Transcript: Pete Buttigieg Speaks at New Hampshire Rally with Michael J. Fox
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Thank you very much. School and school. Did the paper duck? Is fantastic. So I was watching the debate last night and it occurred to me, I love all of that. OK. Then we get nominees and now I don't have any respect for all but real yelling at me. And I'm sure there is a one year. What where do you. He said he was feeling, but, but, but, but Pete isn't cheery. He's just he's sucking me and he's one guy who's quiet and just making his point.

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And it's a point I agree with on almost all issues and all issues eloquently. I don't. To allow for the possibility. He might be. Yes, we're purple on Fridays. So. But in order to tell a story about. The first time I saw whether the tamiment, that idea that he can talk to you and I yello you and keep you across, I mean, that's what that's the contrast we need to make to trump to this insanity.

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She said someone there saying, well, hey, whatever he just said. Here's the thing. And I think, Pete, I know people that.

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I believe he's had the ability and and chairman and the intelligence to teacher to get past his current divisive, dysfunctional politics and in new a new show, and I think he'll rise back up there for we need to be.

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I first noticed PDI on our morning show, on the morning shows, and I was just at my breakfast and I saw a TV and then this guy comes on. This young guy, Indiana, running for president and I had never heard of him. And and it hosts other shows that I would say name a show that had three hosts and was a meager. And they were they were, they were. And I watched every day by day, but they were they were kind of playing with me at first.

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They thought like, I could tell you that. Who is this guy? And try to answer this. And then he would answer that. And then they too will have a this and answer that. And they need to do it very quickly. He was eating the lunch he has. He's had every answer. And it wasn't but it wasn't like, well, like I wrote it was it was like he was saying it was he said it felt as before.

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I believe he was saying for time and I believe you say it to me. And and I think that comes from a true place in him. He did try to pull one over on me, just trying to tell me the way he sees it. And more times than not, that that's where I start. We believe we know the issues. I mean, climate change and obviously health care issues are important to me. His pre-existing conditions with I have pre-existing conditions.

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But this goes to meeting in Indiana veteran, a Rhodes Scholar. We have a very stable Rhodes Scholar.

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Better than genius. Yes, right here. Jason, answer. But this is a story that why found so presswood with my phone. I call people afterwards. I said this guy just Google Merapi. And like just you see what comes up and it convinces who is this guy. Impressive. Yeah, it's me. Everybody have to like cold about him. Now everyone knows him. But but in those early days, I immediately became became followers and supporters.

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Quick digression about. 2006, I was out campaigning for research treatment for stem cell research, and I was traveling around with a midterm and I was supporting candidates that support stem cell research in Chicago, and I was. Spring eyed Tammy Duckworth. And I was a leaving, I was at the airport and I noticed this guy standing by the wind for his car was hidden away like kind of around a corner smoking a cigarette, if I could tell the truth.

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And. And it was that the senator from Illinois was Barack Obama. And I met I met him.

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It was really on with you. He's just trying to make a splash. I thought someone was so pressing him and I called my wife afterwards. I said, isometrics, president sets. And and I felt saying we want to speak. So I just I think working together, we can not only get a left handed Maltese, American, Episcopalian, gay, millennial war veteran elected to the Nazis, we also begin tackling quit talking about tattled, mounting challenges like rising health care costs, climate change and the gun violence epidemic.

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So our children have a brighter future. It's all about the future.

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It's a real honor to be here today, and it's so great to see all of you and then to be with my feet. And I'd say I just want to I just wanted to ask an expert the United States.

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Thank you so much. Thank you, Congresswoman Eddie Castor, for your support. All right. Good, good. We're good. We're good. Thank you. Once again, thank you, Congresswoman, and fierce support. You are lucky to have somebody representing you in New Hampshire, in Washington, D.C., a place where I know there's so much frustration and exhaustion and even a sense of darkness sometimes when we turn on the news.

