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Hundreds more lined the streets or waited at the airport for a glimpse of the outgoing president. But what did he tell the citizens? Hello, Baton Rouge! Geaux Tigers! Can everybody give Che a big round of applause? We could not be more proud of her. That is a serious leader of the future. And we are so proud of her.
And I want to thank everybody at McKinley for hosting us today. There are a couple of people I want to make sure we acknowledge. Your Mayor, Kip Holden, is in the house. There he is.
And New Orleans Mayor and great friend of mine, Mitch Landrieu is in the house — applause — whose son is not so little, but looks pretty cool. We are so grateful to have them here. Since LSU has pretty good sports teams, historically, I thought I might mention you got an okay basketball player named Ben Simmons in the house. So they can hoop. But I think they would both acknowledge that Ben is better. Now, it is my intention not to give a long speech, because this is sort of a town hall.
I want to spend a little time having a conversation with all of you.
But I do want to make mention of what your incoming governor is already doing. This week, he took the bold and wise step to expand Medicaid — applause — to cover hundreds of thousands of hardworking Louisianans, providing them with the financial security of health care. It was the right thing to do. And it shows you why elections matter. Now, I love Louisiana. Some of you know I gave my final State of the Union address this week. And America always comes out stronger and better, as long as we make decisions together that are deed to seize the future instead of run away from it.
one: How do we make sure that we create an economy where everybody is benefitting, everybody feels secure, everybody has a shot at success, not just some? three: How do we make sure that we keep America safe, not through trying to talk tough, but by being smart? I just want to make this point. We cannot be stopped. We work best as a team. And let me say this. Or girl, boy, girl, boy. She said girl, girl, girl.
Come on. A couple things — wait until the mic gets there. two, introduce yourself so we know who you are. And that way we have a chance to hear from more people. All right? Here we go. This is a good-looking crowd, too. That young lady right there in the brown jacket. Right there. Yes, you. Okay, hold on. Wait for the mic. Q My name is Rachel. Hold on a second. The mic is coming to you. Q Hi, Mr. Q My first question is: What are your plans to do when you leave office? And can you please give my grandmother a hug?
So I will give your grandma a hug because you did such a nice job asking the question. So I will continue to work on the things that Michelle and I care so deeply about. We want to encourage young people to get involved. We want to improve education. We want to make sure that our criminal justice system works the way it should. We want to make sure that we are promoting science education and learning. We want to work internationally to help other countries develop.
But thank you for the question. Right here. Yes, all right. Go ahead. Q My name is Tremayne Sterling ph. Through your entire two terms as President, what would be your biggest regret and why? Although had you been watching my State of Union on Tuesday — laughter — he might have known that I actually already answered that question.
No, what I told the country — except for you — laughter — was that my biggest regret was the fact that politics has become more rancorous during my presidency and more polarized than it was when I came in. And keeping mind, when I ran, my belief was that there were no red states and blue states. There was a United States of America. And that continues to be my belief. Now, I have, as President, obviously done soul searching about what are things I could do differently to help bridge some of those divides.
I think part of it had to with when I came in we had a real emergency, and we had to act quickly. But what I also say is that this is not something a President can do by him or herself. When it comes to how we work together, the main impetus for better politics is going to be the American people.
They have to demand it. So this is an area where I regret.
I said on Tuesday that I think at the end of last year, maybe we surprised the cynics by getting a budget done. And we extended tax cuts for working families that were due to expire. And we were able to continue funding for transportation.
I know that your mayor was talking about how the interstate here narrows, and we may need to do something about it to relieve some traffic. And those things are not things that should be subject to a lot of Republican and Democratic argument. That we have to be tough on violent crime, but also be smart when we think about how can we prevent young people from getting into the criminal justice system in the first place.
How can we provide alternatives for low-level, non-violent drug offenders. How can we make sure that the sentencing is proportional. How do we lift up all the outstanding employers who are willing to give people second chances. Another area is — and I mentioned this at the State of the Union. Some of you have heard of the Earned Income Tax Credit. Now, this is a program historically that is supported by Democrats and Republicans. The problem is that it does not apply to individuals without children. I know that Mitch has been doing great work when it comes to the criminal justice system in New Orleans.
All right. And my daughter — my oldest daughter is about to go to college next year. Q My name is Noelle Remeny ph. So you better study up on your math and study up on your science. But I do think that we are seeing medical breakthroughs right now that we have not seen in my lifetime. Part of the Cute girl in the mckinley gym is because — some of you heard of the Human Genome Project. And when you do that, it turns out that a cancer cell that I have may be different than a cancer cell that John or somebody else has, and may require different cures.
And certain treatments might work better than other treatments. But we have to make a big investment. And my Vice President, Joe Biden, who I love, suffered the kind of tragedy last year that is unbelievable. And he managed it with grace. His son Beau Biden was one of the finest men I knew. And so I thought it was entirely appropriate for Joe Biden, who has seen this and gone through it, to lead this effort like a moon launch.
But I think ti will be cured in yours. This gentleman back here. Yes, sir. Hold on. The mic is coming. Q I have a question for you. Laughter and applause. No, no, no. No, no.Cute girl in the mckinley gym
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