Some quotes from President Obama during Wednesday's Twitter town hall:
On the 2008 Recession:
"We had to act quickly and make some bold and sometimes difficult decisions."
"I think that probably two things that I would do differently. One would have been to explain to the American people that it was going to take a while for us to get out of this. I think even I did not realize the magnitude because most economists didn’t realize the magnitude of the recession until fairly far into it, maybe two or three months into my presidency where we started realizing we had lost four million jobs before I was even sworn in."
"People may not have been prepared for how long this was going to take and why we would have to make some very difficult decisions and choices. And I take responsibility for that."
"I think the continuing decline in the housing market is something that hasn’t bottomed out as quickly as we expected. And so that has continued to be a big drag on the economy. We’ve had to revamp our housing program several times to try to help people stay in their homes and try to start lifting home values up."
"The one thing that we can do is make sure that for homeowners that have been responsible, didn’t buy more house than they couldn’t afford…. Makes sure that they can afford to pay."
"Given the size of the housing market, no federal program is going to be able to solve the housing [problem]."
On the Space Program:
"We are still a leader in space exploration, but frankly I have been pushing NASA to revamp its vision. The shuttle did some extraordinary work in low-orbit experiments, the international space station, in moving cargo. It was an extraordinary accomplishment."
"Now what we need is that next technological breakthrough. We’re still using the same models for space travel that we used for the Apollo program 30 or 40 years ago."
"Let’s invest in basic research around new technologies that can get us places faster, allow human space flight to last longer."
"What you’re seeing now is NASA I think redefining its mission. We have set a goal of getting to Mars with a pit stop on an asteroid. We haven’t identified the asteroid yet."
"In order to do that we’re actually going to need some technological breakthroughs that we don’t have yet."
"Let’s allow the private sector to get in so that they can, for example, send these low-earth-orbit vehicles into space."
"What we want to focus on is advanced manufacturing that combines new technology, so research and development to figure out how are we going to create the next Twitter, how are we going to create the next Google, how are we going to create the next big thing—but make sure that production is here.
"So it’s great that we have an Apple that’s creating iPods, iPads, and designing them and creating the software, but it would be nice if we’re also making the iPads and the iPods here in the United States, because that's some more jobs that people can work at."
"We want to be attracting that talent here. We don’t want to pay for that training here and then have them using that talent in other countries."
"Collective bargaining is the reason why the vast majority of Americans enjoy a minimum wage, enjoy weekends, enjoy overtime. So many things that we take for granted, because workers came together to bargain for reforms."
"(On White House workers) They haven’t had a raise in two and a half years and that’s appropriate."
"Obviously John (Boehner)’s the speaker of the House; he’s a Republican, so this is a slightly skewed question. But what he’s right about is that we have not seen fast enough job growth."
On Taxes/Debt Ceiling:
"Never in our history has the United States defaulted on its debt. The debt ceiling should not be something that is used as a gun against the head of the American people to extract tax breaks for corporate jet owners or oil and gas companies that are making millions of dollars because the price of gasoline has gone up so high."
"People like me, who have been incredibly fortunate—mainly because a lot of people who have bought my book—for me to go back to the tax rate that existed under Bill Clinton so that I can make sure that kids still have Medicare and kids still have Head Start makes a lot of sense to me."
"If all we do is just go back to the pre-Bush tax cut rates for the top income brackets, millionaires and billionaires, that would raise hundreds of millions of dollars, and if you combine it with the cuts we’ve already proposed, we could solve our deficit and debt problems."
"I do think that the universities still have a role in keeping the costs down."
"Working with university presidents to try to figure out where you can cut costs. Of course it may mean that the food in the cafeteria is a little worse, the cafeteria may be a little less fancy."
"We need to create a system where you can conveniently access community colleges that are working with business to train for the jobs that actually exist. That’s where I think we can make a lot of progress."
"We have an immigration system that’s broken right now."
"We have not had a serious energy policy for decades. Every president talks about it. We don’t get it done."
"I’d like to see robust legislation in congress that actually took some steps to reduce oil dependency."