Jul 23, 2020
Joe Biden Campaign Video with Barack Obama Transcript July 23
President Obama joined Joe Biden for a campaign video on July 23. Obama said: “I have confidence that you’re going to actually listen to the experts and you’re going to pay attention to the science and you’re not going to quit on trying to actually bend down the curve of disease and transmission rates”. Read the full transcript here.
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Vice President Joe Biden: (00:06)
Can you imagine standing up when you were a president, saying, “It’s not my responsibility.” “I take no responsibility.” I mean, literally. Literally.
President Obama: (00:13)
Those words didn’t come out of our mouths while we were in office.
Vice President Joe Biden: (00:17)
I don’t understand his inability to get a sense of what people are going through. He just can’t relate in any way.
President Obama: (00:26)
Well, and one of the things that I have always known about you, Joe, it’s the reason why I wanted you to be my vice president and the reason why you were so effective. And it all starts with being able to relate. If you can sit down with a family and see your own family in them and the struggles that you’ve gone through, or your parents went through, or your kids are going through. If you can connect those struggles to somebody else’s struggles, then you’re going to work hard for them. And that’s always what’s motivated you to get into public service.
President Obama: (01:06)
When we came in to office, even before inauguration, we had seen a historic financial crisis. Irresponsibility on Wall Street had spread out to main street. We had to move fast, not just in 100 days, we had to move in the first month to get the Recovery Act passed. We’re now in a situation where not only we’ve got a economic crisis, but we also have a public health crisis to boot. Tell me a little bit about how you’re seeing the current economic crisis and how you’re thinking about the economy right now.
Vice President Joe Biden: (01:45)
Well, Mr. President, there’s three pieces that I see. One, we have got to sustain and keep people from going under forever. There’s already 10,000 businesses are not likely to open again, a significant number of them small business and minority businesses. Number two, when they’re able to come back, they not only are able to keep their folks employed on a payroll, but they’re able to cover overhead. They’re able to cover the additional expenses. For example, the idea you can open without social distancing, masks, tests and all these things, that cost a lot of money.
President Obama: (02:20)
Those are added cost for small businesses.
Vice President Joe Biden: (02:21)
They’re added costs and they should be able to have that added cost to be able to stay open for the good of the country. But the next stage of this is going to be, if the stimuluses can keep people afloat, then we have to deal with recovery. And the recovery is building back, but not just building back as you’ve been talking about, building back better. We have to change the way in which we deal with allowing people an opportunity to make a living. That includes childcare. That includes making significant investments in infrastructure so people can make, not a living wage, but a union wage, making sure we build up and entire new public health system and making sure everybody has healthcare. And, well, now we have a chance, we can add a public option now. But this guy’s in court in the middle of a pandemic trying to take away the protection for 100 million people who have preexisting conditions. I don’t think he has any sense of empathy. I don’t think he can associate at all.
President Obama: (03:30)
You and I had experience dealing with health crises, public health crisis. And in each instance what you and I understood and why I have so much confidence that you’re going to be able to deal with COVID in the way that other countries with our kinds of resources are dealing with it right now, which is smartly. I have confidence that you’re going to actually listen to the experts and you’re going to pay attention to the science and you’re not going to quit on trying to actually bend down the curve of disease and transmission rates.
Vice President Joe Biden: (04:18)
When we left office, you had set up a pandemic office within the White House. We had people from the CDC, 44 people in China. We knew pandemic diseases. This wasn’t going to be the only one that ever occurred.
President Obama: (04:31)
And the goal was to create an early warning system around the world by creating international cooperation so that when you saw it coming, you had time to prepare.
Vice President Joe Biden: (04:42)
President Obama: (04:43)
I know how deeply you care about American families and that any loss of life that is preventable. If you’re president of the United States, it’s your job to try to prevent it. And one of the things that I think you said that’s so important and we understood this during the financial crisis, you can’t separate out the public health crisis from the economy. If you want the economy growing again, people have to feel safe.
Vice President Joe Biden: (05:16)
What you did and what all great presidents do is not only lead, they persuade. I think what you did with Obamacare, the ACA, and what you wanted to do to have a public option. It’s the quickest, fastest way to get everyone covered. I remember when Beau was toward the end, and the only person I told the detail all the time as you, because you had a right to know exactly what… and he only had months left to go. And I used to sit there and watch him in the bed and in pain and dying of glioblastoma. And I thought to myself, what would happen if his insurance company was able to come in, which they could have done before we passed Obamacare and said, “You have out run your insurance. You’ve outlived it. Suffer the last five months of your life in peace. You’re on your own.” All the things that it did, that it was so profound an impact on people, it was like it took them a while until they started to take it away to realize what was happening.
President Obama: (06:29)
Well look, I mean, you and I both know what it’s like to have somebody you love get really sick and in some cases to lose somebody, but that loss is compounded when you see the stress on their faces because they’re worried that they’re being a burden on their families. They’re worried about whether the insurance is going to cover the treatments that they need. I couldn’t be prouder of what we got done. 20 million people have health insurance that didn’t have it because of what we did. But you remember when we were talking about this, I always used to say the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, it’s like a starter house. It’s the first house you get. And it’s not the end of the process, it’s the beginning of the process.
Vice President Joe Biden: (07:32)
We used to say that this is a starter house. Remember what I used to say, it’s like Social Security when it was first passed.
President Obama: (07:38)
That’s exactly right.
Vice President Joe Biden: (07:39)
Social Security was first passed was this narrow.
