President Obama gave a speech today on health care reform to the AFL-CIO National Convention in Pittsburgh. Here are his prepared remarks, released by the White House:
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You know, the White House is pretty nice, but there's nothing like being back in the House of Labor. Let me begin by recognizing a man who came to Washington to fight for the working men and women of Pennsylvania and who has a distinguished record doing just that, Arlen Specter.
I also want to give my thanks, and the thanks of our nation, to one of the great labor leaders of our time, a man whose entire life has been devoted to working people, who brought new life to a movement, who worked tirelessly on behalf of organized labor, and who will be stepping down tomorrow, your President John Sweeney. John, I know Maureen's looking forward to seeing a little more of you, and your granddaughter Kennedy's about to get a whole lot more spoiled by her grandfather.
I know it's bad luck to congratulate someone before they are officially elected, but I'm willing to take my chances and congratulate the man who will pick up John's mantle, a son and grandson of Pennsylvania coal miners, a man who worked his way through college to lead the United Mine Workers, my friend, and a fiery advocate for America's ideals, Rich Trumka. I also want to congratulate the officers coming in with Rich: Arlene, who will be continuing her service, and Liz, who will be making history as the first woman elected Secretary-Treasurer. I'm looking forward to working with all of you.
Being here with all of you is a reminder of what we're trying to do in Washington and why I'm there in the first place. Because one of the fundamental reasons I ran for President was to stand up for hardworking families; to ease the struggles, lift the hopes, and make possible the dreams of middle class Americans.