Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) Announcement of Candidacy Bittersweet Farm Stratham, NH Thursday, June 2, 2011 [prepared remarks]
Thank you for coming. And I want to thank Doug and Stella Scamman for
hosting us on their beautiful farm.
You know, everyone here today can tell a different story. We have
different backgrounds and we wake up in the morning and go to different
jobs … or, look for different jobs. We go to different churches or
maybe don't go to church so much. I bet some of you have families who
go back 200 years or more in New Hampshire. And there must be some who
just snuck in across the border, from Massachusetts. I hear the taxes
are better over here.
But here we are on a beautiful June day coming together to begin a
process that we often, quite naturally, take for granted. But it is
really one of the great achievements in the history of the world. For
all of our country’s wealth and influence, those are not the source of
our greatness. The true strength of America is self-rule, and a
government that answers to a free and independent people.
We live in the most powerful nation that ever existed. And it all
goes back to a few men and women who had the courage to stand - and
even die - for their belief in liberty and equality. Because of
their vision, the United States of America is not ruled by a monarchy
or controlled by an aristocracy. Though sometimes folks in Washington
might act otherwise, we don't have a House of Lords with inherited
power. And as the Red Sox like to remind the New York Yankees, there
are no dynasties in America.
Who rules this great nation?
You do. Every four years you decide who will give that State of the
Union address, who will set the course of the country, who will be
Commander in Chief.
What's true right here in this New Hampshire farm has always been true
in America. Though each of us is different, though each of us will
choose to walk a different path in life, we are united by one great,
overwhelming passion: We love America. We believe in America.
Today we are united not only by our faith in America. We are united
also by our concern for America.
This country we love is in peril. And that, my friends, is why we are
A few years ago, Americans did something that was, actually, very much
the sort of thing Americans like to do: We gave someone new a chance to
lead; someone we hadn't known for very long, who didn't have much of a
record but promised to lead us to a better place.
At the time, we didn't know what sort of a President he would make. It
was a moment of crisis for our economy, and when Barack Obama came to
office, we wished him well and hoped for the best.
Now, in the third year of his four-year term, we have more than
promises and slogans to go by.
Barack Obama has failed America.
When he took office, the economy was in recession. He made it worse.
And he made it last longer.
Three years later, over 16 million Americans are out of work or have
just quit looking. Millions more are underemployed.
Three years later, unemployment is still above 8%, a figure he said his
stimulus would keep from happening.
Three years later, foreclosures are still at record levels.
Three years later the prices of homes continue to fall.
Three years later, our national debt has grown nearly as large as our
Families are buried under higher prices for food and higher prices for
It breaks my heart to see what’s happening in this country.
These failing hopes make up President Obama’s own misery index. It’s
never been higher. And what’s his answer? He says this: “I’m just
No, Mr. President, you’ve had your chance. We, the people on this farm,
and citizens across the country are the ones who are just getting
I visited with a family, Kathy and Dave Tyler, who live in a suburb
north of Las Vegas, Nevada. You probably know families just like them.
They're in their early forties, a couple who had worked hard,
sacrificed to buy a home in a good neighborhood, the sort of place they
wanted their daughter Allie to grow up. But now that neighborhood is
being crushed by this Obama economy. First their neighbors started
losing their jobs...and then their homes. And all around them now are
abandoned houses... and abandoned dreams.
When the Tylers wake up in the morning and get Allie off to school and
then go to work and do everything they can to make it to the end of the
month and hold their lives together, it doesn't matter if they are
Republican or Democrat, Independent or...Libertarian. They're just
Americans. An American family.
And across the richest, greatest country on earth, there are millions
of American families like the Tylers. Folks who grew up believing that
if they played by the rules, worked hard, that they would have the
chance to build a good life, with steady work and always that
possibility to work a little harder and get ahead.
And in that America, you don't wonder if your children will have a
better life. You know they will. You know it the same way we know that
tomorrow morning the sun is going to come up in the East right over
That confidence in a better tomorrow defines us as Americans.
When generations of immigrants looked up and saw the Statue of Liberty
for the first time, they surely had many questions and doubts about the
life before them, but one thing they knew without a doubt is that they
were coming to a place where anything was possible—that in America,
their children would have a better life.
I believe in that America. I know you believe in that America. It is an
America of freedom and opportunity. A nation where innovation and hard
work propel the most powerful economy in the world. A land that is
secured by the greatest military the world has ever seen, and by
friends and allies across the globe.