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But if you look at what Congresswoman Custer and her colleagues are doing in the House to try to make sure that prescription drugs are affordable, to try to raise wages, to try to protect Americans from gun violence, on issue after issue, they are there.

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Let us send them a president who will make sure that their work gets.

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One of our best conversations was about not not policy alone, but the qualities and the values that we cared about.

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And she shared qualities and values that she had learned from her upbringing and talked a lot about courage and grace and how those two values mean so much as we're trying to get things done together.

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And when I think about courage and when I think about grace, I picture Michael J. Fox.

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And I'm so honored to have. I think about strength a lot, too, because there are some figures in our society right now who think that strength has to do with how loud you are, how hard you can thump your chest, putting other people down. I'm not here for the strength or so-called strength of the loud mouth guy at the end of the bar. I'm here for the strength of somebody like Michael J. Fox that others can look to and know that their struggle is something they can draw a courage in and move forward.

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So I. And I'm so thankful to Jamie and the other members of our team. I know I'm very biased, but don't we have the kindest, most energetic professional organizers and staff on this campaign because you had a chance to get to meet up there.

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Just wanted.

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They live out the values we like to call and the rules of the road that are part of what makes this campaign what it is and the way that they're approaching people is such an important part of how we've been able to earn support and how we're working to earn support right now in these last three days that bring us to the New Hampshire primary.

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And I'm here one more time. If you're among those Granite Staters making up your mind. Decision time to ask you for your vote. I know how seriously you take that responsibility and that influence that comes with being a New Hampshire voter. I've seen it. I saw it in the way that you would ask tough questions and kick the tires on every idea we put forward during the campaigning in the last year. I saw it when when we felt like we were really getting somewhere.

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And in your New Hampshire way, you'd say something to me in the late fall or winter like those. Those are really good presentation. You are now in my top five.

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And now we're so excited to be here one more time and keen to ask you for your vote.

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I remember our first time turned up here, Poppy, into Lindy's thrilled that we had a chance to meet literally a couple dozen people. And came to really admire the spirit of this community and also want to share with you that since my last visit to Keene, I had the opportunity to visit the National Cathedral with Gene Robinson, the former Episcopal bishop of bihac.

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And he took me to a place near the entrance of the cathedral where carved into stone is the figure of Jonathan Daniels, a key native who laid down his life in the civil rights movement.

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And I think it's especially important to consider that example at a time like this in our country and also as we acknowledge and honor Black History Month, which is about the contributions and the struggles of black Americans, black Americans who don't need to be told or reminded the pain of living with systemic racism in this country.

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But it is also a time for those of us who have not had the lived experience of systemic racism and discrimination in the way that you do when you are African-American in this country.

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Task of ourselves, how we are making ourselves useful as allies. We can always do a better job listening. We can always show up.

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And if Jonathan Daniels could lay down his life in that cause, surely every single American can make the cause of racial justice in this country are own.

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So my point is there's a lot to draw on here in Keene. By way of inspiration, as we pull into these last days of this unbelievably consequential and important election, an election that I am convinced will define not just who is in the White House for the next four years, but what it's like to be an American for the next 40. That's what's on the line.

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And to think about what's at stake and what we've got to do, I want to ask you to form in your mind the image that I always like to start out with.

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That is the guiding image of this campaign in some ways, and it's the image that I'll invite you to visualize.

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Oh, how it's going to be that first time that the sun comes up over the mountains, lakes of New Hampshire and Donald Trump is no longer in the White House.

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Once you're ready to put that chaos behind us. Aren't you ready to put the corruption behind us? Put the tweets behind us? I don't even think that's a partisan statement anymore. Sure, I've got fellow die hard Democrats who've been committed to making sure that that day comes. But also I'm seeing so many independents who feel equally strongly about bringing change to this country and I'm finding an awful lot of what I like to call the future.

