Obama Vows to 'Win the Future'; Cut Oil Imports by One-Third at G.U. Speech
President Barack Obama outlined his administration's energy policy, termed "America's Energy Security," at Georgetown University's McDonough Arena, March 30, before a thousand-plus crowd of students, faculty and VIPs -- Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, among others.
After a few acknowledgments, especially to basketball coach John Thompson III on the Hoyas' loss to Virginia Commonwealth University, Obama leapt into a history of energy use and proposals, imported oil, more drilling, biofuels, wind and solar:
"We’re going to have to think long term, which is why I came here, to talk to young people here at Georgetown, because you have more of a stake in us getting our energy policy right than just about anybody. ... Richard Nixon talked about freeing ourselves from dependence on foreign oil. And every president since that time has talked about freeing ourselves from dependence on foreign oil. Politicians of every stripe have promised energy independence, but that promise has so far gone unmet… And today, I want to announce a new goal, one that is reasonable, one that is achievable, and one that is necessary. When I was elected to this office, America imported 11 million barrels of oil a day. By a little more than a decade from now, we will have cut that by one-third. That is something that we can achieve… Other countries are now exporting technology we pioneered, and they’re going after the jobs that come with it because they know that the countries that lead the 21st century clean energy economy will be the countries that lead the 21st century global economy. I want America to be that nation. I want America to win the future."
Then the president appealed directly to the youth: “We need you to dream big. We need you to summon that same spirit of unbridled optimism, and that bold willingness to tackle tough challenges and see those challenges through that led previous generations to rise to greatness – to save the democracy, to touch the moon, to connect the world with our own science and our own imagination."
Students waited for tickets on a first-come, first-serve basis, which caused long lines, and many were turned away. Some have proposed going back to the lottery system used for Obama's 2009 address at Georgetown's Gaston Hall.