Former Gov. Mitt Romney
March 30, 2012
222 days, something pretty extraordinary is going to happen in the
country. We’ll have an election. Across this country, millions and
millions of Americans will be able to do something that is really quite
amazing: They will choose not only a President, but an entire House of
Representatives and a third of the US Senate.
entire world will be watching us. And by around midnight on November
6th, maybe a little earlier or a little later, we’ll know the results
of millions of Americans exercising their right to vote and in doing
so, making a choice so profound that it is very difficult for any of us
one can predict the crisis the next President will confront nor what
the world will look like at the end of the next President’s term. In a
world in which the economies of Athens, Wisconsin and Athens, Greece
are connected, every decision becomes infinitely more complex.
I believe Americans face a fundamental choice in this election, a
decision that is much more important than the candidates or the
political parties. We should understand that we are selecting not just
who should guide us but a choice between two distinct paths and
destinies for our nation.
the days and months ahead, we should ask ourselves some very
fundamental questions about who we are as a nation and who we are
becoming. What does it mean to be an American in 2012? What will it
mean in 2016 and beyond? Are we keeping faith with the great legacy –
and trust – that has been handed to us by previous generations? And
what America will we leave the next generation?
campaign will produce a deafening cacophony of charges and counter
charges and by November 6th, most Americans will probably be afraid to
turn on their TV. So now, in this quiet before the storm, let’s start
with some basic facts about which there can be no debate.
Since Barack Obama became President, over 800,000 Americans have lost
of Americans spent longer looking for a job than ever before. Long-term
unemployment is the worst since the Great Depression.
46 million Americans are now living in poverty, more than ever before
in our nation’s history. In households with single moms, over 30% are
living in poverty.
Forty-six and a half million Americans are now on food stamps, another
2.8 million homes have been foreclosed on.
New business startups are at the lowest level in 30 years.
Over 2,000 Chrysler and GM dealerships have closed and 22 automobile
manufacturing plants have been shuttered or idled.
yearly budget deficits are soaring and our national debt now stands at
an all-time high. Barack Obama presided over the first trillion-dollar
deficit in American history. And he has repeated this dreadful
distinction for each year he has been in office.
the first time since World War II, our national debt is greater than
the size of our entire economy. Each American’s share of the national
debt stands at $50,000.
Obama did not cause the recession, but he most certainly failed to lead
the recovery. His stimulus protected the government, not the people. It
was promised to hold unemployment below eight percent. It did not.
Barack Obama’s stimulus was as ineffective as it was expensive.
Obamacare didn’t help create jobs either. It discouraged small
businesses and health companies from hiring new workers. And Dodd-Frank
hurt the community banks that provide loans to small businesses.
the “Too Big To Fail” banks are even bigger today.
failed to deliver on jobs, but on his goal to raise energy prices, he
sure came through. All in all, President Obama prolonged the
and slowed the recovery. His economic strategy is a bust.
troubling facts are President’s Obama’s legacy and now our shared
history. As much as we would like to, we can’t undo what has happened
these past years. The families who have lost their homes, the factories
that have closed, the students who had to drop out of college and those
who never could make it in the door, all those missed chances and lost
opportunities can’t be regained.
that’s why it is important to understand one astonishing fact about
this election: President Obama thinks he’s doing a good job. No, I’m
not kidding. He actually thinks he’s doing a great job. An historically
great job. According to the President, only Lincoln, FDR and Lyndon
Johnson have accomplished more. And no, he didn’t say that on Saturday
can this be? Is it that the President is just so disconnected from what
is happening across America that he doesn’t grasp the real consequences
of his failures?
answer is easy. The answer is yes. Of course. This is a President who
was elected not on the strength of a compelling record but a compelling
personality and story. There was much about the campaign of Barack
Obama that appealed to many Americans. And though the reality has
failed the hope and change he promised, he remains surrounded by true
believers who attack anyone who challenges their power. And, as
each day, they will fight even more fiercely to hold on to that power.
of this is to be expected. That power loves power and never lets go
easily is hardly new. And that a White House has lost touch, well, I
think we’ve seen that once or twice before.
we should also remember that candidate Barack Obama pledged that he
wanted to “transform this nation.” And, unfortunately, that is exactly
what he has been doing. And that is one more reason why this
is so critical.