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Former Republicans. I see a few acknowledging right here, we are glad that you are here and you are welcome to be at our side. We may not agree on everything, but we can agree that the time has come to deliver this change before it is too late. And that's what this campaign is about. Because I am the candidate best prepared to defeat Donald Trump. Facing a fundamentally new challenge, a new political challenge like running against him. I do not believe we can take the risk of falling back on the familiar.

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And in a divided time in our country, I also don't think we can take the risk of excluding anybody from this effort of saying that if you're not either for a revolution or a status quo, then you don't fit.

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I think we are going to defeat this president by inviting everybody to be at our side and get their stuff together.

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But that that the majority were working to build is not just united around who were against were even more united when it comes to what we're for. There is a powerful American majority coming together today that can agree that we need to raise wages and empower workers in our economy.

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They can agree that part of how we honor our troops in uniform and in danger is to put an end to endless war and ensure they're never asked to go unless there is no alternative.

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And thanks to everybody here who saw. Who could agree that we support our next generation by supporting our teachers and we ought to back them up with a secretary of education who believes in.

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On issue after issue, I'm seeing the majority come together that will not only make it possible to win the next election, but make it possible to govern on the road, to make it possible for us to actually deliver the changes that this country knows that we need and that even though they command a majority among the American people. Up until now, can't seem to get a majority in the American Senate. Now's our chance to change that.

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The way we change that is to build a politics that insists on the idea that government and elections are not about the ups and downs in the polls are not about who got the best zinger off in the debate. They're not about who look good on television. They're about everyday life. That's why even though I'm ready to go toe to toe with this president, you won't see me talking about it that much, because the less we're talking about him, the more we can talk about you.

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And it's about our everyday life. How do we to re-election is about the voters question. How's my wife gonna be different? My everyday life? If your president instead of you. That's all I think about it.

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That's how Chason and I come to politics knowing that his mother in law struggle. My mother in law of struggle. His mother's struggle with cancer depends on the ability to get chemotherapy through insurance that she wouldn't be able to get at all the form for the Affordable Care Act.

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Knowing that the course of my own life was changed by the orders that sent me to a foreign war issued by decision made in the White House, knowing that my marriage.

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Most important thing in my life is ring on my finger exists by the grace of a single vote on the United States Supreme Court.

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That's what this election means to all of us, to each of us in a different way. And it's not even just about voters, because so many of the most powerful voices I have encountered in this campaign are people not even yet old enough to vote.

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An eleven year old who sticks up his hand at an event and asks me what we're going to do so that he'll be able to afford insulin in the future. He's worried about this at the age of eleven. And the only responsible answer is that we anybody old enough to vote is supposed to sort this out. Take care of it. Worry about it so you don't have to. A 14 year old who lets me know she's written a will because she's that afraid of what will happen to her at school.

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Shame on us if we don't take care of that by the time she is old enough to vote.

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A 10 year old who came to an event and pointedly reminded me, and of course I like to think of myself as the youngster in this field, but pointed out that he was planning to be here in the year twenty one hundred.

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And we'll look back on the decisions we made in twenty twenty to decide whether the climate future for him and his kids and grandkids would be one where they could actually thrive.

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This is the decision point that he will be looking back as so many of us will. That is who we are seeking to defend, to support and to do right by the by the time they're old enough to vote. Certainly by the time they're old enough to run for office, they're worried about a whole other set of issues we can't even think of. Because every election is about preparing for the future. On that day, that sunrise I was talking about, America will be confronting challenges, the likes of which weren't even thought about just a few years ago.

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An economy transformed by gig, work and technology, a climate this close to the point of no return, it oversees everything from global health, security threats and pandemics to election security and cybersecurity challenges.

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Barely understood it, let alone talked about by presidential candidates. Just a few years ago. That's what we're up against. But that is also why we now have the opportunity to look to the future.

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And that is why there is not a decision to be made between what it takes to win big and what it takes to govern well.

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Both of those require the very same thing, which is a focus on the future and a readiness to turn the page.