President Obama sees a different America and has taken us in a
A few months into office, he travelled around the globe to apologize
At a time of historic change and great opportunity in the Arab world,
he is hesitant and uncertain. He hesitated to speak out for the
dissidents in Iran, but his Administration boasts that he is “leading
from behind” in Libya.
He speaks with firmness and clarity, however, when it comes to Israel.
He seems firmly and clearly determined to undermine our longtime friend
and ally. He’s treating Israel the same way so many European countries
have: with suspicion, distrust and an assumption that Israel is at
To his credit, the President ordered the raid that
killed Osama bin Laden. In Afghanistan, the surge was right, announcing
a withdrawal date was wrong. The Taliban may not have watches, but they
do have calendars.
Here at home, the President seems to take his
inspiration not from the small towns and villages of New Hampshire but
from the capitals of Europe.
With the economy in crisis, his answer is to
borrow money we can't afford and throw it at Washington bureaucrats and
politicians. Just like Europe.
Instead of encouraging entrepreneurs and
employers, he raises their taxes, piles on record-breaking mounds of
regulation and bureaucracy and gives more power to union bosses.
Instead of recognizing the states rightful
authority to solve problems, he seizes power from them and rams through
a disastrous national health care plan.
This President's first answer to every problem is
to take power from you, your local government and your state so that
so-called “experts" in Washington can make those choices for you. And
with each of these decisions, we lose more of our freedom.
You and I understand this. We look at our country,
and we know in our hearts that things aren’t right, and they’re not
President Obama’s European answers are not the
right solution to America’s challenges.
In the campaign to come, the American ideals of
economic freedom and opportunity need a clear and unapologetic defense,
and I intend to make it—because I have lived it.
Twenty-seven years ago, I left a steady job to
join with some friends to start a business. Like many of you, it had
been a dream of mine to try and build a business from the ground up. We
started in a small office a couple of hours from here and over the
years, we were able to grow from ten employees to hundreds.
My work led me to become deeply involved in
helping other businesses, from innovative startups to large companies
going through tough times. Sometimes I was successful and helped create
jobs, other times I was not. I learned how America competes with
companies in other countries, what works in the real world and what
I left my business in 1999 to help put the Salt
Lake City Olympics back on track. And when the Games were over, I came
home to Massachusetts and served as governor.
I'd never held office before but I went at it like
I ran businesses and the Olympics: ask tough questions and take on the
toughest problems first, because they'll only get worse.
When I took office, I faced a nearly $3 billion
budget hole. My legislature was over 85% Democrat. The expectation was
that we'd have to raise taxes but I refused. I ordered a review of all
state spending, made tough choices and balanced the budget without
raising taxes. That sent a message that business as usual was over.
Over the next four years, we consolidated
agencies, cut programs, sold state property and cut taxes nineteen
times. The state was giving away over a billion dollars in free health
care, much of it to people who could have paid something but were
gaming the system. You won't be surprised that a lot of Democrats
thought we should be giving away even more.
I took it on and hammered out a solution that took
a bad situation and made it better. Not perfect but it was a state
solution for a state problem. At the end of four years, it took over
800 vetoes but we balanced every budget, restored a $2 billion dollar
rainy day fund and kept our schools first among all 50 states.
All of these experiences -- starting and running
businesses for 25 years, turning around the Olympics, governing a state
-- have helped shape who I am and how I lead. Of course, if I ran
through a list of all my mistakes, Ann would find it hilarious, and
we'd be here all night. But I've learned a lot.
Turning around a crisis takes experienced
leadership and bold action. For millions of Americans, the economy is
in crisis today, and unless we change course, it will be in crisis for
all of us tomorrow.
Government under President Obama has grown to
consume almost 40% of our economy. We are only inches away from ceasing
to be a free market economy. I will cap federal spending at 20% or less
of the GDP and finally, finally balance the budget.
My generation will pass the torch to the next
generation, not a bill.
I will insist that Washington learns to respect
the Constitution, including the 10th Amendment. We will return
responsibility and authority to the states for dozens of government
programs – and that begins with a complete repeal of Obamacare.
From my first day in office my number one job will
be to see that America once again is number one in job creation. You
know, if you want to create jobs, it helps to have had a job. I will
make business taxes competitive with other nations, modernize
regulations and bureaucracy and finally promote America’s trade
interests. It’s time for a president who cares more about America’s
workers than he does about America’s union bosses.