The choice before us could not be more profound. Barack Obama and
I have fundamentally different visions for America.
has spent the last four years laying the foundation for a new
Government-Centered Society. I will spend the next four years
rebuilding the foundation of our Opportunity Society, led by free
people and free enterprises.
Our different visions for America are the product of our values and our
Obama once said that his work as a community organizer motivated him to
help “communities that had been ravaged by plant closings.” His
to help others could not be more admirable but it’s clear that he saw
free enterprise as the villain and not the solution.
only real solution to help those communities devastated by lost jobs is
more jobs. Barack Obama seems never to have understood the basic point
that a plant closes when a business loses money.
when this President attacks businesses for making money, and when his
policies make it more difficult for businesses to make money, he is
also attacking the very communities he wanted to help. That’s how it
works in America. Or at least that’s how it works when America is
under Barack Obama, America hasn’t been working. The ironic tragedy is
that the community organizer who wanted to help those hurt by a plant
closing became the President on whose watch more jobs were lost than
any time since the Great Depression.
of doing everything possible to promote the power of the free
enterprise system to create jobs and get us out of this economic
crisis, Barack Obama has promoted the power of government. The results
have been predictably dismal, but he has “transformed” us, as he likes
to say, closer to his vision of a Government-Centered Society.
Barack Obama’s Government-Centered Society, the government must do more
because the economy is doomed to do less. When you attack business and
vilify success, you will have less business and less success. And then,
of course the debate becomes about how much to extend unemployment
insurance because you have guaranteed there will be millions more
Barack Obama’s Government-Centered Society, government naturally
allocates the rewards. Tax breaks are bestowed not to make us more
productive or to grow a stronger economy but to reshape the society
into what is currently fashionable and politically correct. Because
business is inherently suspect, government regulators who know better
must oversee and direct business decision-making.
Barack Obama’s Government-Centered Society, tax increases become not
only a necessity but also a desired tool for social justice. In that
world of shrinking means, there’s a finite amount of money, and as
someone once famously said, you need taxes to spread the wealth around.
Barack Obama’s Government-Centered Society, government spending will
always increase because there’s no reason to stop it. There’s always
someone who is entitled to something more, and who will vote for anyone
who will give them something more.
a Government-Centered Society, government dispenses the benefits,
borrows what it can’t take, and consumes a greater and greater share of
government at all levels consumes 38 percent of the total economy or
G.D.P. If Obamacare is allowed to stand, government will directly
control almost half of the American economy. And through the
increasing controls government has imposed on industries like energy
and financial services, and automobiles, it will indirectly or directly
control well over half of our total economy.
must ask whether we will still be a free enterprise nation and whether
we will still have economic freedom. America is on the cusp of having a
government-run economy. President Obama is transforming America into
something very different than the land of the free and the land of
know where that transformation leads. There are other nations that have
chosen that path. It leads to chronic high unemployment, crushing debt,
and stagnant wages. Sound familiar?
don’t want to transform America; I want to restore the values of
economic freedom, opportunity, and small government that have made this
nation the leader it is.
and opportunity have made America the most powerful economy in the
world. They are the foundation of a nation with full employment, rising
wages, and fiscal stability. The best thing we can do for the economic
well-being of the people of America is not to grow government, it is to
restore freedom and opportunity. It is opportunity that has always
driven America and defined us as Americans.
grandfather was in the construction business and he never really made
it himself. But he helped convince my dad that he could
anything he set his mind to. My dad didn’t have the chance to finish
college and he apprenticed as a lath and plaster carpenter. Based on
that excellent training, he went on to turn around a great car company
and later became governor of Michigan.
father made the most of opportunities that came before him, and by the
time I came along – I was the fourth of four brothers and sisters – I
had the chance to get the education my dad couldn’t.
loved cars and was tempted to stay in Michigan and go into the car
business but I knew I would always wonder if any success I had was due
to my father. So when I got out of business school, I stayed in
Massachusetts and got an entry-level job with the best company that
would hire me. More importantly, I was married and on the way to having
the next 25 years, my business career had many ups and downs, great
successes, definite failures, but each step of the way I learned more
about the transforming power of our great free enterprise system.
not naïve enough to believe that free enterprise is the solution
of our problems – nor am I naïve enough to doubt that it is one of
greatest forces of good this world has ever known.
enterprise has done more to lift people out of poverty, to help build a
strong middle class, to help educate our kids, to make our lives
better, than all of the government programs put together.
