Carnegie Mellon University

Presidential Visit

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On Seizing the Future

President Obama

President Barack Obama made an address from Carnegie Mellon's Wiegand Gymnasium on Wed., June 2, 2010. He thanked President Jared Cohon and the university community for hosting the speech and underscored the university’s contribution to the Pittsburgh economy, especially in terms of job creation. (Watch video of the address.)

President Obama used his speech to focus on the economy, saying, “America does not stand still. We move forward. That is why I’ve said that as we emerge from this recession, we cannot return to the pre-crisis status quo."

He also addressed the oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, saying, “The catastrophe unfolding in the Gulf right now may prove to be a result of human error — or corporations taking dangerous short-cuts that compromised safety. But we have to acknowledge that there are inherent risks to drilling four miles beneath the surface of the Earth — risks that are bound to increase the harder oil extraction becomes. Just like we have to acknowledge that an America run solely on fossil fuels should not be the vision we have for our children and grandchildren.”

In addition, the president touched on carbon policy, saying, “[T]he only way the transition to clean energy will succeed is if the private sector is fully invested in this future — if capital comes off the sidelines and the ingenuity of our entrepreneurs is unleashed. And the only way to do that is by finally putting a price on carbon pollution."

Cohon commented that he was pleased to hear what President Obama had to say about clean energy and investments in research and technology.

"Another aspect of the significance of his speech for us is the fact that it's here in Pittsburgh and at Carnegie Mellon," Cohon said. "Why Pittsburgh? I think it's the same reason why he chose Pittsburgh to host the G-20. We are, as you heard him say, one of the leading models of an older industrial city, which has transformed its economy. Why Carnegie Mellon? I think it's because we're a major actor, and he knows that, in that transformation and in continuing that transformation."

While on the campaign trail, then Sen. Obama spoke at Carnegie Mellon University June 26, 2008, where he hosted a summit on ensuring America's competitiveness in the global economy. The summit brought together economic, educational, community-based and industry leaders to discuss the challenges facing our workforce and craft solutions for the 21st Century.

Watch the June 2008 address and video of the panel discussion on YouTube, or visit our President Obama multimedia page for even more content.

Related Links: Watch: 2010 Address  |  Transcript of President's Remarks  |  Watch: 2008 Address  |  Watch: 2008 Panel Discussion  |  Carnegie Mellon Environmental Stories