Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
I have just called President Obama to congratulate him on his victory. His supporters and his campaign also deserve congratulations.
His supporters and his campaign also deserve congratulations. I wish all of them well, but particularly the president, the first lady and their daughters.
This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation.
I want to thank Paul Ryan for all that he has done for our campaign.
And for our country. Besides my wife, Ann, Paul is the best choice I’ve ever made.
And I trust that his intellect and his hard work and his commitment to principle will continue to contribute to the good of our nation.
I also want to thank Ann, the love of my life.
She would have been a wonderful first lady. She’s – she has been that and more to me and to our family and to the many people that she has touched with her compassion and her care.
I thank my sons for their tireless work on behalf of the campaign, and thank their wives and children for taking up the slack as their husbands and dads have spent so many weeks away from home.
I want to thank Matt Rhoades and the dedicated campaign team he led.
They have made an extraordinary effort not just for me, but also for the country that we love.
And to you here tonight, and to the team across the country – the volunteers, the fundraisers, the donors, the surrogates – I don’t believe that there’s ever been an effort in our party that can compare with what you have done over these past years. Thank you so very much.
Political campaigns have rapidly realized the power of the web over the past few elections. By implementing clean design, a strong message, easy navigation, mobile friendly sites & social media integration they are able to use the internet to increase their reach. These new sites are able to dramatically increase grass roots involvement and create an easy way for swing voters to learn about key issues. They also build large scale databases of supporters that enable campaigns to instantly get their message out.
An assessment of current and recent political websites from a design perspective:
Obama’s site is a clear example of how strong design mixed with the latest technology & a clear message can win an election. The hero image is a call to action to get people to register for his email list. This is a powerful tool to constantly get the word out about his key messages, grassroots opportunities, & ways to donate. The site also has a clean layout so key information is easy to find. How to volunteer, his agenda for a second term, where to find a local event, how to donate, & the latest news from the campaign trail are easy to find.
From a design standpoint Romney’s site is equally strong. The inability to get past his landing page without filling out your name & email address is not effective. He was loosing out on the opportunity to capture swing voters that want to find out what Mitt is about, but do not want to get bombarded with campaign spam. Once you do get in the site is clean and easy to navigate through. The hero image is a call to action on how you can get involved. The spotlight section features Mitt’s plan, how to get connected, why his opponent wasn’t working & his online store.
Elizabeth’s site also has the inability to get past the landing page without filling out your name & email address. Once you get into the site is also well designed. Clean navigation, simple icons & bold graphics make for a striking site, similar to what a few Dallas web design firms have achieved. The user of her website quickly has the ability to sign up for her email updates, volunteer, donate & learn about the key issues.
The one thing that made Joe Miklosi’s site stand out from other congressional campaign sites was it’s ability to track supporter data.
From a design standpoint Franken’s site appears to be a purchased WordPress template. The cluttered layout doesn’t flow or make anything stand out. The sidebar looks like a grouping of dull WordPress plugins. Al has a comedic history with SNL, and has a broad range of audience appeal even to children. Fun Songs for Kids would be right up his alley, as would children’s music. Both of these things make him likable to adults and children alike. This could be a factor in his political success. Too bad that playfulness didn’t come across in his website design.
I particularly appreciate the introduction from my good friend and tireless campaign companion, Gov. Bob McDonnell. He is showing what conservative leadership can do to build a stronger economy. Thank you also Congressman Goodlatte for joining us today. And particular thanks to Gen. Peay. I appreciate your invitation to be with you today at the Virginia Military Institute. It is a great privilege to be here at an Institution that has done so much for our nation, both in war and in peace.
For more than 170 years, VMI has done more than educate students. It has guided their transformation into citizens, and warriors, and leaders. VMI graduates have served with honor in our nation’s defense, just as many are doing today in Afghanistan and other lands. Since the September 11th attacks, many of VMI’s sons and daughters have defended America, and I mourn with you the 15 brave souls who have been lost. I join you in praying for the many VMI graduates and all Americans who are now serving in harm’s way. May God bless all who serve, and all who have served.
Of all the VMI graduates, none is more distinguished than George Marshall—the Chief of Staff of the Army who became Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense, who helped to vanquish fascism and then planned Europe’s rescue from despair. His commitment to peace was born of his direct knowledge of the awful costs and consequences of war.
General Marshall once said, “The only way human beings can win a war is to prevent it.” Those words were true in his time—and they still echo in ours.
Last month, our nation was attacked again. A U.S. Ambassador and three of our fellow Americans are dead—murdered in Benghazi, Libya. Among the dead were three veterans. All of them were fine men, on a mission of peace and friendship to a nation that dearly longs for both. President Obama has said that Ambassador Chris Stevens and his colleagues represented the best of America. And he is right. We all mourn their loss.
The attacks against us in Libya were not an isolated incident. They were accompanied by anti-American riots in nearly two dozen other countries, mostly in the Middle East, but also in Africa and Asia. Our embassies have been attacked. Our flag has been burned. Many of our citizens have been threatened and driven from their overseas homes by vicious mobs, shouting “Death to America.” These mobs hoisted the black banner of Islamic extremism over American embassies on the anniversary of the September 11th attacks.
As the dust settles, as the murdered are buried, Americans are asking how this happened, how the threats we face have grown so much worse, and what this calls on America to do. These are the right questions. And I have come here today to offer a larger perspective on these tragic recent events—and to share with you, and all Americans, my vision for a freer, more prosperous, and more peaceful world.
The attacks on America last month should not be seen as random acts. They are expressions of a larger struggle that is playing out across the broader Middle East—a region that is now in the midst of the most profound upheaval in a century. And the fault lines of this struggle can be seen clearly in Benghazi itself.
The attack on our Consulate in Benghazi on September 11th, 2012 was likely the work of forces affiliated with those that attacked our homeland on September 11th, 2001. This latest assault cannot be blamed on a reprehensible video insulting Islam, despite the Administration’s attempts to convince us of that for so long. No, as the Administration has finally conceded, these attacks were the deliberate work of terrorists who use violence to impose their dark ideology on others, especially women and girls; who are fighting to control much of the Middle East today; and who seek to wage perpetual war on the West.
We saw all of this in Benghazi last month—but we also saw something else, something hopeful. After the attack on our Consulate, tens of thousands of Libyans, most of them young people, held a massive protest in Benghazi against the very extremists who murdered our people. They waved signs that read, “The Ambassador was Libya’s friend” and “Libya is sorry.” They chanted “No to militias.” They marched, unarmed, to the terrorist compound. Then they burned it to the ground. As one Libyan woman said, “We are not going to go from darkness to darkness.”
This is the struggle that is now shaking the entire Middle East to its foundation. It is the struggle of millions and millions of people—men and women, young and old, Muslims, Christians and non-believers—all of whom have had enough of the darkness. It is a struggle for the dignity that comes with freedom, and opportunity, and the right to live under laws of our own making. It is a struggle that has unfolded under green banners in the streets of Iran, in the public squares of Tunisia and Egypt and Yemen, and in the fights for liberty in Iraq, and Afghanistan, and Libya, and now Syria. In short, it is a struggle between liberty and tyranny, justice and oppression, hope and despair.
We have seen this struggle before. It would be familiar to George Marshall. In his time, in the ashes of world war, another critical part of the world was torn between democracy and despotism. Fortunately, we had leaders of courage and vision, both Republicans and Democrats, who knew that America had to support friends who shared our values, and prevent today’s crises from becoming tomorrow’s conflicts.
Statesmen like Marshall rallied our nation to rise to its responsibilities as the leader of the free world. We helped our friends to build and sustain free societies and free markets. We defended our friends, and ourselves, from our common enemies. We led. And though the path was long and uncertain, the thought of war in Europe is as inconceivable today as it seemed inevitable in the last century.
This is what makes America exceptional: It is not just the character of our country—it is the record of our accomplishments. America has a proud history of strong, confident, principled global leadership—a history that has been written by patriots of both parties. That is America at its best. And it is the standard by which we measure every President, as well as anyone who wishes to be President. Unfortunately, this President’s policies have not been equal to our best examples of world leadership. And nowhere is this more evident than in the Middle East.
I want to be very clear: The blame for the murder of our people in Libya, and the attacks on our embassies in so many other countries, lies solely with those who carried them out—no one else. But it is the responsibility of our President to use America’s great power to shape history—not to lead from behind, leaving our destiny at the mercy of events. Unfortunately, that is exactly where we find ourselves in the Middle East under President Obama.
The relationship between the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Israel, our closest ally in the region, has suffered great strains. The President explicitly stated that his goal was to put “daylight” between the United States and Israel. And he has succeeded. This is a dangerous situation that has set back the hope of peace in the Middle East and emboldened our mutual adversaries, especially Iran.
Iran today has never been closer to a nuclear weapons capability. It has never posed a greater danger to our friends, our allies, and to us. And it has never acted less deterred by America, as was made clear last year when Iranian agents plotted to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador in our nation’s capital. And yet, when millions of Iranians took to the streets in June of 2009, when they demanded freedom from a cruel regime that threatens the world, when they cried out, “Are you with us, or are you with them?”—the American President was silent.
Across the greater Middle East, as the joy born from the downfall of dictators has given way to the painstaking work of building capable security forces, and growing economies, and developing democratic institutions, the President has failed to offer the tangible support that our partners want and need.
In Iraq, the costly gains made by our troops are being eroded by rising violence, a resurgent Al-Qaeda, the weakening of democracy in Baghdad, and the rising influence of Iran. And yet, America’s ability to influence events for the better in Iraq has been undermined by the abrupt withdrawal of our entire troop presence. The President tried—and failed—to secure a responsible and gradual drawdown that would have better secured our gains.
The President has failed to lead in Syria, where more than 30,000 men, women, and children have been massacred by the Assad regime over the past 20 months. Violent extremists are flowing into the fight. Our ally Turkey has been attacked. And the conflict threatens stability in the region.
America can take pride in the blows that our military and intelligence professionals have inflicted on Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, including the killing of Osama bin Laden. These are real achievements won at a high cost. But Al-Qaeda remains a strong force in Yemen and Somalia, in Libya and other parts of North Africa, in Iraq, and now in Syria. And other extremists have gained ground across the region. Drones and the modern instruments of war are important tools in our fight, but they are no substitute for a national security strategy for the Middle East.
The President is fond of saying that “The tide of war is receding.” And I want to believe him as much as anyone. But when we look at the Middle East today—with Iran closer than ever to nuclear weapons capability, with the conflict in Syria threating to destabilize the region, with violent extremists on the march, and with an American Ambassador and three others dead likely at the hands of Al-Qaeda affiliates— it is clear that the risk of conflict in the region is higher now than when the President took office.
I know the President hopes for a safer, freer, and a more prosperous Middle East allied with the United States. I share this hope. But hope is not a strategy. We cannot support our friends and defeat our enemies in the Middle East when our words are not backed up by deeds, when our defense spending is being arbitrarily and deeply cut, when we have no trade agenda to speak of, and the perception of our strategy is not one of partnership, but of passivity.
The greater tragedy of it all is that we are missing an historic opportunity to win new friends who share our values in the Middle East—friends who are fighting for their own futures against the very same violent extremists, and evil tyrants, and angry mobs who seek to harm us. Unfortunately, so many of these people who could be our friends feel that our President is indifferent to their quest for freedom and dignity. As one Syrian woman put it, “We will not forget that you forgot about us.”
