he was with us at the very same time as he was standing up very courageously for freedom of expression in China and throughout the world.

“We also, this morning heard from Kevin Surace.  I think he might be Italian so I’m adding the vowel at the end.  Wasn’t that a wonderful, patriotic speech about jobs in America?

“Issues in the course of the day — our friends in labor, John Brennan on national security, workshops on small business — all in keeping with the Obama agenda.

“And so here we are this evening.  We are so very honored the President is with us.  As you know, we have been engaged in conversations about how we reconcile the House and Senate legislation.  And so we’ve had the opportunity to be working with the President over the last few days — or over a longer period of time.

“But I say the last few days, because at the same time we saw this great President address the issue of Haiti.  As a person extending comfort to those he could reach with any connection to Haiti.  As a Commander in Chief — deploying our troops and our resources to come to the aid of the people of Haiti.  And as a President of the United States, speaking to leaders from around the world, one at the time about how they could work and help in this effort.  We saw leadership.  We saw compassion.  We saw American values.  We saw President Barack Obama.  [Applause.]

“How beautifully he said in his remarks to the people of Haiti: ‘You will not be forsaken.  You will not be forgotten.’  You speak for all of us in that regard.  Thank you, Mr. President. [Applause.]

“And so here we are at this issues conference.  I see the market is over 10,700 today, an increase of 4,000 points since the President became President of the United States.  The word is that the GDP will be at 4 percent [in the 4th quarter of 2009], which was down a minus 6 percent one year ago.  Now up 4 percent.  A 10 percent difference since the President became President of the United States. [Applause.]

“In the course of our day and our visit to Detroit earlier this week at the invitation of Chairman Dingell, we heard over and over again: ‘Thank you for the recovery package. It has helped us invest in new technologies, be innovative, hire people, take our country into the future.’  And as Eric [Schmidt] said last night: ‘Honor the vows of our founders.’  As President Kennedy said:  ‘If we are to honor the vows of our nation, we must be first.  And therefore, we intend to be first.’

“And in that spirit, Mr. President, I tell you how proud I am of my Members all the time.  Since last we came together, when you talked about health care, they have passed the health care bill.  Since then, they have passed Reform for Wall Street and Jobs for Main Street.  I’m very, very proud of them.

“Now, let us show our President how very, very proud we are of him as we welcome the President of the United States, Barack Obama.”

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