Over the last thirty years, I can't tell you how
many times I've heard a situation is hopeless. But I've never been very
good at listening to those people and I've always enjoyed proving them
It's one of the lessons I learned from my Dad.
My father never graduated from college. He
apprenticed, as a lath and plaster carpenter, and he was darn good at
it. He learned how to put a handful of nails in his mouth and spit them
out, point forward. On their honeymoon, he and Mom drove across the
country. Dad sold aluminum paint along the way, to pay for gas and
There were a lot reasons my father could have
given up or set his sights lower. But Dad always believed in America;
and in that America, a lath and plaster man could work his way up to
running a little car company called American Motors, and end up
Governor of a state where he had once sold aluminum paint.
For my Dad, America was the land of opportunity,
where the circumstances of birth are no barrier to achieving one’s
dreams. Small business and entrepreneurs were encouraged, and
respected, and a good worker could almost always find a good job.
The spirit of enterprise, innovation, pioneering
and can-do propelled our standard of living and economy past every
other nation on earth.
I refuse to believe that America is just another
place on the map with a flag. We stand for freedom and opportunity and
These last two years have not been the best of
times. But while we’ve lost a couple of years, we have not lost our
way. The principles that made us a great nation and leader of the world
have not lost their meaning. They never will.
We know we can bring this country back.
I'm Mitt Romney. I believe in America.
And I'm running for President of the United States.
2 REACTIONS FROM THE DEMOCRATS
The DNC was busy throughout the day sending out a total of 18 releases,
including articles new and old, a couple of videos, and a couple of
statements forwarded from state parties. The effort highlighted
shortcomings of Romney's economic record, his flip-flopping, and Palin
overshadowing his announcement:
DNC Chair on Romney's
Failed Jobs Record [YouTube Wasserman on CNN's
NJ - Romney vs. Romney: The Economic Critique [National
Turns out [coverage of DNC flip flop video by various
Shot and Chaser: NH Edition [Palin overshadowing Romney]
FW: Romney's NH Strategy? [Romney ec. record from NHDP's
FW: IDP Responds to Mitt Romney Announcement [statement by
Chairwoman Sue Dvorsky]
This...actually happened to Mitt Romney in New Hampshire
Today [16 sec. YouTube video showing Romney being run over
by Palin bus]
Romney Fact Check: We Rate This Claim: True [hits Romney ec.
FLASHBACK - WSJ - Mitt Romney plays the jobs card: Looking at his
record, it's a losing argument [Feb. 23, 2010 commentary]
Politico: Palin Overshadowing Romney [the DNC's 16 sec. YouTube
DNC Chair Outlines Romney's Failed Jobs Record on MSNBC
Driving the news today... [is a bus...links to more than a dozen
articles on Palin overshadowing Romney]
CNN: Palin attacks Romney's record on his announcement day
[article by Peter Hamby]
Romney's Defectors [the Romney yearbook website the DNC
Palin steps on Romney announcement with healthcare jab
[article in The Hill]
Romney Fail [statistic Romney 47th out of 50 in jobs growth
as governor...from Marketwatch Feb. 23, 2010)
DNC Highlights Flip-Flopping Mitt Romney in New Web Video
FW: Statement of NH Dems on Romney Announcement
DNC Highlights Flip-Flopping Mitt Romney in
New Web Video
Romney is going to announce his run for President today but he's going
into this campaign with the same fatal flaws that doomed him the first
time around: that he's seen as a wishy-washy, flip-flopping politician
who lacks any core convictions or principles and who you simply can't
trust to shoot straight with you. Just consider the two sides of
Romney just since his last campaign: he's taken both sides of
the Recovery Act, Health Reform and the auto loan package. That's
just in the past three years - combined with a decade and a half or
more taking one side of a position when running for one office and the
other side of it when running for another - Mitt Romney may now be the
most notorious flip-flopper in modern political history. To
announcement, the DNC released the following web video: Romney:
The video’s simple and straight forward - more simple and straight
forward than Mitt Romney has been on the issues as a politician. DNC
"Romney: Same Candidate, Different Positions" PUBLIC
LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsCmiFcRyIc MEDIA-ONLY
LINK: http://my.democrats.org/page/-/video/20110601_Romney_Same_Candidate_Different_Positions.mov SCRIPT: CHYRON: Mitt
Romney on health care MITT
"When I set out to find a way to get everybody health insurance, I