It is time to change course in the Middle East. That course should be organized around these bedrock principles: America must have confidence in our cause, clarity in our purpose and resolve in our might. No friend of America will question our commitment to support them… no enemy that attacks America will question our resolve to defeat them… and no one anywhere, friend or foe, will doubt America’s capability to back up our words.
I will put the leaders of Iran on notice that the United States and our friends and allies will prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons capability. I will not hesitate to impose new sanctions on Iran, and will tighten the sanctions we currently have. I will restore the permanent presence of aircraft carrier task forces in both the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf region—and work with Israel to increase our military assistance and coordination. For the sake of peace, we must make clear to Iran through actions—not just words—that their nuclear pursuit will not be tolerated.
I will reaffirm our historic ties to Israel and our abiding commitment to its security—the world must never see any daylight between our two nations.
I will deepen our critical cooperation with our partners in the Gulf.
And I will roll back President Obama’s deep and arbitrary cuts to our national defense that would devastate our military. I will make the critical defense investments that we need to remain secure. The decisions we make today will determine our ability to protect America tomorrow. The first purpose of a strong military is to prevent war.
The size of our Navy is at levels not seen since 1916. I will restore our Navy to the size needed to fulfill our missions by building 15 ships per year, including three submarines. I will implement effective missile defenses to protect against threats. And on this, there will be no flexibility with Vladimir Putin. And I will call on our NATO allies to keep the greatest military alliance in history strong by honoring their commitment to each devote 2 percent of their GDP to security spending. Today, only 3 of the 28 NATO nations meet this benchmark.
I will make further reforms to our foreign assistance to create incentives for good governance, free enterprise, and greater trade, in the Middle East and beyond. I will organize all assistance efforts in the greater Middle East under one official with responsibility and accountability to prioritize efforts and produce results. I will rally our friends and allies to match our generosity with theirs. And I will make it clear to the recipients of our aid that, in return for our material support, they must meet the responsibilities of every decent modern government—to respect the rights of all of their citizens, including women and minorities… to ensure space for civil society, a free media, political parties, and an independent judiciary… and to abide by their international commitments to protect our diplomats and our property.
I will champion free trade and restore it as a critical element of our strategy, both in the Middle East and across the world. The President has not signed one new free trade agreement in the past four years. I will reverse that failure. I will work with nations around the world that are committed to the principles of free enterprise, expanding existing relationships and establishing new ones.
I will support friends across the Middle East who share our values, but need help defending them and their sovereignty against our common enemies.
In Libya, I will support the Libyan people’s efforts to forge a lasting government that represents all of them, and I will vigorously pursue the terrorists who attacked our consulate in Benghazi and killed Americans.
In Egypt, I will use our influence—including clear conditions on our aid—to urge the new government to represent all Egyptians, to build democratic institutions, and to maintain its peace treaty with Israel. And we must persuade our friends and allies to place similar stipulations on their aid.
In Syria, I will work with our partners to identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values and ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad’s tanks, helicopters, and fighter jets. Iran is sending arms to Assad because they know his downfall would be a strategic defeat for them. We should be working no less vigorously with our international partners to support the many Syrians who would deliver that defeat to Iran—rather than sitting on the sidelines. It is essential that we develop influence with those forces in Syria that will one day lead a country that sits at the heart of the Middle East.
And in Afghanistan, I will pursue a real and successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014. President Obama would have you believe that anyone who disagrees with his decisions in Afghanistan is arguing for endless war. But the route to more war – and to potential attacks here at home – is a politically timed retreat that abandons the Afghan people to the same extremists who ravaged their country and used it to launch the attacks of 9/11. I will evaluate conditions on the ground and weigh the best advice of our military commanders. And I will affirm that my duty is not to my political prospects, but to the security of the nation.
Finally, I will recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel. On this vital issue, the President has failed, and what should be a negotiation process has devolved into a series of heated disputes at the United Nations. In this old conflict, as in every challenge we face in the Middle East, only a new President will bring the chance to begin anew.
There is a longing for American leadership in the Middle East—and it is not unique to that region. It is broadly felt by America’s friends and allies in other parts of the world as well— in Europe, where Putin’s Russia casts a long shadow over young democracies, and where our oldest allies have been told we are “pivoting” away from them … in Asia and across the Pacific, where China’s recent assertiveness is sending chills through the region … and here in our own hemisphere, where our neighbors in Latin America want to resist the failed ideology of Hugo Chavez and the Castro brothers and deepen ties with the United States on trade, energy, and security. But in all of these places, just as in the Middle East, the question is asked: “Where does America stand?”
I know many Americans are asking a different question: “Why us?” I know many Americans are asking whether our country today—with our ailing economy, and our massive debt, and after 11 years at war—is still capable of leading.
I believe that if America does not lead, others will—others who do not share our interests and our values—and the world will grow darker, for our friends and for us. America’s security and the cause of freedom cannot afford four more years like the last four years. I am running for President because I believe the leader of the free world has a duty, to our citizens, and to our friends everywhere, to use America’s great influence—wisely, with solemnity and without false pride, but also firmly and actively—to shape events in ways that secure our interests, further our values, prevent conflict, and make the world better—not perfect, but better.
Our friends and allies across the globe do not want less American leadership. They want more—more of our moral support, more of our security cooperation, more of our trade, and more of our assistance in building free societies and thriving economies. So many people across the world still look to America as the best hope of humankind. So many people still have faith in America. We must show them that we still have faith in ourselves—that we have the will and the wisdom to revive our stagnant economy, to roll back our unsustainable debt, to reform our government, to reverse the catastrophic cuts now threatening our national defense, to renew the sources of our great power, and to lead the course of human events.
Sir Winston Churchill once said of George Marshall: “He … always fought victoriously against defeatism, discouragement, and disillusion.” That is the role our friends want America to play again. And it is the role we must play.
The 21st century can and must be an American century. It began with terror, war, and economic calamity. It is our duty to steer it onto the path of freedom, peace, and prosperity.
The torch America carries is one of decency and hope. It is not America’s torch alone. But it is America’s duty – and honor – to hold it high enough that all the world can see its light.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.
Thank you, Mr. President. I appreciate the kind words and your invitation here today.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned this election season, it’s that a few words from Bill Clinton can do any man a lot of good. After that introduction, I guess all I have to do is wait a day or two for the bounce.
Since serving as President here in America, President Clinton has devoted himself to lifting the downtrodden around the world. One of the best things that can happen to any cause, to any people, is to have Bill Clinton as its advocate. That is how needy and neglected causes have become global initiatives. It is that work that invites us here today.
As I have watched the astounding impact of this Initiative from afar, I have been impressed by the extraordinary power you have derived by harnessing together different people of different backgrounds, and different institutions of different persuasions. You have fashioned partnerships across traditional boundaries — public and private, for-profit and nonprofit, charitable and commercial.
On a smaller scale, I have seen partnerships like this work before. In Massachusetts, two social pioneers brought corporations and government and volunteers together to form City Year, the model for Americorps. I sat with then candidate for President Bill Clinton as he investigated the life-changing successes which occurred when young people came together for a year of service, linked in teams with corporate sponsors. Then, as the head of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, I saw again the stunning success than comes when the disparate elements of a community join together in unity, to overcome challenges that had seemed insurmountable before.
The Clinton Global Initiative has also demonstrated the effectiveness of entrepreneurship and social enterprise. You endeavor to not only comfort the afflicted, but to also change lives thorough freedom, free enterprise, and the incomparable dignity of work.
Free enterprise has done more to bless humanity than any other economic system not only because it is the only system that creates a prosperous middle class, but also because it is the only system where the individual enjoys the freedom to guide and build his or her own life. Free enterprise cannot only make us better off financially, it can make us better people.
Ours is a compassionate nation. We look around us and see withering suffering. Our hearts break. While we make up just 4.5 percent of the world’s population, we donate nearly a quarter of all global foreign aid—more than twice as much as any other country. And Americans give more than money. Pastors like Rick Warren lead mission trips that send thousands of Americans around the world, bringing aid and comfort to the poorest places on the planet. American troops are first on the scene of natural disasters. An earthquake strikes Haiti and care packages from America are among the first to arrive – and not far behind are former Presidents Clinton and Bush.
But too often our passion for charity is tempered by our sense that our aid is not always effective. We see stories of cases where American aid has been diverted to corrupt governments. We wonder why years of aid and relief seem never to extinguish the hardship, why the suffering persists decade after decade.
Perhaps some of our disappointments are due to our failure to recognize just how much the developing world has changed. Many of our foreign aid efforts were designed at a time when government development assistance accounted for roughly 70 percent of all resources flowing to developing nations. Today, 82 percent of the resources flowing into the developing world come from the private sector. If foreign aid can leverage this massive investment by private enterprise, it may exponentially expand the ability to not only care for those who suffer, but also to change lives.
Private enterprise is having a greater and greater positive impact in the developing world. The John Deere Company embarked upon a pilot project in Africa where it developed a suite of farm tools that could be attached to a very small tractor. John Deere has also worked to expand the availability of capital to farmers so they can maintain and develop their businesses. The result has been a good investment for John Deere and greater opportunity for African farmers, who are now able to grow more crops, and to provide for more plentiful lives.
For American foreign aid to become more effective, it must embrace the power of partnerships, access the transformative nature of free enterprise, and leverage the abundant resources that can come from the private sector.
There are three, quite legitimate, objects of our foreign aid.
First, to address humanitarian need. Such is the case with the PEPFAR initiative, which has given medical treatment to millions suffering from HIV and AIDS.
Second, to foster a substantial United States strategic interest, be it military, diplomatic, or economic.
And there is a third purpose, one that will receive more attention and a much higher priority in a Romney Administration. And that is aid that elevates people and brings about lasting change in communities and in nations.
Many Americans are troubled by the developments in the Middle East. Syria has witnessed the killing of tens of thousands of people. The president of Egypt is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Our Ambassador to Libya was assassinated in a terrorist attack. And Iran is moving toward nuclear weapons capability. We feel that we are at the mercy of events, rather than shaping events.
I am often asked why, and what can we do to lead the Middle East to stability, to ease the suffering and the anger and the hate.
Religious extremism is certainly part of the problem. But that’s not the whole story.
The population of the Middle East is young, particularly compared with the population of the West. And typically, these young people have few job prospects and the levels of youth unemployment across the region are excessive and chronic. In nations that have undergone a change in leadership recently, young people have greater access to information that was once carefully guarded by tyrants and dictators. They see the good as well as the bad in surrounding societies. They can now organize across vast regions, mobilizing populations. Idle, humiliated by poverty, and crushed by government corruption, their frustration and anger grows.
In such a setting, for America to change lives, to change communities and nations in the Middle East, foreign aid must also play a role. And the shape that role should take was brought into focus by the life and death of Muhammed Bouazizi of Tunisia, the street vendor whose self-immolation sparked the Arab Spring.
He was just 26-years-old. He had provided for his family since he was a young boy. He worked a small fruit stand, selling to passers-by. The regular harassment by corrupt bureaucrats was elevated one day when they took crates of his fruit and his weighing scales away from him.
On the day of his protest, witnesses say that an officer slapped Bouazizi and he cried out, “Why are you doing this to me? I’m a simple person, and I just want to work.”
I just want to work.