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In other words, the reason I'm doing this and the reason I'm asking for your support for this office is not that I got it into my head one day that I would like to occupy it. It's about what the office is for.

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I'm here based on the idea that the presidency has a purpose and that the purpose of the presidency is not the glorification of the president.

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It's the empowerment and the unification of the American people to deal with these big arms and face and future together. That's what this is about. And that's why I'm asking for your support. Now, our numbers at our events have grown a little bit since I first poked my head in at Lindy's, but I still figure there's no such thing as a room too big to have some kind of a conversation. So with help from Congresswoman Custer and the famous fishbowl, we've gathered up questions from different folks on your way in.

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And I'll do my best to be concise and respond to as many as I can. And if you hear yours, please give get a wave and a holler so that I'm looking at you as we do.

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Therapy. What will you do to strengthen Social Security and Medicare?

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Great question.

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So. Let's begin by correcting a couple of myths or problems in the way this is talked about. First of all, the word entitlement, we hear that a lot to describe Social Security and Medicare was a voter put it recently.

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I don't know if this term will catch on, but I like it. He stood up and said, I don't think of it as an entitlement. I think of it as a pain in the butt because I've been paying for my whole working life.

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And so when we're talking about Social Security and Medicare, we're not talking about doing anybody a favor. We're talking about keeping a promise that is made by every worker.

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The about. And that is why we have to make sure that it's on good, solid ground. Now, there are some folks who say, well, we're we're not going to be able to keep Social Security solvent unless we cut benefits.

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But it isn't true. It's only true if we refuse to look at it. All we got to do is raise the cap on income over $250000 and allow that to pay for Social Security.

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We take that one step, that one step along and the Social Security trust fund will be in good shape at least into the 2050s when I expect to be collecting.

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So I got a bit of a personal stake in this and we'll be in a position to increase the generosity of the program to incertain important ways.

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And I'll give you one that I think is particularly important caregiving for loved ones. Family caregiving is not considered work well liste does not compensate.

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It is work, but its work, especially when it takes you out of the workforce in order to do it. And so even though you don't get a W-2 for taking care of a loved one, I believe for the purposes of social security, a year is spent as a family caregiver should count as a year in the work of work.

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Now, on Medicare, it's a different set of challenges. There really is a fiscal challenge to keeping Medicare afloat. But again, it's up to us to decide whether we can make the adjustments that are needed to make sure that it runs well.

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This is not about cuts. It's about making sure that we take common sense steps to get the finances right. And the biggest one, one so obvious to Americans of both parties that it's astonishing that it hasn't gotten done.

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But we can change it if we change Washington.

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Is this. Medicare should be able to negotiate the costs of prescription drugs with prescription drug costs. You take that one step because a huge one for doing it. Thanks for asking about the price. I came from a young friend. This one, Anderson Cohler, age 9. I like that.

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All right. Here. Thanks, Anderson. What a great guy. Thank you for this. I like that you say, quote, I think that kids shouldn't have to have active shooter drills before they can read.

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Can you talk more about how you plan to help with this? Thank you.

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Landis, thanks for coming. First of all, I love your time and your question deserves a serious answer.

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And I want to begin with an apology on behalf of anybody old enough to vote, because like I was saying earlier, we're supposed to take care of that sort of thing so that you can concentrate on being nice. And my promise is that we're going to take steps to make sure that you don't have to worry about these kinds of things when you're going to school.

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You've got enough to deal with it. What gradient? Third grade. It's hard to get a lot of stuff to figure out. And I want to let you concentrate on third grade.

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So here's some things we can do.

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First of all, we need to check the background of anybody who tries to buy a weapon.

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Now. Now, most Americans think we ought to do it, including most Republicans and most gun owners. Again, any Kuster and her colleagues in the House passed a bill to do it. But it keeps getting stuck in the Senate because we have a president who won't take the step of pushing it through.

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So we need to make sure that everybody gets their background checked and there are all these little loopholes and a way to sneak around it.

