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Excerpts from Obama


Standing on a makeshift stage inside an Arlington, Va., Home Depot store yesterday, and with The Home Depot CEO Frank Blake in the audience, President Barack Obama spoke on the importance of incentives for home-efficiency projects.

On a stage flanked by Frost King and Owens-Corning insulation products, President Obama said "insulation is sexy." The benefit of an energy-efficient home improvement retrofit program, the so-called "Cash for Caulkers" program, was described by the president this way:


"The simple act of retrofitting these buildings to make them more energy-efficient -- installing new windows and doors, insulation, roofing, sealing leaks, modernizing heating and cooling equipment -- is one of the fastest, easiest and cheapest things we can do to put Americans back to work while saving families money and reducing harmful emissions."


The president's 12-minute address touched on a variety of related topics.


Insulation: "I know the idea may not be very glamorous -- although I get really excited about it.  We were at the roundtable and somebody said installation is not sexy.  I disagree. Frank, don't you think installation is sexy stuff? Here's what’s sexy about it:  saving money."


Unemployment: "Today, the economy is growing for the first time in more than a year, and November’s job report was the best that we’ve had in nearly two years. But the fact is, even though we’ve stopped the rapid job losses that we were seeing just a few months ago, more than seven million Americans have lost their jobs in the two years since this recession began.  Unemployment still stands at 10%.  So we’re not finished with our task -- far from it."


Energy waste: "Homes built in the first half of the last century can use about 50% more energy than homes that are built today.  And because most of our homes and offices aren't energy-efficient, much of that energy just goes to waste, while costing our families and businesses money they can't afford to throw away."

Government incentives: "But the challenge for a lot of people is getting that money up front.  They know that this is a smart thing to do, but times are tight right now and it's hard to afford making that capital investment. And that's where the government can come in to provide the incentive to help people make that initial investment so that they can recover that money over the long term."

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