Work. That must be at the heart of our effort to help people build economies that can create jobs for people, young and old alike. Work builds self-esteem. It transforms minds from fantasy and fanaticism to reality and grounding. Work will not long tolerate corruption nor quietly endure the brazen theft by government of the product of hard-working men and women.
To foster work and enterprise in the Middle East and in other developing countries, I will initiate “Prosperity Pacts.” Working with the private sector, the program will identify the barriers to investment, trade, and entrepreneurialism in developing nations. In exchange for removing those barriers and opening their markets to U.S. investment and trade, developing nations will receive U.S. assistance packages focused on developing the institutions of liberty, the rule of law, and property rights.
We will focus our efforts on small and medium-size businesses. Microfinance has been an effective tool at promoting enterprise and prosperity, but we must expand support to small and medium-size businesses that are too large for microfinance, but too small for traditional banks.
The aim of a much larger share of our aid must be the promotion of work and the fostering of free enterprise. Nothing we can do as a nation will change lives and nations more effectively and permanently than sharing the insight that lies at the foundation of America’s own economy–free people pursuing happiness in their own ways build a strong and prosperous nation.
When I was in business, I traveled to many other countries. I was often struck by the vast difference in wealth among nations. True, some of that was due to geography. Rich countries often had natural resources like mineral deposits or ample waterways. But in some cases, all that separated a rich country from a poor one was a faint line on a map. Countries that were physically right next to each other were economically worlds apart. Just think of North and South Korea.
I became convinced that the crucial difference between these countries wasn’t geography. I noticed the most successful countries shared something in common. They were the freest. They protected the rights of the individual. They enforced the rule of law. And they encouraged free enterprise. They understood that economic freedom is the only force in history that has consistently lifted people out of poverty – and kept people out of poverty.
A temporary aid package can jolt an economy. It can fund some projects. It can pay some bills. It can employ some people some of the time. But it can’t sustain an economy—not for long. It can’t pull the whole cart—because at some point, the money runs out.
But an assistance program that helps unleash free enterprise creates enduring prosperity. Free enterprise is based on mutual exchange—or, rather, millions of exchanges—millions of people trading, buying, selling, building, investing. Yes, it has its ups and downs. It isn’t perfect. But it’s more durable. It’s more reliable. And ultimately, as history shows, it’s more successful.
The best example of the good free enterprise can do for the developing world is the example of the developed world itself. My friend Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute has pointed out that before the year 1800, living standards in the West were appalling. A person born in the eighteenth century lived essentially as his great-great-grandfather had. Life was filled with disease and danger.
But starting in 1800, the West began two centuries of free enterprise and trade. Living standards rose. Literacy spread. Health improved. In our own country, between 1820 and 1998, real per capita GDP increased twenty-two-fold.
As the most prosperous nation in history, it is our duty to keep the engine of prosperity running—to open markets across the globe and to spread prosperity to all corners of the earth. We should do it because it’s the right moral course to help others.
But it is also economically the smart thing to do. In our export industries, the typical job pays above what comparable workers make in other industries, and more than one-third of manufacturing jobs are tied to exports. Sadly, we have lost over half a million manufacturing jobs over the last three and a half years.
As president, I will reverse this trend by ensuring we have trade that works for America. I will negotiate new trade agreements, ask Congress to reinstate Trade Promotion Authority, complete negotiations to expand the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and create what I call a “Reagan Economic Zone,” where any nation willing to play by the rules can participate in a new community committed to fair and free trade.
I’ve laid out a new approach for a new era. We’ll couple aid with trade and private investment to empower individuals, encourage innovators, and reward entrepreneurs.
Today, we face a world with unprecedented challenges and complexities. We should not forget—and cannot forget—that not far from here, a voice of unspeakable evil and hatred has spoken out, threatening Israel and the civilized world. But we come together knowing that the bitterness of hate is no match for the strength of love.
In the weeks ahead, I will continue to speak to these challenges and the opportunities that this moment presents us. I will go beyond foreign assistance and describe what I believe America’s strategy should be to secure our interests and ideals during this uncertain time.
A year from now, I hope to return to this meeting as president, having made substantial progress toward achieving the reforms I’ve outlined. But I also hope to remind the world of the goodness and the bigness of the American heart. I will never apologize for America. I believe that America has been one of the greatest forces for good the world has ever known. We can hold that knowledge in our hearts with humility and unwavering conviction.
Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you all very much.
Thank you, Hector, for that warm introduction. And congratulations to Cristina.
I’m pleased to be your guest, and to speak as we begin National Hispanic Heritage Month.
I’m also pleased to represent the party of Governor Susana Martinez, Governor Brian Sandoval, Governor Luis Fortuno, Senator Marco Rubio, and the Texas Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, Ted Cruz. These leaders are Republicans for the same reasons as millions of other Hispanics: they see that ours is the party of opportunity, the party that will restore America’s prosperity.
At our convention, Governor Martinez described an experience you may find familiar.
At the beginning of her political career, she was a Democrat. As her star began to rise, she and her husband accepted an invitation from two Republicans for lunch. The words “Democrat” and “Republican” never came up. They talked about issues, not about party – How do we keep welfare from becoming a barrier to work? How much government is needed before it becomes a burden to families and small business?
When the lunch was over, she turned to her husband and said “I’ll be darned… we’re Republicans!”
I love hearing stories like that. I am convinced that the Republican Party is the rightful home of Hispanic Americans.
But my speech today isn’t about my political party. It’s about the country we love and the future we want to build.
During the course of this campaign, I have traveled across our country. I have seen people who have fallen into poverty, people who are living paycheck to paycheck, people who are tired of being tired.
Over 23 million Americans are out of work, underemployed, or have just quit looking for a job. The number of people on food stamps has risen by almost 15 million since President Obama took office.
Median household income has fallen four years in a row.
Seeing such a poor jobs and income picture, the Federal Reserve has announced that it will once again print more money. The Fed knows this comes with a high cost and risk for the future, but it feels it has no choice: Our leaders in Washington have failed to produce a real recovery.
No one is exempt from the pain of this economy, but the Hispanic community has been particularly hard hit. While national unemployment is 8.1 percent, Hispanic unemployment is over 10 percent. Over two million more Hispanics are living in poverty today than the day President Obama took office.
In 2008, candidate Obama promised us a world of limitless hope. What we got instead is a world where hope has painful limits — limits that make it harder to start a business, to grow a business, or to find a job.
The administration promised us that its policies would have brought unemployment down to 5.4% by now. They have not. Unemployment is still above 8%. And the difference between the 5.4% they promised and the 8% they delivered is 9 million more Americans not working. 9 million.
I expected the President, at his convention, to talk about the unemployed and to unveil a jobs plan. Astonishingly, he did not. I have a plan, and my Plan for a Stronger Middle Class will create 12 million jobs by the end of my first term. And it will raise take home pay.
My plan is premised on the conviction that it is freedom that drives our economy–that free people, creating free enterprises, is what creates good jobs with good wages. Government supports the job creators, but it cannot take their place.
My plan has five steps:
First, we will take full advantage of our oil, gas, coal, nuclear power, and renewables to achieve North American energy independence in 8 years. That will not only give us the affordable, reliable energy we need; it will also create nearly 4 million jobs. And it will help bring manufacturing back to our shores.
Second, we must give our fellow citizens the skills they need for the jobs of today – and give our children the education they need for the careers of tomorrow.
Today, too many of our kids are trapped in failing schools. As president, I will fight to ensure that children from every background receive a quality education. I will empower the parents of our low-income and special-needs students to choose where their child goes to school.
Third, we will make trade work for America by forging new agreements with nations that play by the rules, while cracking down on nations that do not. We can jumpstart our economy by expanding trade with Latin America – and our nation’s 3 million Hispanic-owned businesses will have the most to gain. President Obama has not initiated a single new trade agreement with Latin America. I will.
I will also pursue a comprehensive strategy to confront China’s unfair trade practices from Day One. President Obama may think that announcing new trade cases less than two months from Election Day will distract from his record, but the American businesses and workers struggling on an uneven playing field know better. If I’d known all it took to get him to take action was to run an ad citing his inaction on China’s cheating, I would have run one long ago.
Fourth, we must cut the deficit and put America on track to a balanced budget. I believe that it is immoral for us to continue to spend more than we take in, to pass massive debts on to our children.
I’d like to spend some time talking about this issue in particular. As businessmen and women, and as Hispanics, you understand the threat President Obama’s spending poses for our future. Many Hispanics have sacrificed greatly to help build our country and our economy, and to leave for their children a brighter future. Today, those sacrifices are being put at risk by a President who cannot stop spending.
The President likes to claim he will reduce the deficit by $4 trillion. What he doesn’t tell you is that he’s including over $1 trillion in spending cuts that have already been enacted, or that he’s counting deficit reduction for 12 years. Yes that’s right: 5 years after he leaves office, even if he’s reelected.
Under President Obama, federal spending peaked at 25% of GDP–a level not seen since World War II. I propose to bring federal spending back to its historical levels, about 20% of GDP, and cap it there. I will pursue a 5% cut in non-security discretionary spending on my first day in office. It’s time for a president who is committed to cutting spending and balancing our budget.
I know how to balance budgets. We balanced our budget in my business, at the Olympics, and every year in my state.
I will put the federal government on a track to a balanced budget by eliminating programs that are not absolutely essential and cutting federal subsidies for things like Amtrak, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Legal Services Corporation, and the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities. I like some of these things but we just can’t afford them. In fact, my test is this–is the program so critical that it is worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?
In addition, I will send a number of programs that have been growing uncontrollably fast back to the states where I will limit their funding growth to the rate of inflation, or in the case of Medicaid, to inflation plus one percent.
And finally, I will look to sharply increase the productivity of Washington by reducing federal government employment by 10% through attrition, by combining agencies and departments to reduce overhead, by cracking down on the $115 billion a year in improper payments in government programs, and by aligning government compensation with that of the private sector. These things combined will reduce spending by about $500 billion a year by the end of my first term.
The President has put us on the road to Greece. I will put us back on the road to a stronger America, one which stops spending more than we take in.
Fifth, to get our economy creating the jobs we need, we must champion small businesses.
I started a business myself. We began with ten people; today it employs hundreds of people. We invested to help start up other small businesses. Today over 100,000 people work at companies we helped start—companies like Staples, Bright Horizons, The Sports Authority, and Steel Dynamics.
Small businesses often grow into large businesses. Two-thirds of American jobs created over the last 15 years were created by small business.
I know small business, not because I studied it in school, but because I lived small business. And I know that small businesses are being crushed by President Obama’s policies. Too often, government regulators treat businesses like the enemy, and they crush them with an avalanche of regulations.
And then there are taxes. I met an electronics entrepreneur in St. Louis. He said that he and his son calculated how much they paid to the government in federal income taxes, payroll taxes, state income taxes, gasoline taxes, sales taxes and real estate taxes. It amounted to over half of what his business earned. Over half! No wonder business start-ups are at a thirty-year low. But the President plans to raise the federal income tax on small business even more, from 35% up to 40%. That will kill 700,000 jobs. A recent study concluded that my plan to reduce the tax rate on small business will instead create 7 million jobs.
And let’s talk about Obamacare for a moment, and how it is affecting jobs. The Chamber of Commerce surveyed 1,300 of its members. It found that three-quarters of them said they are less likely to hire people because of Obamacare.
