WHAT HE SAID: I believe as strongly as ever that we should take on illegal immigration. That’s why my administration has put more boots on the border than ever before. That’s why there are fewer illegal crossings than when I took office. The opponents of action are out of excuses.… [I]f election-year politics keeps Congress from acting on a comprehensive plan, let’s at least agree to stop expelling responsible young people.”
WHAT HE MEANT: Have I mentioned that I’m tough? I’ve cracked down big-time on illegal immigration. But I have a heart – especially when it comes to kids brought here illegally by their parents. And with Rick Perry out of the race, I’m going to own not only this issue but the Hispanic vote in November.
WHAT HE SAID: Most new jobs are created in start-ups and small businesses. So let’s pass an agenda that helps them succeed. Tear down regulations that prevent aspiring entrepreneurs from getting the financing to grow. Expand tax relief to small businesses that are raising wages and creating good jobs.
WHAT HE MEANT: I dare you Republicans to oppose this agenda. And have I mentioned that I love capitalism?
WHAT HE SAID: Some technologies don’t pan out; some companies fail. But I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy.
WHAT HE MEANT: Solyndra, schmolyndra. Success and failure are all part of capitalism. Which we love. Right, Governor Romney?
WHAT HE SAID: Rules to prevent financial fraud, or toxic dumping, or faulty medical devices don’t destroy the free market. They make the free market work better. There is no question that some regulations are outdated, unnecessary, or too costly. In fact, I’ve approved fewer regulations in the first three years of my presidency than my Republican predecessor did in his. I’ve ordered every federal agency to eliminate rules that don’t make sense.
WHAT HE MEANT: I love the free market and I want it to work! And I don’t love regulations! Just like the Republicans. So moderates and independents, you don’t have to flee me. I get it. I really do.
WHAT HE SAID: But I will not back down from making sure an oil company can contain the kind of oil spill we saw in the Gulf two years ago.… I will not go back to the days when health insurance companies had unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny you coverage, or charge women differently from men. And I will not go back to the days when Wall Street was allowed to play by its own set of rules.
WHAT HE MEANT: Have I mentioned I’m on your side? All this free-market stuff can only go so far. So liberals and progressives, you don’t have to flee me. I get it. I really do.
WHAT HE SAID: We need to change our tax code so that people like me, and an awful lot of members of Congress, pay our fair share of taxes. Tax reform should follow the Buffett rule: If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes.
WHAT HE MEANT: You may remember that Mitt Romney makes more than $20 million a year and pays a 15 percent tax rate. You may not know that under Newt Gingrich’s plan, Romney would pay no taxes at all! Have I mentioned that polls show two-thirds of the public agrees with me on this issue?
WHAT HE SAID: Let there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal. But a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible, and far better.
WHAT HE MEANT: Do you really want a president who is chomping at the bit to start a war against Iran? Then vote for a Republican. I might start that war, but I might not.
WHAT HE SAID: America is back. Anyone who tells you otherwise, anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn’t know what they’re talking about.… America remains the one indispensable nation in world affairs. And as long as I’m president, I intend to keep it that way.
WHAT HE MEANT: I am not a wimp or a failure on the world stage, or an apologist for America, or a manager of our decline. And I don’t lead from behind. So all that stuff you’re hearing in these endless GOP debates? Forget about it.