Pelosi: When ‘Obama Won the Election, He Took Us Out of That [Economic] Brink’

By Ali Meyer | September 19, 2014 | 3:18pm EDT

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). (AP)

( -- At the Americans United rally “Hands Off Social Security & Medicare” at the Capitol on Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) blamed Republicans for the economic recession of 2007-09, saying their "lack of regulation and supervision took our country to the brink, and so when President Obama won the election, he took us out of that brink.”

“I know you've heard from many members of the House and Senate about the importance of the three pillars of security for America’s seniors: about Social Security, about Medicare and about Medicaid,” she said.  “And I’m here to add my support to strengthening, not weakening those pillars. But I want to just take a different tack for a moment.”

Pelosi went on to recount the day that the Secretary of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, came to her office to discuss how financial institutions were in jeopardy and there was a meltdown in the economy.

President Barack Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

“And I said to the chairman of the Fed, Mr. Bernanke, what do you think about what the Secretary had to say? And he said, ‘If we do not act immediately we will not have an economy by Monday.’ Thank you to the Republicans and their economic policies to undermine our economy," said Pelosi.

She continued,  "If we’re concerned that they’re not there supporting Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid, we should also be concerned that they are not supporting the middle class. Their lack of regulation and supervision took our country to the brink, and so when President Obama won the election, he took us out of that brink."

The last recession officially lasted from December 2007 to June 2009, ending 5 months after Barack Obama was sworn in as  president in January 2009.

“But people are still starved, they’re still uncertain,” said Pelosi.  “We still have to make the fight all the time that people who do not share our values of security for our seniors and the three pillars upholding it, still want to return to the failed policies of the Bush administration of no regulation and no supervision that took us to that place.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who  also spoke at the rally, said, “America is on the leading edge of a retirement crisis. Families are squeezed. The last thing we need to be talking about is cutting Social Security – last thing.”

Warren stressed twice during her speech that the first premise of Social Security is that it’s about “dignity.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

“Social Security is not charity,” said Warren.  “Social Security is what people worked a lifetime for. Social Security is what keeps people independent. Social Security is about eating. Social Security is about dignity and that’s why we’re here to protect it today.”

“But when it comes right down to it, this is about values,” said Warren. “This is about who this country works for. This is about what we do together. And I want to start with this first premise: and that is Social Security is about the dignity of human beings. You work a lifetime, you’re entitled to retire with dignity. And that means a strong Social Security system and strong Medicare.”

“People built Social Security through their working years, we built it together, we made promises to ourselves and to each other,” she said.  “And if Republicans want to break those promises, then we’re here to say we will fight you every inch of the way.”

Others in attendance who lent their support were Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), Rep. Paul Tonko (D-New York), Rep. Dina Titus (R-Nev.), Rep. Jan Schakowski (R-New York), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), and Rep. Joe Garcia (D-Fla.).

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