Yes, I know that we need healthcare reform, but Obamacare is the wrong way to go about it. Obamacare will replace consumer choice with government choice, it will cause health insurance premiums to skyrocket, and it is already depressing job creation. I will repeal and replace Obamacare with reforms that increase choice, slow down the runaway growth of insurance costs, and open the door to more new jobs.
I am confident that if we do those five things: take advantage of our energy resources, fix our schools, open more trade, cut the deficit, and champion small business, our economy and our jobs will come roaring back. We can do better than this lackluster economy.
My confidence comes from the entrepreneurs I have met across the country. We’re in a room full of hardworking entrepreneurs right here. Martha de la Torre is here. In 1988, Martha co-founded El Clasificado, a Spanish-language weekly. Classified ads – now there’s a tough business. But Martha adapted with the times. She became an expert in search engine marketing. And she turned ElClasificado.com into an online powerhouse.
We’re joined by another successful entrepreneur, Dorene Dominguez. Dorene oversees one of the nation’s top construction management firms. She’s been collecting so many awards for leadership this year, we’re lucky she didn’t have a conflict on her calendar today.
I believe in entrepreneurs like Martha and Dorene. I believe the credit for their hard work goes to them, not to the government. And I sure don’t believe that the government should take more of what they earn away from them.
This is at the heart of the difference between President Obama’s vision and mine for the American economy: he wants government to tax more and regulate more because he believes government can do a better job than you can. I believe in you. I believe you can do a better job than government. I believe that you, and that your dreams and freedoms, will build a stronger future for all of us, and for our children. This belief in free people and free enterprises is the American heritage. This is why America has outperformed the world.
Finally, I want to say a word about immigration. Americans may disagree about how to fix our immigration system, but I think we can all agree that it is broken.
For years, Republicans and Democrats seem to have been more interested in playing politics with immigration than with actually fixing it. Candidate Obama said that one of his highest priorities would be to fix immigration in his first year in office. Despite his party having majorities in both houses of Congress, the President never even offered up a bill. Like so many issues confronting our nation, when it comes to immigration, politics has been put ahead of people for too long.
I will work with Republicans and Democrats to permanently fix our immigration system.
We will never achieve a legal immigration system that is fair and efficient if we do not first get control of our borders. I believe we can all agree that what we need are fair and enforceable immigration laws that will stem the flow of illegal immigration, while strengthening legal immigration.
I want to make the system far more simple and transparent — you shouldn’t have to hire lawyers to find out how to legally immigrate to the United States. I will shift our diversity visas to instead bring together immediate family members. I will structure our temporary worker visa program so that it meets the needs of our employers. And if someone gets an advanced degree, I want them to stay here, so I’d staple a green card to their diploma.
America is a nation of immigrants, and immigration is essential to our economic growth and prosperity. One million immigrants legally enter America every year–the largest number of any country in the world. I like that. I want to preserve our heritage of robust legal immigration. And I want to make sure that those who abide by the law and wait in line to immigrate here legally are not at a disadvantage.
That’s why I oppose amnesty, because amnesty will make it harder, not easier to strengthen our legal immigration system. It’s also why my administration will establish an employment verification system so that every business can know whether the people it hires are legally eligible for employment. If a business cheats, there will be strict penalties for that business.
In the midst of a difficult re-election, President Obama created what he calls a “stopgap measure” for children who were brought here illegally, through no fault of their own.
Instead of playing immigration politics with these children, I will pursue permanent immigration reform, and I will start by ensuring that those who serve in our military have the opportunity to become legal permanent residents of the country they fought to defend. Those who have risked their lives in defense of America have earned the right to make their life in America.
I’ve spoken often about how proud I am of my father. He was born to American parents living in Mexico. When he was five, they left everything behind, and started over in the United States.
My dad grew up poor. But he believed in a country where the circumstances of one’s birth were not a barrier to achievement – a place where hard work could turn dreams into realities. He went from selling paint out of the trunk of his car to becoming the leader of a great car company and the governor of a great state.
My wife Ann’s father was a first generation immigrant. He ended up founding a successful manufacturing company that made components and equipment for ships in the United States Navy.
Many of you in this room have similar stories. That is the American story. It is a story that is told over and over again. It is the story of the American Dream.
The American Dream is not gone; it has just been put a little further from reach. I know what it takes to bring it back, to have it inspire our children just as it inspired our fathers and mothers. They sacrificed so much, so that we might have it as part of our lives. Now it is our turn, our responsibility to restore the opportunity and prosperity and dreams that have invigorated this nation from its beginning. It’s a responsibility we must fulfill.
Thank you, and God Bless America.
Major General Vavala, thank you for your generous introduction. And thank you for your years of service as Chairman of the Board – and for your decades of service to our nation.
Ladies and gentlemen of the National Guard Association, it is an honor to be with you on this day of memorial and appreciation. We remember with heavy hearts the tragic loss of life, and we express thankfulness for the men and women who responded to that tragedy. We honor them, and we honor those who secure our safety even to this day.
We honor the men and women of the National Guard. For 375 years, whenever your countrymen have encountered threat and danger, you have willingly gone. Wherever the cause of freedom has called, you have answered. And as the threats to liberty have emanated from distant lands, you’ve served far from home and far from family. The nation has asked much more of you than had been expected, but you have never faltered, never wavered from the mission of your motto: “Always Ready, Always There.”
Two weeks ago, I saw the Guard in action in Louisiana after it was hit by Hurricane Isaac. For many of the people of the Gulf – who had just finished repairing their homes and getting life back to normal after Katrina – the damage from Isaac felt like too much to bear. As I toured the flooded streets, I was not surprised to find the Guard keeping order, distributing water and supplies, and caring for many of those they had evacuated and rescued.
Time and again, it has been the Guardsman’s hand that has lifted a child from rising waters, that has rescued a family from a hurricane’s fury, and that has fed and clothed a fellow American whose home and possessions have been lost to nature’s devastation. It is a Guardsman who took out Saddam Hussein’s tanks from his A-10, and who has fought to secure the villages of Afghanistan.
Our world is a dangerous place. And the attack on our homeland and citizens on September 11, 2001 reminds us that the mission of the Guard is ever more critical, and ever more deserving of our support and honor.
More than a decade has now passed since that day of tragedy. But the visions and events are seared in the memory of every American. We remember those who died. We marvel at the courage of those who stormed the cockpit when they became aware of the malevolent purpose of the hijackers. We hold up in prayer the families and friends who have lived in a shadow cast by grief. We draw strength from the selflessness of the first responders. And we renew our resolve to protect America from the designs of evil men.
Like you, I remember where I was on 9/11. I was originally planning to be in Battery Park, in New York – not far from the World Trade Center. But as it turned out, I was in Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress about preparations for the security of the upcoming Winter Olympic Games. A colleague and I were working in our office in the Ronald Reagan building – just a few blocks from the White House.
Someone rushed into our office and said that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I turned on the small TV on the desk and watched in shock as flames and smoke erupted from the North Tower.
I called my wife Ann. She too watched the tragedy from her TV and wondered how a plane could fly into a building in clear daylight. And then we saw the second plane crash into the second tower. These, then, were purposeful acts, these were terrorist acts, these were evil and cowardly and heinous acts.
Leaving the city, I drove toward Alexandria, Virginia. The highway I was on came within a few hundred yards of the Pentagon, which had been hit. Cars had stopped where they were, and people had gotten out, watching in horror. I could smell burning fuel and concrete and metal. It was the smell of war, something I never imagined I would smell in America.
In our own ways, we each were overwhelmed by the enormity of the loss of life. We struggled to comprehend the magnitude of what this meant for the families of those who had been killed, and for our own families, for our nation, and for the world. For some, there was also anger. But grief and anger soon turned to action – and among those taking the lead were members of the National Guard.
Members of the National Guard secured our airports and borders, and members of the Guard began to mobilize to deploy half a world away – where you would become all too familiar with the mountains of the Hindu Kush and the streets of Fallujah. Throughout the last eleven years, Guardsmen and women have helped keep us safe from attack.
I wish I could say the world is less dangerous now – that it is less chaotic. I wish I could predict with certainty the threats we will face in the years ahead. But on September 10, 2001, we had no idea that America would be at war in Afghanistan. In December of 2010, we had no idea that a Tunisian street vendor would inspire a revolution that would topple three dictators. We live in a time of turbulence and disruption. What I can say with certainty is that we need the National Guard’s vigilance and strength now as much as ever before.
With less than two months to go before Election Day, I would normally speak to a gathering like this about the differences between my and my opponent’s plans for our military and for our national security. There is a time and a place for that, but this day is not it.
It is instead a day to express gratitude to the men and women who have fought – and who are still fighting – to protect us and our country, including those who traced the trail of terror to that walled compound in Abbottabad and the SEALs who delivered justice to Osama bin Laden.
This is also a day in which all of us – in this convention hall, in this campaign, and in this country – can hopefully agree on important things.
This century must be an American Century. It began with terror, war, and economic calamity. It is now our duty to steer it onto the path of freedom, peace, and prosperity. America must lead the free world, and the free world must lead the entire world. In our dealings with other nations, we must demonstrate confidence in our cause, clarity in our purpose, and resolve in our might.
For this to be an American Century, we must have a military that is second to none. American military power is vital to the preservation of our own security and for the preservation of peace around the world. Time and again, America’s military might has been the best ally of liberty and peace: American forces rescued Europe, twice. American forces stood up to brutal dictators and freed millions living under tyranny. America’s military leads the fight against terrorism around the world – and secures the global commons to keep them safe for the trade and commerce that are vital to lifting people from poverty.
While the war in Iraq is over, nearly 70,000 American troops still remain in Afghanistan. Our goal should be to complete a successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014. We should evaluate conditions on the ground and solicit the best advice of our military commanders.
We can all agree that our men and women in the field deserve a clear mission, that they deserve the resources and resolute leadership they need to complete that mission, and that they deserve a country that will provide for their needs when they come home.
Of course, the return of our troops cannot and must not be used as an excuse to hollow out our military through devastating defense budget cuts. It is true that our armed forces have been stretched to the brink – and that is all the more reason to repair and rebuild. We can always find places to end waste. But we cannot cancel program after program, we cannot jeopardize critical missions, and we cannot cut corners in the quality of the equipment and training we provide.
We must recognize that when our troops come home, they should not have to struggle for work. After all our veterans have done for us, they deserve the opportunity to find good jobs and the dignity of pursuing the American Dream.
We must also keep the faith with our veterans, no matter when or where they have served, through a strong VA system. When the backlog for disability claims reaches nearly one million … when a federal building in Virginia becomes structurally unstable because so many claims have piled up on its highest floors … then we can all agree that the system is in need of serious and urgent reform.
Our veterans deserve care and benefits that are second to none. Here, there is considerable work waiting to be done. The backlog of disability claims needs to be eliminated, the unconscionable waits for mental health treatment need to be dramatically shortened, and the suicide rate among active-duty soldiers and veterans must be treated like the emergency it is.
Veterans’ benefits are not a gift that is given, but a debt that is due. The problems with the VA are serious and must be fixed. We are in danger of another generation of veterans losing their faith in the VA system – so we must ensure that the VA keeps faith with all our veterans. We must keep our promises and regain the trust of all who have worn the uniform and served.
When I was the Governor of Massachusetts, I saw firsthand the Guard’s bravery and valor.
