ON THE ECONOMY "I said I would cut taxes for middle-class families and that's just what I did. Under my plan, 97 percent of small businesses would not see their income taxes go up." "We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. What's at stake are not Democratic values or Republican values, but American values. We have to reclaim them." ON AMERICANS "When you express an attitude that half the country considers itself victims, that somehow they want to be dependent on government, my thinking is maybe you haven't gotten around a lot. Their problem is not they're not working hard enough or they don't want to work or they're being taxed too little or they just want to loaf around and gather government checks. ... Are there people that abuse the system? Yes, both at the bottom and at the top. ...We've gone through a challenging time. People want a hand up and not a handout." ON HIGHER EDUCATION "You can't assume you'll just jack up tuition every single year. If you can't stop tuition going up, your funding from taxpayers will go down. We should push colleges to do better; we should hold them accountable if they don't. Higher education can't be a luxury - it's an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford." ON CHANGE " I ran in 2008 because the voices of the American people, your voices, had been shut out of our democracy for too long." "[Romney's] saying he's the candidate of change. ... We know what change looks like. And what the governor is offering sure isn't change. Giving more power back to the biggest banks isn't change. Leaving millions without health insurance isn't change. Another $5 trillion tax cut that favors the wealthy isn't change. Turning Medicare into a voucher is change, but we don't want that change." ON U.S. POLICY IN THE MIDDLE EAST "We ended the war in Iraq, refocused our attention on those who actually killed us on 9/11. And as a consequence, Al-Qaida's core leadership has been decimated. In addition, we're now able to transition out of Afghanistan in a responsible way, making sure that Afghans take responsibility for their own security. And that allows us also to rebuild alliances and make friends around the world to combat future threats." ON THE U.S. ROLE IN THE WORLD "America remains the one indispensable nation. And the world needs a strong America. And it is stronger now then when I came into office. Because we ended the war in Iraq, we were able to refocus our attention on not only the terrorist threat but also beginning a transition process in Afghanistan. It also allowed us to refocus on alliances and relationships that had been neglected for a decade." ON DEFENSE SPENDING "Our military spending has gone up every single year that I've been in office. We spend more on our military than the next 10 countries combined."