couldn't have cared less and I don't care less about how it works
politically. In my view it's the right thing to do. It's a key
that faces many many people across this country that don't have health
insurance. We need to find a way to get them insurance so they
better care." [Fox News, 4/12/2006] CHYRON:
Mitt Romney on health care ROMNEY:
"Obamacare is bad law constitutionally. It's bad policy. It's bad for
American families." [Speech to Carroll Country Republican Committee,
3/7/2011] CHYRON: Mitt
Romney on TARP ROMNEY:
"When government is trying… to bail out banks… when have every good
reason to be alarmed and to speak our minds." [Value Voters Summit,
9/12/2009] CHYRON: Mitt
Romney on TARP ROMNEY:
"We were going to be in a free fall that would the collapse of not just
a few banks in Wall Street, but banks all over the country, killing not
only a few jobs but all jobs in this country. That's what we were
facing, and the TARP program kept that from occurring." [Fox News,
1/28/2010] CHYRON: Mitt
Romney on the Recovery Act ROMNEY: "I
think a stimulus program is needed. I'd move quickly - these are
unusual times." [CNN, 1/4/2009] CHYRON:
Mitt Romney on the Recovery Act ROMNEY:
"What the President created with his 700 and 80 plus billion dollar
stimulus plan was something which grew government, but did not grow the
private economy." [Meet The Press, 12/13/2009] CHYRON: Mitt
Romney on the auto industry ANCHOR:
"Should the federal government bail out the auto industry? Mitt Romney,
former Massachusetts Governor and former Republican candidate for
President says absolutely not." [CBS' Early Show, 11/20/2008] CHYRON: Mitt
Romney on the auto industry CHRIS
Has Mitt Romney flip flopped again? He's now trying to take credit for
saving the auto industry after he proposed letting the auto industry
die. Boy this guy flip flops like the best in the circus." CHYRON:
Romney 2012 / Same Candidate. Different Positions. Again. [DNC
Chairman Ray Buckley Responds to Flipping Mitt
Romney's Presidential Announcement
NH - In response to Mitt Romney's official announcement that he is
running for president, New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray
Buckley released the following statement:
"Since Mitt Romney
bowed out of the Republican Primary in 2008, he and his handlers
been meticulously planning today's announcement - banking on a
Hampshire primary victory to slingshot him to the
the problem for Mitt Romney is that the reason Granite Staters
rejected him three years ago remains the same today:
they believe he is
a wishy-washy, flip-flopping politician who will say anything or take
any position to suit his own immediate political needs.
fears are well founded. The list of Mitt Romney waffles continues to
grow by the day. He has flip-flopped on the individual mandate, TARP,
the Recovery Act and on cap and trade. And most recently, he attempted
to take credit for saving the auto industry after he proposed letting
it go bankrupt. It's unclear whether even Mitt Romney knows where Mitt
Romney stands on the issues.
in yet another effort to reinvent himself, Mitt Romney is claiming to
be the candidate in the race who is best prepared to deal with the
economy and create jobs. He should try telling that to the people whose
jobs he slashed as a profit-seeking corporate raider or the people of
Massachusetts where, when he was governor, the Bay State ranked 47th of
50 states in job creation.
"Voters are tired of politicians who
constantly try to reinvent themselves and their records or who
flip-flop on the issues for their own political gain. Mitt Romney
suffers from both of these self-induced political maladies - diseases
which felled him before and likely will again."
Responds To Mitt Romney Announcement
Party Chairwoman Sue Dvorsky released the following
statement in response to Mitt Romney’s announcement on his run for
seems to be about the only thing Mitt Romney is able to
commit to.He has waffled his way through his
entire political career – Romney ‘hedged’ on supporting the Ryan
budget, he flipped on the Recovery Act, he has flopped on social issues
like gay marriage and a woman’s right to choose and he won’t commit to
competing in the Ames straw poll despite being the highest polling and
best funded candidate in the GOP race.
embrace his biggest accomplishment in passing Massachusetts
health care reform and tries to claim the mantel of ‘job creator’
despite the fact that he slashed jobs as a businessman and led
Massachusetts to a 47th out of 50 ranking in job creation as
the PPP poll released yesterday, it was clear that GOP voters in Iowa
don’t like what they have seen so far from the Republican field and
that’s not likely to change as they see more of Mitt Romney.”