In 2006, I visited Iraq and Afghanistan along with two other governors. We met with the members of the National Guard from our respective states. I said to them that if they wanted me to call their spouse or family when I returned, I would be happy to do so. Just hand me a note with their names and phone numbers. When I left for home, I found that I had 63 calls to make. I knew that making that many calls would take quite a few days.
I returned home on Memorial Day weekend. I decided to start making just a few of those calls first thing in the morning, before my kids and grandkids got up. After I’d made only two or three, a Guardsman’s wife answered and said, “Oh, Governor Romney, I thought that might be you calling.” Apparently, the first spouses I had called, had called other spouses, or had emailed their loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan who then emailed their spouses back home to tell them to expect my call. So I made 63 calls on Memorial Day.
Remember, May 2006 was a difficult time in the Iraq War. Many of you know that from experience. We were suffering terrible casualties, and terrorism was straining our efforts to stand up the Iraqi government. The “surge” had not yet begun and our politics back home had become deeply divided.
As I made those calls, I braced myself for questions about why the Guardsmen I had met couldn’t come home – right away. Yet in 63 calls, I did not hear a single complaint. Not one. On each call, I expressed gratitude on behalf of our nation and my state for the sacrifice of their family and of their loved one who was in harm’s way. And then, from virtually everyone I spoke with, they would correct me to say that it was an honor to be able to sacrifice for America and to serve the greatest nation on earth. Such is the patriotism of the men and women and the families of our National Guard!
Many of those calls left me with tears in my eyes. I will never forget meeting the brave men and women who had volunteered for the National Guard in Massachusetts, who found themselves on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan. I will never forget speaking with their loved ones. And I will always hold the greatest admiration for every one of them.
On the campaign trail, it has been my privilege to meet with troops and veterans from just about every state. They come from our farms, our great cities, our small towns and quiet neighborhoods. Many have known violence so that their neighbors could know peace. They have done more than protect America; their courage and service defines America.
On this eleventh anniversary of September 11th, we remember the victims who perished in the attacks. We also remember the men and women serving in dangerous places around the world. We will not forget why they are fighting or who they are fighting for. They are faithful to us and to our country; we must not break faith with them.
I want to personally thank you for keeping us safe. It is inspiring to be in the company of men and women of courage, as I am today. It is an honor to be among those whose sense of duty and love of country lift our hearts and spirits.
We are blessed to live in a country where freedom is so highly cherished, so fiercely protected, and so admirably defended by the noble men and women of the National Guard.
Thank you. Thank you all for your service. May God bless America and continue to keep her safe.
The following is a transcript of Mitt Romney’s speech, in which he accepts the GOP presidential nomination, at the Republican National Convention on Aug. 30, 2012.
Thank you. Mr. Chairman, and delegates, I accept your nomination for president of the United States.
I do so with humility, deeply moved by the trust you’ve placed in me. It’s a great honor. It’s an even greater responsibility. I ask you to walk together to a better future. By my side I have chosen a man with a big heart from a small town.
He represents the best of America. A man who will always make us very proud. My friend and America’s next vice-president, Paul Ryan.
In the days ahead, you will get to know Paul and Janna better. But, last night America got to see what I saw in Paul Ryan, a strong and caring leader who is down to earth and confidence in the challenge this moment demands. I love the way he lights up around his kids. And how he’s not embarrassed to show the world how much he loves his mom.
But Paul, I still like the playlist on my Ipod better than yours.
Four years ago, I know that many Americans felt a fresh excitement about the possibilities of a new president. That choice was not the choice of our party, but Americans always come together after elections. We’re a good and generous people, and we are united by so much more than what divides us.
When that election was over, when the yard signs came down and the television commercials finally came off the air, Americans were eager to go back to work, to live our lives the way Americans always have, optimistic and positive and confident in the future.
That very optimism is uniquely American. It’s what brought us to America. We’re a nation of immigrants, we’re the children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the ones who wanted a better life. The driven ones. The ones who woke up at night, hearing that voice telling them that life in a place called
America could be better.
They came, not just in pursuit of the riches of this world, but for the richness of this life. Freedom, freedom of religion, freedom to speak their mind, freedom to build a life and, yes, freedom to build a business with their own hands.
This is the essence of the American experience. We Americans have always felt a special kinship with the future. When every new wave of immigrants looked up and saw the Statue of Liberty, or knelt down and kissed the shores of freedom, just 90 miles from Castro’s tyranny, these new Americans sure had many questions, but none doubted that here in America they could build a better life. That in America, their children would be blessed more than they.
But, today, four years from the excitement of that last election, for the first time the majority of Americans now doubt that our children will have a better future. That is not what we were promised.
Every family in America wanted this to be a time when they could get a little ahead, put aside a little more for college, do more for the elderly mom that’s now living alone. Or give a little more to their church or their charity. Every small business wants to have this be their best year ever, when they could hire more, do more for those who had stuck with them through hard times. Open a new store, sponsor that little league team.
Every new college graduate thought they’d have a good job by now. A place for their own. They could start paying back some of their loans and build for the future. This is what our nation was supposed to start paying down the national debt, and rolling back massive deficits. This was the hope and change America voted for. It is not just what we wanted, it is not just what we expected, it is what Americans deserved.
You deserved it because you worked harder than ever before during these years. You deserved it because, when it cost more to fill up your car, you cut out moving lights, and put in longer hours. Or when you lost that job that paid $22.50 an hour, benefits, you took two jobs at $9 an hour
You deserve it because your family depended on you. And you did it because you are an American, and you don’t quit. You did it because that was because it was because you had to do. The driving home late from that second job, or standing there and watching the gas pump hit $50 and still going. When the realtor told you that to sell your house you’d have to take a big loss on your house. In those moments, you knew that this just was not right. But what could you do except work harder, do with less, try to stay optimistic, hug your kids a little longer, maybe spend more time praying tomorrow would be a better day.
I wish President Obama had succeeded, because I want America to succeed.
But his promises gave way to disappointment and division. This isn’t something we have to accept. Now is the moment when we can do something. And with your help, we will do something.
Now is the moment where we can stand up and say, “I am an American, I make my destiny, we deserve better, my children deserve better, my family deserves better, my country deserves better.”
So here we stand. Americans have a choice, a decision. To make that choice, you need to know more about me and where I’d lead at our country. I was born in the middle of the century, in the middle of the country, the classic baby boomer. It was a time when Americans were returning from war and eager to work. To be an American was to assume that all things were possible. When President Kennedy challenged Americans to go to the moon, the challenge was not whether we would get there, it was only when we’d get there.
The soles of Neil Armstrong’s on the moon made permanent impressions on our souls.
And I watched those steps together on her parents sofa. Like all American is, we went to bed at night knowing we lived in the greatest country in the history of the world.
God bless Neil Armstrong.
Tonight, that American flag is still there on the Moon. and I don’t doubt for a second that Neil Armstrong’s spirit is still with us. That unique blend of optimism, humility, and the utter confidence that, when the world needs someone to do that, you need an American.
My dad had been born in Mexico. And his family had to leave during the Mexican revolution. I grew up with stories of his family being fed by the U.S. government as war refugees.
My dad never made it through college, and he apprenticed as a laugh (ph) and plaster carpenter. He had big dreams. He convinced my mom, a beautiful young actress, to give up Hollywood to marry him. And moved to Detroit.
He led a great automobile company and became governor of the great state of Michigan.
We were — we were Mormons . And growing up in Michigan, that might have seemed unusual or out of place, but I do not remember it that way. My friends cared more about what sports teams we followed that what church went to.
My mom and dad gave their kids the greatest gift of all. The gift of unconditional love. They cared deeply about who we would be and much less about what we would do. Unconditional love is a gift that Ann and I have tried to to pass on to our sons and now to our children.
All the laws and legislation is in the world will never heal the world like the loving hearts and arms of loving mothers and fathers.
You know, if every child could go to sleep feeling araft (ph) in the love of their family and God’s love, this world would be a far more gentle place.
My mom and dad were married for 64 years . And if you wondered what their secret was, you could have asked the local florist.
Because every day, dad gave mom a Rose, which he put on the bedside table. That is how she found that the day my father died. She went looking for him because, that morning, there was no rose.
My mom and dad were two partners. A life lesson that shaped me by everyday example. When my mom ran for the Senate, my dad was there for her every step of the way. I can still see her as saying in her beautiful voice, “why should women have any less safe than men about the great decisions facing our nation? — great decisions facing our nation?”
Don’t you wish you could have been here at this convention and heard leaders like Governor Mary Fallin, Governor Nikki Haley, Governor Susana Martinez, Senator Kay Alieanos (ph), Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice?
As governor of Massachusetts, I — I chose a woman lieutenant governor, a woman chief of staff. Half of my cabinet and senior officials were women. And in business, and mentored and supported great women leaders who went on to run great companies.
I grew up in Detroit, in love with cars. And wanted to be a car guy like my dad. But, by the time I was out of school I realized that I had to go out on my own. That if I stayed around Michigan in the same business I’d never really now if I was getting a break because of my dad. I wanted to go someplace new and prove myself.
Those weren’t the easiest of days. Many long hours, and weekends working. Five young sons who seemed to have a need to reenact a different world war every night.
But if you ask Ann and I, what we’d give to break up just one more fight between the boys, or wake up in the morning and discover a pile of kids asleep in a room — well every mom and dad knows the answer to that. Those days were the…
… these were tough days on Ann, particularly. She was heroic through it all. Five boys with our families a long way away. I had to travel a lot for my job then, and I’d call and try to offer support. But every mom knows that that does not help did the homework done or get the kids out the door to school. I knew that her job as a mom was harder than mine. I knew without question that her job as a mom was a lot more
important than mine.
And as America saw Tuesday night, Ann would have succeed at anything she wanted to do.
Like a lot of families in a new place with no family, we found kinship with a wide circle of friends through our church. When we were new to the community, it was welcoming, and as the years went by, it was a joy to help others who had just moved into town or just joined our church.
We had remarkably vibrant endeavors congregations from all walks of life, and many who were new to America. We prayed together, our kids played together, and we always stood ready to help each other out in different ways. That’s how it is in America. We look to our communities, our faiths, our families, for our joy and support, in good times and bad. It’s both how we live our lives and why we live our lives. The strength and power and goodness of America has always been based on the strength and power and goodness of our communities, our families, and our faiths.
That’s the bedrock of what makes America America. In our best days, we can feel the vibrancy of America’s communities, large and small. It’s when we see that new business opening up downtown. It’s when we go to work in the morning and see everybody else in the block doing the same thing to read when our son or daughter calls from college to talk about which job offer they should take, and you try not to choke up when you hear that the one they like best is not too far from home.
It’s that good feeling when you have more time to volunteer to coach for you kids soccer team or help out on school trips. For too many Americans, those kind of good days are harder to come by. How many days have you woken up feeling that something really special was happening in America? Many of you thought the way on election day four years ago. Hope and change had a powerful appeal. But tonight I would ask a simple question: if you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack Obama, shouldn’t feel that way now, that he is President Obama?
You know there is something wrong with the kind of job he has done as president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him.
The president has not disappointed you because he wanted to. The president has disappointed America because he hasn’t lead America in the right direction. He took office without the basic qualification that most Americans have, and one that was essential to the task at hand. He had almost no experience working in a business. Jobs to him are about government.