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We've got to put an end to that. That's one another as a kind of law called a red flag law. The idea is that some folks know what that means.

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Imagine somebody waving a red flag because they know that there's danger up ahead. That's what it's like. Only this time it's not actually somebody waving a flag. It's if somebody realizes that another person they know is potentially going to be dangerous to themselves or to others, being able to takes steps to make sure that that they don't have access to a weapon. Until that can get sorted out. And the third thing that we've got to do is think about the kinds of weapons that are being sold in America.

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When I was in the military, I was responsible for learning how to use certain kinds of weapons that are designed for war. Weapons, anything like what I had to deal with in the military, have no place being sold anywhere near your store for far more than.

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Thank you, Anderson. My first presidential campaign rally, I was 9 years old, so one day you'll be up here.

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All right. A classic New Hampshire question. This one's important to all of us, even if folks in Washington have stopped painting tension. What's your stand on the deficit? Hmm.

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Again, if you want to, that's a lot of folks here. I think the time has come for my party to get a lot more comfortable talking about the deficit because. Yes, right now we've got a president who comes from the party that used to talk a lot about fiscal responsibility with a trillion dollar deficit. And no plan in sight for what to do about it. And yes, this should concern progressives who are not in the habit of talking or worrying too much about the debt.

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And here's what. Service on the debt is going to start crowding out investment in safety net and health and infrastructure and education programs that are important. That's one.

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Another is that we're in an expansion right now when we're in a recession. You need enough room in the budget to be able to do the kind of stimulus that helps get us out of recession.

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Not a lot of room left when you got a trillion dollar deficit already. And the third concern, especially for a younger generation, is the longer you're planning to be here, the more likely you might be here when some of these fiscal time bombs start to go off.

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So we need to act to make sure that our country's finances are under control.

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And that doesn't have to be that doesn't have to be a knock down argument against making big investments.

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I'm proposing big investments. But you'll notice two things about my plans. One, I'm careful about what we promise. I think we ought to take a major step forward in health care in America.

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But I figured out a way to do it that costs one and a half trillion dollars over a decade. No small sum of money. But instead of 20 or 30 or 40 or some of my competition even saying you don't deserve an explanation on how much it's going to cost, it's impossible to tell. No, we've got to make sure that we're making promises we can keep. Same thing with college.

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When it comes to college, we are going to make sure that cost is no longer a barrier. We're going to enact a program that would cover actually all of your tuition for about 80 percent of Americans in public colleges. But if you're in that top income bracket, I still wish you well. But but I'm looking for you to go ahead and pay your own tuition because those tax dollars are so precious.

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So. So part of it's on the side of spending. I've put together a bold package that's the most ambitious that we've seen from a certainly relative to any nominee we've had recently. But it's a manageable number.

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The other side is we can't be afraid to talk about revenue. And this is not about hitting the middle class with more taxes. This is about the fact that in a world where you and I pay federal income taxes, but companies like Amazon and Chevron pay precisely zero on billions of dollars in profits, something is out of whack in the system. You have to be a die hard Democrat to know that those corporations and the wealthiest Americans ought to have to pay their fair share.

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And that's why at least one outside group has scored the major campaigns proposals, looked at everything we said we want to invest in and every way we said we're going to raise the revenue to do it.

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And I'm very proud to tell you that when you look at Rs, Rs is the one that's actually in the black and starts reducing the deficit over time.

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All right. I like that one. This is from Lisa in Renge, New Hampshire. She's a special educator and the parent of a special needs child that she adopted through foster care homes.

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Sally says, an adoption attorney for twenty five years. Thank you very much. All right. I love this question. What advice would you give to Americans to help our country? And as president? What would you ask of our citizens?

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Well, a great question. First of all, Lisa, thank you for your work and your advocacy.

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We need more to go into your field. You know, the president when when he was inaugurated, said I alone can fix it. But I think we know that it doesn't work that way. No one person, president or otherwise can fix big problems alone. And I think it's especially fitting here in New Hampshire, where you have the culture of service, where so many run for office and hold office here in New Hampshire.