President Obama: (07:42)
Vice President Joe Biden: (07:43)
Social security now-
President Obama: (07:44)
And you kept on building it up.
Vice President Joe Biden: (07:45)
Kept building it up.
President Obama: (07:46)
Making it better.
Vice President Joe Biden: (07:47)
Well, that starter house, they got inside the house and they realized, wow, God, this is better than being out in the cold. That’s number one. But number two and then I said, but I got a guy out there banging down the house, they’re trying to take down the house. And I didn’t realize the reason I had this house and what’s happening now is that you have so many people now. I can’t think of any time since the flu in 1918, that the public had… I don’t know then, but it appears, it had to be totally thoroughly aware of how vulnerable they were. Now, you have people going, “Oh my Lord.”
President Obama: (08:30)
And look, you’re absolutely right that it is hard to fathom anybody wanting to take away people’s healthcare in the middle of a major public health crisis-
Vice President Joe Biden: (08:43)
And offer nothing.
President Obama: (08:44)
… and at a time when unemployment is in double digits. There’s another issue that’s been on our minds and was on our minds during my presidency and that is the issue of race in America and how communities of color are policed, how police are interacting and oftentimes acting in ways that are racially biased. And after the George Floyd tragedy, what we have seen is this extraordinary mobilization across the country of people of every walk of life, every race, every creed, who say, “We’re past time to do something about this. We understand we’re not going to fix it all in one day, but we’re going to take this seriously and we’re going to start now.” And we had experiences with this during my administration. Our response was not to ignore those problems. Our response was we had a 21st Century Policing Task Force that we put together that drew police chiefs, academics, young members of Black Lives Matter all in a single conversation and we arrived at a series of recommendations that are still pertinent to this day.
Vice President Joe Biden: (10:16)
We got through the notion that if a police department was engaging in a practice and a pattern that was in violation of basic civil rights and civil liberties, the Justice Department of the United States of America, the federal government would intervene and stop it.
President Obama: (10:33)
Vice President Joe Biden: (10:34)
Well, you authorized to put in place a whole range of things that would increase what most cops, the guys I grew up with became cops, firefighters or priests. I mean, I wasn’t qualified to do any one of them. The point was that they know they need more guidance.
President Obama: (10:52)
And I think this is a process that we’re all going through and we’re all learning. And something that I’ve always admired about you, Joe, is your willingness to listen and learn. It is a sign of leadership when you are willing to hear other people’s experiences. It has to do with communities that have systematically been under invested in. It has to do with hiring and the fact that or if you get on the phone, applying for a job, send in your resume, if your name is John, you might get called back, if your name’s Jamal, you might not.
Vice President Joe Biden: (11:33)
It’s about to be able to accumulate wealth. It’s about being able to be in a position. You know better than I do, but I’ve watched it my whole life working in the city, black entrepreneurs are as successful as white entrepreneurs given a shot in the same circumstance.
President Obama: (11:47)
We’re in a moment right now, my daughters, your granddaughters have been involved in this moment-
Vice President Joe Biden: (11:54)
President Obama: (11:54)
…in which this next generation’s saying, we have beliefs in all people being equal and we don’t see that operating out of there, we’re going to do something about it. And I think the key right now, and this is why I have so much confidence in your administration wanting to be a partner in harnessing that energy and bringing about concrete reforms, concrete steps, not just in the criminal justice system, not just with respect to policing, but also with respect to investment, jobs, business development, is going to send a signal of decency and regard and concern and community around the country. Because policy’s important, laws are important, budgets are important. But you know what’s important also is what kind of values are you communicating?
Vice President Joe Biden: (13:00)
President Obama: (13:01)
And if we want to create a world that we want our kids and grandkids to grow up in, then we’re going to have to do a whole lot better than we’re doing right now.
Vice President Joe Biden: (13:11)
We’ve got a hell of an opportunity.
President Obama: (13:12)
And everybody’s going to have to be involved.
Vice President Joe Biden: (13:14)
We’ve got a hell of an opportunity because look, what’s happened. You’ve got 70% of the American people saying we got to do something about this. I’m not just talking about the police.
President Obama: (13:23)
And that’s a big change from even when you and I-
Vice President Joe Biden: (13:24)
It’s a gigantic change. And let me tell you my thesis of why. There’s two ways in which presidents motivate people, by doing something really ennobling, important and people go, “Oh.” Or to do something really bad. This guy has generated a sense out there that people are waking up to that he ran by deliberately dividing people from the moment he came down that escalator. And I think people are now going, “I don’t want my kid growing up that way.”
President Obama: (14:00)
You know what it’s like as much as anybody to be in the White House during a crisis. You know what it’s like to have to get laws passed through Congress. You know what it’s like to deal with foreign leaders. You know what it’s like and how lonely it can be to make tough decisions where not every decision is going to be perfect, but you got to make them and to take responsibility for it. I’ve seen you with families that have gone through tragedies and the thing I’ve got confidence in, Joe, is your heart and your character and the fact that you are going to be able to reassemble the kind of government that cares about people and brings people together.
President Obama: (14:58)
And for all the specific policies that we’re going to need more than anything, it’s just that basic decency and an understanding about what’s best in America that I think people are going to be hungry for. Looking forward to working with you to do whatever I can to help. And I have confidence in your commitment to making sure that we seize this moment that we have right now.
Vice President Joe Biden: (15:24)
Thank you. And I have faith in the American people.