I learned the real lessons from how America works from experience. When I was 37, I helped to start a small company. My partners and I had been working for a company that was in the business of helping other businesses. So some of us have the idea that, if we really believe our advice was helping companies, we should invest in companies. We should bet on ourselves and our advice. So we started a new business called Bain Capital. The only problem was, while we believed in ourselves, not many other people did. We were young and had never done this before, and We almost did not get off the ground. In those days, sometimes I wondered if I had made a really big mistake.
By the way, I thought about asking my church’s pension fund to invest, but I didn’t.
I figured it was bad enough that I might lose my investors’ money, but I did not want to go to hell, too.
Shows what I know. Another of my partners got the Episcopal church Pension Fund to invest. And today there are a lot of happy retired priests who should thank him.
That business we started with 10 people has now grown into a great American success story. Some of the companies we helped start are names you know you’ve have heard from tonight. An office company called Staples, where I’m pleased to see the Obama campaign has been shopping.
The Sports Authority, which of course became a favorite of my boys. We helped start an early childhood learning company called Bright Horizons that First Lady Michelle Obama rightly praised. And at a time when nobody thought we’d ever see a new steel mill built in America, we took a chance and build one in the cornfield in Indiana.
Today, Steel Dynamics is one of the largest steel producers in the United States. These are American success stories.
And yet the centerpiece of the president’s entire reelection campaign is attacking success. Is it any wonder that someone who attacks success has led the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression?
In America, we celebrate success. We don’t apologize for success.
Now we weren’t always successful at Bain, but no one ever is in the real world of business. That’s what this president does not seem to understand. Business and growing jobs is about taking risk, sometimes failing, sometimes succeeding, but always striving. It’s about dreams. Usually it doesn’t work out exactly as you might have imagined. Steve Jobs was fired at Apple, and then he came back and changed the world. It’s the genius of the American free enterprise system to harness the extraordinary creativity, and talent and industry of the American people with a system that’s dedicated to creating tomorrow’s prosperity, not trying to redistribute today’s.
That’s why every president since the Great Depression who came before the American people asking for a second term could look back at the last four years and say with satisfaction, “You’re are better off than you were four years ago.” Except Jimmy Carter. And except this president.
This president can ask us to be patient. This president can tell us it was someone else’s fault. This president can tell us that the next four years will get it right. But this president cannot tell us that you’re better off today than when he took office.
America has been patient. Americans have supported this president in good faith, but today the time has come the time to turn the page. Today the time has come for us to put the disappointments of the last four years behind us, to put aside the divisiveness and the recriminations, to forget about what might have been, and to look ahead to what can be. Now is the time to restore the promise of America.
Many Americans have given up on this president, but they haven’t ever thought of giving up, not on themselves, not on each other, and not on America. What is needed in our country is not complicated or profound. It doesn’t take a special government commission to tell us what America needs. What America needs is jobs, lots of jobs.
In the richest country in the history of the world, this Obama economy has crushed the middle class. Family income has fallen by $4,000 , but health insurance premiums are higher. Food prices are higher. Utility bills are higher, and gasoline prices, they’ve doubled. Today more Americans wake up in poverty than ever before. Nearly one out of six Americans is living in poverty. Look around you — these aren’t strangers. These are our brothers and sisters, our fellow Americans. His policies have not helped create jobs. They’ve depressed them, and this I can tell you about where President Obama would take America. His plan to put taxes on small businesses won’t not add jobs. It will eliminate them.
His assault on coal and gas and oil will send energy and manufacturing jobs to china.
His trillion dollar cuts to our military will eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs and also put our security at greater risk.
His $716 billion cut to Medicare to finance Obamacare will hurt today’s seniors and depress innovation in jobs and medicines. And his trillion dollar deficits, they slow our economy, restrain employment, and cause wages to stall. To the majority of Americans who now believe the future will not be better than the past, I can guarantee you this — if Barack Obama is reelected, you will be right.
I am running for president to help create a better future, a future where everyone who wants a job can find a job, where no senior fears for the security of their retirement, an America where every parent knows that their child will get an education that leads to a good job and a bright horizon, and unlike the president, I have a plan to create 12 million new jobs.
Paul Ryan and I have five steps. First, by 2020, North America will be an energy independent by taking invented of our oil, are coal, our gas, our nuclear, and renewables.
Second, we will give our fellow citizens the skills they need for the jobs of today and the careers of tomorrow. When it comes to the school your child will attend, every parent should have a choice, and every child should have a chance.
Third, we will make trade work for America by forging new trade agreements, and when nations cheat in trade, there will be unmistakable consequences.
And fourth, to assure every entrepreneur and every job creator that their investments in America will not vanish, as have those in Greece. We will cut the deficit and put America on track to a balanced budget.
And fifth, we will champion small businesses, America’s engine of job growth. That means reducing taxes on business, not raising them. It means simplifying and modernizing the regulations that hurt small businesses the most, and it means we must rein in skyrocketing cost of health care by repealing and replacing Obamacare. This will help many small businesses like Kingdom Ice’s Ice Vending Machines.
Today women are more likely than men to start of business. They need a president who respect and understand what they do. And let me make this clear. Unlike President Obama, I will not raise taxes on the middle class of America.
As president, I’ll respect the sanctity of life. I’ll honor the institution of marriage.
And I will guarantee America’s first liberty, the freedom of religion.
President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans.
And to heal the planet. My promises to help you and your family.
I will begin my presidency with the jobs tour. President Obama began his with an apology to our.
America he said had dictated to other nations. No, Mr. President America has feed other nations from dictators.
Every American was relieved the day President Obama I gave the order and SEAL Team 6 took out Osama Bin Laden.
On another front, every American is less secure today because he has failed to slow Iran’s nuclear threat. In his
first TV interview as president, he said we should talk to Iran. We are still talking, and Iran’s centrifuges are still spinning.
President Obama has thrown allies like Israel under the bus even as he has relaxed sanctions on Castor’s Cuba. He abandoned our friends in Poland by walking away from missile defense commitments
But he’s eager to give Russia’s president Putin the flexibility he desires after the election.
Under my presidency our friends will see more loyalty and Mr. Putin will see a little less flexibility and more backbone.
We will honor America’s Democratic ideals because a free world is a more peaceful world. This is the bipartisan foreign legacy of Truman and Reagan, and under presidency we will return to it once again.
You might have asked yourselves if these last years were really the America we want, the America that was won for us by the greatest generation. Does the America we want borrow a trillion dollars from China?
Does it fail to find the jobs that are needed for 23 million and for half the kids graduating from college?
Are those schools lagging behind the rest of the developed world?
And does America that we want succumb to resentment and division among Americans?
The America we all know has been a story of many becoming one. United to preserve liberty, uniting to build the greatest the economy in the world, uniting to save the world from unspeakable darkness.
Everywhere I go there are monuments and now for those who have given their lives for America. There is no mention of their race, their party affiliation, or what they did for a living.
They lived and died under a single flag, fighting for a single purpose. They’ve pledge allegiance to the United States of America. That America, that united America can unleash an economy that will put Americans back to work, that will once again lead the world with innovation and productivity, and will restore every father and mother’s confidence that their children’s future is brighter even than the past. That American, that united America will preserve a military that’s so strong no nation will ever dare to test it.
That America, that America, that united America will of uphold the consolation of rights that were endowed by our creator and codified in our Constitution.
That united America will care for the poor and sick, will honor and respect the elderly and will giving a helping hand to those in need. That America is the best within each of us. That America we want for our children.
If I am elected president of these United States I will work with all my energy and soul to restore that America, to lift our eyes to a better future. That future is our destiny. That future is out there. It is waiting for us. Our children deserve it. Our nation depends on it. The peace and freedom of the world require it. And with your help we will deliver it. Let us the begin that future for America tonight.
Thank you so very much. May God bless you! May god bless the American people, and may God bless the United States of
Thank you, Ohio. It’s good to be back in the Buckeye State. And it’s a privilege to be here with two good friends – your great governor, John Kasich and your outstanding senator, Rob Portman. Governor Kasich is doing a great job despite the head winds from Washington. As President, I can’t wait to work with Senator Portman to turn those Obama headwinds into pro-job policies that will help working families all across Ohio.
Tonight, we’re wrapping up our five-state bus tour to towns big and small. That trip reconfirmed to me just how important this election is – and why we need to change the direction of the country by changing the current occupant of the Oval Office.
We started out on the decks of a battleship in Norfolk, Virginia, where arbitrary and reckless defense cuts threaten our national security and 150,000 jobs. From there it was on to North Carolina, through towns that have lost thousands and thousands of manufacturing jobs. And yesterday we were in Florida, where families are still struggling with the Obama Economy.
The people I met on this tour – and the thousands of Americans I’ve visited in break rooms and lunch rooms, in school gymnasiums and on factory floors – are worried about their children, their jobs, their mortgages, and their future. And they are right to be worried.
All across the country, I’ve met people who are hurting. Some have lost their jobs; others work two jobs just to get by. Some have fallen out of the middle class and now they’re struggling to get back to where they started. The cost of living keeps going up, and they’re living paycheck to paycheck.
They are tired of being tired.
And tonight, I’d like to say to each of them: You have not been forgotten. We will not leave you behind. This is America. We are Americans. It doesn’t have to be this way!
Unemployment has been above 8 percent for 42 straight months. We will put Americans back to work!
Half of recent college graduates can’t find work or a job that matches their skills. We’ll get good jobs for our kids.
Nearly one out of six Americans are in poverty today. This is a disgrace we will end.
And President Obama has amassed five trillion dollars of debt – nearly as much debt held by the public as all other Presidents combined. We will end this moral failure.
After four years, it’s clear that President Obama’s policies aren’t fixing these problems, they’re making them worse. That is why Ohio will lead the way by electing a new President on November 6th.
For the first time, most Americans believe that our best days are behind us. This is an election in which we should be talking about the path ahead, but you don’t hear any answers coming from President Obama’s re-election campaign. That’s because he’s intellectually exhausted, out of ideas, and out of energy. And so his campaign has resorted to diversions and distractions, to demagoguing and defaming others. This is an old game in politics; what’s different this year is that the president is taking things to a new low.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
In 2008, Candidate Obama said, “if you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters.” He said, “if you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.” And that, he told us, is how, “You make a big election about small things.”
That was Candidate Obama describing the strategy that is the now the heart of his campaign.
His campaign and his surrogates have made wild and reckless accusations that disgrace the office of the Presidency. Another outrageous charge came a few hours ago in Virginia. And the White House sinks a little bit lower.
This is what an angry and desperate Presidency looks like.
President Obama knows better, promised better and America deserves better.
Over the last four years, this President has pushed Republicans and Democrats as far apart as they can go. And now he and his allies are pushing us all even further apart by dividing us into groups. He demonizes some. He panders to others. His campaign strategy is to smash America apart and then cobble together 51 percent of the pieces.
If an American president wins that way, we all lose.
But he won’t win that way. America is one Nation under God. American history has been a story of the many becoming one – uniting to preserve liberty, uniting to build the greatest economy in the world, uniting to save the world from unspeakable darkness. Everywhere I go in America there are monuments that list those who have given their lives. There is no mention of their race, their party affiliation or what they did for a living. They lived and died under a single flag fighting for a single purpose. They pledged allegiance to the United States of America. So, Mr. President, take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago and let us get about rebuilding and reuniting America.