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You don't get to just say, why don't they do this?

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Why don't they fix this road or why don't they change that law? The spirit is why don't we? And I see that everywhere from the frankly, the sheer number of folks who were involved in elected office in Concord to the tradition of the town meeting. This is this is a very well understood civic responsibility in New Hampshire.

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And we need to make sure that we're reinforcing a national culture of involvement, whether it's in public processes or whether it's in just rolling up your sleeves and getting stuff done.

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It's one of the reasons why I'm proposing as a country, we create a million paid voluntary national service opportunities a year.

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We know we know how much work there is to be done. I'm proposing a climate core where people can work directly on things like weatherizing the homes of low income homeowners and seniors.

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An intergenerational core that helps connect an older generation with a younger one serving one another, learning, mentoring and growing.

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And a community health corps that can make a difference whether it's supporting neighbors with disabilities or whether it's making sure that we're getting ahead of some of the health, behavioral health and addiction challenges that we face and so many of our communities and cultivating an interest in a career are doing so.

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Part of it is that the work is out there needing to be done. But part of it is something else.

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It's that in our country that so badly needs to be healed and unified. We need more experiences in common. We have been so divided, we even get our information in different places. It feels like people are getting their own facts.

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And so whenever we have something in common, just a shared experience, it becomes a touchstone that reminds us we're all Americans.

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For me, military service was that touchstone. I can have a conversation with somebody from a very different maybe a different branch and a different generation and served in different places. But we have that thing in common. And when I was deployed, there were people I was deployed with who were told radically different from me.

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I mean, regionally, racially, politically, definitely politically, very different book.

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We learned to trust each other with our lives because we had a job to do. I want every American to have that kind of connection without having to go to war in order to get it.

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And that's why I think national service is such a powerful. OK. And the last word goes to Candy. How can we protect vulnerable, disabled people and elders?

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If Medicare goes to block grants to save money?

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Very good. So when they talk about block grants for Medicaid, that's another word for cutting Medicaid. And we shouldn't allow them to play these language tricks. What's the new one called? They rolled it out in the White House a few days ago. Adult healthy of it.

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I'm not trying not to say something unrepeatable here, but let's just say we got a call, a Medicaid cut, a Medicaid cut, and that's what that is.

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And yes, it is harming some of our most vulnerable Americans.

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And everything that they say they care about, that we all know we care about, from insuring the people of any background get access to the care that they need to.

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Breaking addiction, no lives. Do you talk about the opioid crisis?

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Wives depend on Medicaid to help deal with it, to ensuring that those who need long term care are able to get it. The exact wrong direction to move in is these block grants that make cuts.

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Let's talk about something else that I think folks across the aisle can agree on supporting rural communities.

[00:37:05.00]
You know what?

[00:37:05.04]
Most of the hospital closures in rural areas in America have in common right now is that they're in states that did not expand Medicaid when they had the chance.

[00:37:14.00]
So supporting Medicaid.

[00:37:16.07]
And I think I think Medicaid is what's on your mind with block grants meant supporting Medicaid.

[00:37:20.06]
And Medicare is also a question of how we support rural economic development and the ability to live in rural communities, because we won't have rural hospitals if we don't have that kind of funding, if we want to tackle racial inequity in health right now, a big part of that is making sure that we have the resources to allow everybody to get access to care is not only about coverage.

[00:37:44.09]
We've also got to deal with implicit bias. We've got to have more diverse medical providers. We've got to deal with a whole set of problems. But part of it is insurance. Even veterans, you know, there's more to taking care of veterans than the V.A. Actually, a majority of veterans get their medical care outside of the V.A. because they might not have a service connected issue or because of their their financial situation. So we have a responsibility to make sure that the whole system is shored up.

[00:38:08.02]
And yes, that means protecting Medicaid from these kinds of cuts.

[00:38:13.00]
Thank you.