If we become one of those societies that attacks success, one outcome
is certain – there will be a lot less success.
not who we are. The promise of America has always been that if you
worked hard, and took some risks, that there was the opportunity to
build a better life for your family and for the next generation. It’s
not government’s role to guarantee that every one of us will achieve
the success we seek.
nation was founded on the principle that we have a God-given right to
pursue happiness. It is the pursuit that is guaranteed, not the result.
It is the opportunity that is guaranteed, not the outcome. We are an
and women pursuing happiness in their own unique
ways have made ours the leading economy in the world, and as we look to
the future, I am absolutely confident that the principles that created
our strength are the very ones that will preserve it.
must be smaller and have strict limits placed on
its power. Obamacare violates both principles. I will repeal it.
low as possible, in line with those of competing nations,
and designed to foster innovation and growth. That’s why I will cut
marginal tax rates across the board.
they must be continuously updated, streamlined, and
modernized. Regulators should see part of their job as protecting
economic freedom, promoting enterprise, and fostering job creation.
right to form unions, but unions should not be forced
upon them. And unions should not have the power to take money out of
their members’ paychecks to buy the support of politicians favored by
the union bosses.
make America the best place in the world for
entrepreneurs, innovators, small business and big business – for job
creators of all kinds. Business is not the enemy. It is the friend of
jobs, of rising wages, and of the revenues government needs to care for
the poor and the elderly, and to provide for the national
Obama say they want a strong economy, but they
really don’t like businesses very much. But the economy is simply
product of all the nations’ businesses added together. So it’s
saying you love omelettes but don’t like eggs.
economy that provides good jobs and rising wages and
that reduces poverty, we need to build successful businesses of every
kind imaginable. And President Obama has been attacking
businesses of every kind imaginable.
weren’t started to save the world and neither
were General Motors or Alcoa. Nor were some of the companies I helped
start like Staples or The Sports Authority. All of these great American
enterprises were started because innovators had great ideas and great
ambitions. They became great commercial ventures, which is another way
of saying they made a lot of money. Not just for a few people but for
many people. They helped people buy homes, go to school, retire, start
the country where dreamers build dreams and where one
dream helps launch another. And if those dreamers are rewarded with
prosperity, we view that as a reason others would be encouraged to
dream big as well.
that today much of the world is hungry for the big
dreamers with big ideas. America must fight to grow these dreamers and
innovators, and to attract those from other lands.
favorite saying: “Nothing is as vulnerable as entrenched
success.” Today, because America has been so successful for so long, we
seem to have forgotten what brought us here. America has become
vulnerable to new competition, to looming debt, and to those who would
substitute more government power for more freedom. We have made some
bad choices and ignored the mounting threats.
hill is a little steeper before us, we have always been a nation
of big steppers.
I have been all over this country, from student union
cafeterias to kitchen tables, from factory breakrooms to boardrooms,
and I’ve heard frustration and anger but rarely hopelessness. Many
Americans have given up on this President but they haven’t ever thought
about giving up. Not on themselves. Not on each other. And not on
sacred duty to restore the promise of America. And we will do
it. We will do it because we believe in America.
Join me in the next step toward that destination of
November 6th, when across America we can give a sigh of relief and know
that the Promise of America has been kept. The dreamers can dream a
little bigger, the help wanted signs can be dusted off, and we can
get it right. We’ll stop the days of apologizing for
success at home and never again apologize for America abroad. Together
we’ll build the greatest America we have ever known, where prosperity
is grown and shared, not limited and divided, an America that
guarantees that ours is the door that innovation and greatness always
knocks on first.
– not so long ago – when each of us could walk a little
taller and stand a little straighter because we had a gift that no one
else in the world shared. We were Americans. That meant something
different to each of us but it meant something special to all of us. We
knew it without question. And so did the world.
back. That’s our destiny. Join me. Walk together this
Tuesday. And take another step every day until November 6th.
America. We believe in ourselves. Our greatest days are
still ahead. We are, after all, Americans!
and God bless the United States of America.