This election is about restoring the promise of America. It’s a choice between two visions for our nation’s future. It’s about the challenges America faces. It is about a better tomorrow and a better future.
We don’t need more excuses. We don’t need more blame. We don’t need more small-minded attacks.
What we really need is a new president.
Voters deserve an honest debate. And that’s what Paul Ryan and I will give them.
Paul and I have a positive agenda that will lead to economic growth, to widespread and shared prosperity that will improve the lives of our fellow citizens. Our Plan For A Stronger Middle Class will get America back to work and get our country back on track.
We are offering solutions that are bold, specific, and achievable. We’re committed to helping create 12 million new jobs and to bring better take-home pay to middle class families.
My plan focuses on five things.
First, energy independence. We will achieve North America energy independence by 2020, by taking full advantage of our oil, our gas, our coal, our renewables and our nuclear power. Abundant, inexpensive, domestic energy will not only create energy jobs, it will bring back manufacturing jobs.
Second, we must give our workers and our children the skills they need to succeed. Our nation cannot continue to fail in public education. For too long, we have let the agenda of union bosses steer the agenda of our schools. It is time to put our kids and their parents and their teachers first, and the union bosses behind.
Third, trade must work for America. We are one of the world’s most productive nations. Trade creates jobs and raises take-home pay for American workers. We must open more doors for trade in Latin America, where there is a growing middle class. But when any nation cheats, as China has cheated, we must make sure that there are clear and compelling consequences.
Fourth, we will do what politicians in both parties have been promising for years, but have failed to do. We will cut spending, shrink deficits, and put America on track to a balanced budget.
Fifth, we will champion small business. Unlike President Obama, I won’t raise taxes on small business. I’ll make sure regulators protect the public, but that they stop killing our jobs. I will remove the crippling uncertainty that is preventing businesses from hiring.
That begins by repealing Obamacare. It’s bad for jobs and it’s bad for seniors. If the President is re-elected, he will succeed in raiding $716 billion from Medicare — from the trust fund you have paid into all your lives – to pay for Obamacare. He is taking your money to finance his risky and unproven takeover of the health-care system. He is putting Medicare at greater risk. He is putting health care at greater risk. He is putting your jobs at greater risk. We must not let Obamacare happen.
If we focus on these five areas – energy, education, trade, deficits, and championing small business – America’s economy will come roaring back to life. And we will finally see a comeback for America’s middle class.
My plan is based on proven principles that will produce real results. I spent 25 years in business, and I know what it takes for the private sector to create jobs. I know why jobs go away, what it takes to bring them back, and what we must do to make America the best place in the world for entrepreneurs and innovators and job creators. My five-point plan will bring more jobs and more take-home pay for middle-class Americans.
People ask me why I think the President’s policies have been such a disappointment. I just don’t think President Obama understands what it is that drives our economy.
America runs on freedom. Free men and women, pursuing their dreams, working hard to build a better future for their families. This is what propels our economy. When an American succeeds, when she wins a promotion, when he creates a business, it is that individual, that American that has earned it, that has built it. Government does not build our businesses, the American people do.
The American people also build the government. We pay for it with our taxes. We choose who will lead us with our votes.
Do you want a president who believes that your rights come from God, not from government?
Do you want a president who honors your right to pursue happiness, not as government commands, but as you choose?
Do you want a president who will work every day to bring us together, not tear us apart?
Do you want a president who will celebrate success, not attack it?
Do you want a president who will never, ever apologize for the greatest nation on earth?
With your support, I will be that President.
We are 84 days away from the start of the better future we deserve.
We need new leadership, and new ideas, and a new approach – because four years of failure is enough.
Paul Ryan and I believe in America – and in this election, we’re offering Americans a clear and honest choice. Every single day we’re going to do our part. And we need you to do yours.
I commit to you that I will be the President that this moment demands. I will work to strengthen our families, to rebuild our economy and to keep our military second to none in the world.
I ask you to commit like never before over the next 84 days. This election can come down to just one more vote. I ask you find that vote. Ask one more person to join our campaign. Ask one more person to join us who supported President Obama four years ago and didn’t get the change they deserved. One more vote can make the difference in Ohio. And Ohio will make the difference for America.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.
Mitt Romney today delivered the following remarks in Norfolk, Virginia after he selected Paul Ryan to be his Vice Presidential running mate:
Ladies and gentlemen:
It’s great to be back in Virginia and here in Norfolk. Your city’s beauty is only matched by its proud heritage as a defender of freedom. Today we take another step forward in helping restore the promise of America. As we move forward in this campaign and on to help lead the nation to better days, it is an honor to announce my running mate and the next Vice President of the United States: Paul Ryan.
Paul Ryan is a leader.
His leadership begins with character and values. And Paul is a man of tremendous character, shaped in large part by his early life.
Paul’s father died when he was in high school. That forced him to grow up earlier than any young man should. But Paul did, with the help of his devoted mother, his brothers and sister, and a supportive community. And as he did, he internalized the virtues and hard-working ethic of the Midwest.
Paul Ryan works in Washington – but his beliefs remain firmly rooted in Janesville, Wisconsin. He is a person of great steadiness, whose integrity is unquestioned and whose word is good.
Paul’s upbringing is obvious in how he has conducted himself throughout his life, including his leadership in Washington.
In a city that is far too often characterized by pettiness and personal attacks, Paul Ryan is a shining exception. He does not demonize his opponents. He understands that honorable people can have honest differences. And he appeals to the better angels of our nature. There are a lot of people in the other party who might disagree with Paul Ryan; I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t respect his character and judgment.
Paul is in public life for all the right reasons – not to advance his personal ambitions but to advance the ideals of freedom and justice; and to increase opportunity and prosperity to people of every class and faith, every age and ethnic background. A faithful Catholic, Paul believes in the worth and dignity of every human life.
With energy and vision, Paul Ryan has become an intellectual leader of the Republican Party. He understands the fiscal challenges facing America: our exploding deficits and crushing debt – and the fiscal catastrophe that awaits us if we don’t change course.
Paul Ryan combines a profound sense of responsibility for what we owe the next generation with an unbounded optimism in America’s future and an understanding of all the wonderful things the American people can do.
Paul also combines firm principles with a practical concern for getting things done. He has never been content to simply curse the darkness; he would rather light candles. And throughout his legislative career he’s shown the ability to work with members of both parties to find common ground on some of the hardest issues confronting the American people.
Paul and I are beginning on a journey that will take us to every corner of America. We are offering a positive, governing agenda that will lead to economic growth, to widespread and shared prosperity, and that will improve the lives of our fellow citizens. Our Plan to Strengthen The Middle Class will get America back to work and get our country back on track.
We offer solutions that are bold, specific, and achievable. We offer our commitment to help create 12 million new jobs and to bring better take home pay to middle class families.
To strengthen the middle class, we will provide our workers and our children with the skills to succeed. We’ll cut the deficit, have trade that works for America, and champion small business. And finally, we will unleash our energy resources to achieve North American energy independence.
We will help care for those who cannot care for themselves, and we will return work to welfare. As poverty has risen to historic and tragic levels, with nearly one out of six Americans now having fallen into poverty, we will act to bring these families into the middle class. Unlike the current president who has cut Medicare funding by $700 billion, we will preserve and protect Medicare and Social Security. Under the current president, healthcare has only become more expensive. We will reform healthcare so that more Americans have access to affordable healthcare, and we will get that started by repealing and replacing Obamacare.
And at a time when the President’s campaign is taking American politics to new lows, we are going to do things differently. We are going to talk about aspirations and American ideals; about bringing people together to solve the urgent problems facing our nation. And when that message wins in America, it will be a victory for every American.
Today is a good day for America. And there are better days ahead. Join me in welcoming the next Vice President of the United States – Paul Ryan.
Congressman Paul Ryan today delivered the following remarks in Norfolk, Virginia after Mitt Romney selected him to be his Vice Presidential running mate:
Thank you Governor Romney, Ann. I am deeply honored and excited to join you as your running mate.
Mitt Romney is a leader with the skills, the background and the character that our country needs at a crucial time in its history. Following four years of failed leadership, the hopes of our country, which have inspired the world, are growing dim; and they need someone to revive them. Governor Romney is the man for this moment; and he and I share one commitment: we will restore the dreams and greatness of this country.
I want you to meet my family. My wife Janna, our daughter Liza, and our sons, Charlie and Sam.
I am surrounded by the people I love, and I have been asked by Governor Romney to serve the country I love.
Janesville, Wisconsin is where I was born and raised, and I never really left it. It’s our home now.
For the last 14 years, I have proudly represented Wisconsin in Congress. There, I have focused on solving the problems that confront our country, and turning ideas into action; and action into solutions.
I am committed, in heart and mind, to putting that experience to work in a Romney Administration. This is a crucial moment in the life of our nation; and it is absolutely vital that we select the right man to lead America back to prosperity and greatness.
That man is standing next to me. His name is Mitt Romney. And he will be the next president of the United States
My dad died when I was young. He was a good and decent man. I still remember a couple of things he would say that have really stuck with me. “Son you are either part of the problem or part of the solution.”
Regrettably, President Obama has become part of the problem,…and Mitt Romney is the solution.
The other thing my dad would say is that every generation of Americans leaves their children better off. That’s the American legacy.
Sadly, for the first time in our history, we are on a path which will undo that legacy. That is why we need new leadership to become part of the solution – new leadership to restore prosperity, economic growth, and jobs.
It is our duty to save the American Dream for our children, and theirs.
And I believe there is no person in America who is better prepared – because of his experience; because of the principles he holds; and because of his achievements and excellence in so many different arenas – to lead America at this point in its history.
Let me say a word about the man Mitt Romney will replace. No one disputes President Obama inherited a difficult situation. And, in his first 2 years, with his party in complete control of Washington, he passed nearly every item on his agenda. But that didn’t make things better.
In fact, we find ourselves in a nation facing debt, doubt and despair.
This is the worst economic recovery in 70 years. Unemployment has been above 8 percent for more than three years, the longest run since the Great Depression. Families are hurting.
We have the largest deficits and the biggest federal government since WWII.
Nearly 1 out of 6 Americans are in poverty–the worst rate in a generation. Moms and dads are struggling to make ends meet.
Household incomes have dropped by more than $4,000 over the past four years.
Whatever the explanations, whatever the excuses, this is a record of failure.
President Obama, and too many like him in Washington, have refused to make difficult decisions because they are more worried about their next election than they are about the next generation. We might have been able to get away with that before, but not now. We’re in a different, and dangerous, moment. We’re running out of time — and we can’t afford 4 more years of this.
Politicians from both parties have made empty promises which will soon become broken promises–with painful consequences–if we fail to act now.
I represent a part of America that includes inner cities, rural areas, suburbs and factory towns. Over the years I have seen and heard from a lot from families, from those running small businesses, and from people who are in need. But what I have heard lately troubles me the most. There is something different in their voice and in their words. What I hear from them are diminished dreams, lowered expectations, uncertain futures.
I hear some people say that this is just “the new normal.” High unemployment, declining incomes and crushing debt is not a new normal. It’s the result of misguided policies. And next January, our economy will begin a comeback with the Romney Plan for a Stronger Middle Class that will lead to more jobs and more take home pay for working Americans.
America is on the wrong track; but Mitt Romney and I will take the right steps, in the right time, to get us back on the right track!
I believe my record of getting things done in Congress will be a very helpful complement to Governor Romney’s executive and private sector success outside Washington. I have worked closely with Republicans as well as Democrats to advance an agenda of economic growth, fiscal discipline, and job creation.
I’m proud to stand with a man who understands what it takes to foster job creation in our economy, someone who knows from experience, that if you have a small business—you did build that.
At Bain Capital, he launched new businesses and he turned around failing ones – companies like Staples, Bright Horizons and Sports Authority, just to name a few. Mitt Romney created jobs and showed he knows how a free economy works.
At the Olympics, he took a failing enterprise and made it the pride of our entire nation.
As governor of Massachusetts, he worked with Democrats and Republicans to balance budgets with no tax increases, lower unemployment, increase income and improve people’s lives.
In all of these things, Mitt Romney has shown himself to be a man of achievement, excellence and integrity.
Janna and I tell Liza, Charlie and Sam that America is a place where, if you work hard and play by the rules, you can get ahead.
We Americans look at one another’s success with pride, not resentment, because we know, as more Americans work hard, take risks, and succeed, more people will prosper, our communities will benefit, and individual lives will be improved and uplifted.
But America is more than just a place…it’s an idea. It’s the only country founded on an idea. Our rights come from nature and God, not government. We promise equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.
This idea is founded on the principles of liberty, freedom, free enterprise, self-determination and government by consent of the governed.
This idea is under assault. So, we have a critical decision to make as a nation.
We are on an unsustainable path that is robbing America of our freedom and security. It doesn’t have to be this way.
The commitment Mitt Romney and I make to you is this:
We won’t duck the tough issues…we will lead!
We won’t blame others…we will take responsibility!
We won’t replace our founding principles…we will reapply them!
We will honor you, our fellow citizens, by giving you the right and opportunity to make the choice:
What kind of country do we want to have?
What kind of people do we want to be?
We can turn this thing around. Real solutions can be delivered. But, it will take leadership. And the courage to tell you the truth.
Mitt Romney is this kind of leader. I’m excited for what lies ahead and I’m thrilled to be a part of America’s Comeback Team. And together, we will unite America and get this done.
Thank you for that kind introduction, Mayor Barkat, and thank you all for that warm welcome. It’s a pleasure and a privilege to be in Israel again.
To step foot into Israel is to step foot into a nation that began with an ancient promise made in this land. The Jewish people persisted through one of the most monstrous crimes in human history, and now this nation has come to take its place among the most impressive democracies on earth. Israel’s achievements are a wonder of the modern world.
These achievements are a tribute to the resilience of the Israeli people. You have managed, against all odds, time and again throughout your history, to persevere, to rise up, and to emerge stronger.
The historian Paul Johnson, writing on the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Jewish state, said that over the course of Israel’s life, 100 completely new independent states had come into existence. “Israel is the only one whose creation can fairly be called a miracle,” Johnson wrote.
It is a deeply moving experience to be in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.
Our two nations are separated by more than 5,000 miles. But for an American abroad, you can’t get much closer to the ideals and convictions of my own country than you do in Israel. We’re part of the great fellowship of democracies. We speak the same language of freedom and justice, and the right of every person to live in peace. We serve the same cause and provoke the same hatreds in the same enemies of civilization.
It is my firm conviction that the security of Israel is in the vital national security interest of the United States. And ours is an alliance based not only on shared interests but also on enduring shared values.
In those shared values, one of the strongest voices is that of your prime minister, my friend Benjamin Netanyahu. I met with him earlier this morning and I look forward to my family joining his this evening as they observe the close of this fast day of Tisha B’Av.
It’s remarkable to consider how much adversity, over so great a span of time, is recalled by just one day on the calendar. This is a day of remembrance and mourning, but like other such occasions, it also calls forth clarity and resolve.
At this time, we also remember the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches who were massacred at the Munich Olympics forty years ago. Ten years ago this week, 9 Israeli and American students were murdered in the terrorist attack at Hebrew University. And tragedies like these are not reserved to the past. They are a constant reminder of the reality of hate, and the will with which it is executed upon the innocent.
It was Menachem Begin who said this about the Ninth of the month of Av: “We remember that day,” he said, “and now have the responsibility to make sure that never again will our independence be destroyed and never again will the Jew become homeless or defenseless.” “This,” Prime Minister Begin added, “is the crux of the problems facing us in the future.”
So it is today, as Israel faces enemies who deny past crimes against the Jewish people and seek to commit new ones.
When Iran’s leaders deny the Holocaust or speak of wiping this nation off the map, only the naïve – or worse – will dismiss it as an excess of rhetoric. Make no mistake: the ayatollahs in Tehran are testing our moral defenses. They want to know who will object, and who will look the other way.
My message to the people of Israel and the leaders of Iran is one and the same: I will not look away; and neither will my country. As Prime Minister Begin put it, in vivid and haunting words, “if an enemy of [the Jewish] people says he seeks to destroy us, believe him.”
We have seen the horrors of history. We will not stand by. We will not watch them play out again.
It would be foolish not to take Iran’s leaders at their word. They are, after all, the product of a radical theocracy.
Over the years Iran has amassed a bloody and brutal record. It has seized embassies, targeted diplomats, and killed its own people. It supports the ruthless Assad regime in Syria. They have provided weapons that have killed American soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. It has plotted to assassinate diplomats on American soil. It is Iran that is the leading state sponsor of terrorism and the most destabilizing nation in the world.
We have a solemn duty and a moral imperative to deny Iran’s leaders the means to follow through on their malevolent intentions.
We should stand with all who would join our effort to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran – and that includes Iranian dissidents. Do not erase from your memory the scenes from three years ago, when that regime brought death to its own people as they rose up. The threat we face does not come from the Iranian people, but from the regime that oppresses them.
Five years ago, at the Herzliya Conference, I stated my view that Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons capability presents an intolerable threat to Israel, to America, and to the world.
That threat has only become worse.
Now as then, the regime’s claims that it seeks to enrich nuclear material for peaceful purposes are belied by years of malign deceptions.
Now as then, the conduct of Iran’s leaders gives us no reason to trust them with nuclear material.
But today, the regime in Iran is five years closer to developing nuclear weapons capability. Preventing that outcome must be our highest national security priority.
I want to pause on this last point. It is sometimes said that those who are the most committed to stopping the Iranian regime from securing nuclear weapons are reckless and provocative and inviting war.
The opposite is true. We are the true peacemakers. History teaches with force and clarity that when the world’s most despotic regimes secure the world’s most destructive weapons, peace often gives way to oppression, to violence, or to devastating war.
We must not delude ourselves into thinking that containment is an option. We must lead the effort to prevent Iran from building and possessing nuclear weapons capability. We should employ any and all measures to dissuade the Iranian regime from its nuclear course, and it is our fervent hope that diplomatic and economic measures will do so. In the final analysis, of course, no option should be excluded. We recognize Israel’s right to defend itself, and that it is right for America to stand with you.
These are some of the principles I first outlined five years ago. What was timely then has become urgent today.
Let me turn from Iran to other nations in the Middle East, where we have seen rising tumult and chaos. To the north, Syria is on the brink of a civil war. The dictator in Damascus, no friend to Israel and no friend to America, slaughters his own people as he desperately clings to power.
Your other neighbor to the north, Lebanon, is under the growing and dangerous influence of Hezbollah.
After a year of upheaval and unrest, Egypt now has an Islamist President, chosen in a democratic election. Hopefully, this new government understands that one true measure of democracy is how those elected by the majority respect the rights of those in the minority. The international community must use its considerable influence to ensure that the new government honors the peace agreement with Israel that was signed by the government of Anwar Sadat.
As you know only too well, since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, thousands of rockets have rained on Israeli homes and cities. I have walked on the streets of Sderot, and honor the resolve of its people. And now, new attacks have been launched from the Sinai Peninsula.
With Hezbollah rockets aimed at Israel from the north, and Hamas rockets aimed from the south, with much of the Middle East in tumult, and with Iran bent on nuclear arms, America’s vocal and demonstrated commitment to the defense of Israel is even more critical. Whenever the security of Israel is most in doubt, America’s commitment to Israel must be most secure.
When the decision was before him in 1948, President Harry Truman decided without hesitation that the United States would be the first country to recognize the State of Israel. From that moment to this, we have been the most natural of allies, but our alliance runs deeper than the designs of strategy or the weighing of interests.
The story of how America – a nation still so new to the world by the standards of this ancient region – rose up to become the dear friend of the people of Israel is among the finest and most hopeful in our nation’s history.
Different as our paths have been, we see the same qualities in one another. Israel and America are in many respects reflections of one another.
We both believe in democracy, in the right of every people to select their leaders and choose their nation’s course.
We both believe in the rule of law, knowing that in its absence, willful men may incline to oppress the weak.
We both believe that our rights are universal, granted not by government but by our Creator.
We both believe in free enterprise, because it is the only economic system that has lifted people from poverty, created a large and enduring middle class, and inaugurated incomparable achievements and human flourishing.
As someone who has spent most of his life in business, I am particularly impressed with Israel’s cutting edge technologies and thriving economy. We recognize yours as the “start-up nation” – and the evidence is all around us.
You have embraced economic liberty. You export technology, not tyranny or terrorism. And today, your innovators and entrepreneurs have made the desert bloom and have made for a better world. The citizens of our countries are fortunate to share in the rewards of economic freedom and in the creativity of our entrepreneurs. What you have built here, with your own hands, is a tribute to your people, and a model for others.
Finally, we both believe in freedom of expression, because we are confident in our ideas and in the ability of men and women to think for themselves. We do not fear open debate. If you want to hear some very sharp criticisms of Israel and its policies, you don’t have to cross any borders. All you have to do is walk down the street and into a café, where you’ll hear people reasoning, arguing, and speaking their mind. Or pick up an Israeli newspaper – you’ll find some of the toughest criticism of Israel you’ll read anywhere. Your nation, like ours, is stronger for this energetic exchange of ideas and opinions.
That is the way it is in a free society. There are many millions of people in the Middle East who would cherish the opportunity to do the same. These decent men and women desire nothing more than to live in peace and freedom and to have the opportunity to not only choose their government but to criticize it openly, without fear of repression or repercussion.
I believe that those who oppose these fundamental rights are on the wrong side of history. But history’s march can be ponderous and painfully slow. We have a duty to speed and shape history by being unapologetic ambassadors for the values we share.
The United States and Israel have shown that we can build strong economies and strong militaries. But we must also build strong arguments that advance our values and promote peace. We must work together to change hearts and awaken minds through the power of freedom, free enterprise and human rights.
I believe that the enduring alliance between the State of Israel and the United States of America is more than a strategic alliance: it is a force for good in the world. America’s support of Israel should make every American proud. We should not allow the inevitable complexities of modern geopolitics to obscure fundamental touchstones. No country or organization or individual should ever doubt this basic truth: A free and strong America will always stand with a free and strong Israel.
And standing by Israel does not mean with military and intelligence cooperation alone.
We cannot stand silent as those who seek to undermine Israel, voice their criticisms. And we certainly should not join in that criticism. Diplomatic distance in public between our nations emboldens Israel’s adversaries.
By history and by conviction, our two countries are bound together. No individual, no nation, no world organization, will pry us apart. And as long as we stay together and stand together, there is no threat we cannot overcome and very little that we cannot achieve.
Thank you all. May God bless America, and may He bless and protect the Nation of Israel.