Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gave this speech after winning the Michigan primary on February 28, 2012. The transcript was provided by the Washington Post.
[Editor's Note: Click here for more CFR 2012 campaign resources, which examine the foreign policy and national security dimensions of the presidential race.]
Thank you, Michigan. And thank you, Arizona!
A week ago the pundits and the pollsters were ready to count us out. But across Michigan and Arizona I kept meeting moms and dads, students and grandparents, all concerned about what was happening to this great country. I was confident that we would come together today and take a giant step toward a brighter future. Tonight, their efforts have brought our cause a great victory.
Tonight is all the more special because we're celebrating in the state where I was born, surrounded by Michiganders we consider family. Ann and I want to thank all of you who knocked on doors, made calls, and went to the polls.
And in Arizona, we want to thank Governor Brewer and Senator McCain who are celebrating with our two sons, Craig and Matt.
Our campaign is about restoring the promise of America. Last week, I unveiled a bold economic plan that will jumpstart this economy and help get Michiganders and Americans back to work.
Americans are crying out for more jobs, less debt, and smaller government – and I will deliver.
You know, a lot of people say that if you're running for office, you can't speak honestly with the American people. Well, I did – and I will – because this is a decisive moment that requires real leadership.
Times are tough. And we need leaders who will live with integrity, who have the courage to tell the truth, and who have the experience to get our economy back on track. That's the kind of leader I am. And that's the kind of president I will be.
Our campaign is about more than replacing a president. It's about restoring America's promise.
From generation to generation, Americans have always known that the future would be brighter and better. Americans have always believed in a tomorrow full of possibility and prosperity.
That's what it means to be a land of opportunity. In America, if you work hard, you can build a better life. If you teach your kids the right values and help them make the right choices, you know their future will be prosperous and secure.
That deep confidence in a better tomorrow is the basic promise of America. Today, that promise is being threatened by a faltering economy and a failed presidency.
Four years ago, we warned that the presidency was no place for on-the-job training. Today, we have an economy to prove it.
This president likes to remind us that he inherited an economic crisis. But he never mentions that he also inherited a Democratic Congress. With majorities in the House and Senate, President Obama was free to pursue any policy he pleased.
Did he fix the economy? Did he tackle the housing crisis? Did he get Americans back to work? No. He put us on a path toward debt, deficits, and decline. It is time to get off that path and get back on the path to prosperity.
These days, when he's not spending our money or infringing upon our rights, President Obama is busy running for re-election. He believes he ranks among the top four presidents in history.
He thinks he deserves a second term. He keeps saying, "We can't wait." To which I say, "Yes, we can."
Today, we're $15 trillion in debt. Real (unemployment) stands at 15%.
You've heard the saying, "I need a vacation from this vacation?" Well, we need to recover from this so-called "recovery."
Americans survived a Great Depression. We weathered two world wars. We've made it through tough times before. And we have not come all this way to give up now.
We still believe in the hope, the dream, and the promise of America. We know our future is better and brighter than these troubled times.
That unwavering conviction guides our campaign. It has rallied millions of Americans to our cause. And it's the message we will take to every corner of this country – from Ohio and Idaho to Georgia and Tennessee.
We've seen enough of this president over the last three years to know that we don't need another four. President Obama believes he is unchecked by our Constitution. He is unresponsive to the will of our people. In a second term, he would be unrestrained by the demands of re-election. If there is one thing we cannot afford, it is four years of Barack Obama with nothing to answer to.
His budget foreshadows what lies ahead. Runaway spending and record debt were just the warm-up act. For an encore, he wants to raise taxes on job creators and small businesses and families. We will not let him!
In this campaign, I am offering a real choice and a new direction. I have a plan that will restore America's promise through more jobs, less debt, and smaller government.
President Obama is making the federal government bigger, burdensome, and bloated. I will make it simpler, smaller, and smarter.
He raised the national debt. I will cut, cap, and balance the budget.
He passed Obamacare. I'll repeal it.
He lost our AAA credit rating; I'll restore it.
He rejected the Keystone Pipeline. I'll approve it. I will open up our lands for development, so we can finally get the energy we need at a price we can afford.
When it comes to the economy, my highest priority will be worrying about your job, not saving my own.
President Obama wants to raise your taxes. I will cut them. That starts with an across-the-board, 20% rate cut for every American. I will repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax and abolish the death tax.
He's proposed tax increases on small businesses and job creators. I will lower the corporate tax rate to 25%. I will make the R&D tax credit permanent to foster innovation. And I will end the repatriation tax to return investment to our shores. Let's finally have a tax plan that puts people to work.
President Obama's budget raises taxes on savings and investment. I will help America's middle class families save and invest tax-free.
President Obama has yet to offer a single serious proposal for saving Medicare or Social Security. I have a plan to save both – and, unlike him, I have the courage to put my plan on the table.
My plans will help create jobs and raise wages. They will strengthen entitlement programs for future generations. And they will not add to our deficit – they will abolish it.
I have a plan to get our citizens back to work – and I have the experience to get our economy back on track. I spent 25 years in business. I have been the steward of an Olympics and the leader of a state. I've cut taxes 19 times. I've turned a budget shortfall into a windfall. I know how government kills jobs – and, yes, how it can help. And I stand ready to lead our party to victory – and our nation to prosperity.
This is our time for choosing – and this is a choice we must get right. I have said it before – and I firmly believe – that this campaign is about saving the soul of America.
This election will come down to two very different visions for our future.
It's a choice between becoming a nation of and by Washington … and remaining a nation of and by a free people.
A choice between an entitlement society … and a land of opportunity.
A choice between squandering America's promise … and restoring that promise for future generations.
If you want to make this election about restoring American greatness, then I hope you will join us.
If you believe the disappointments of the last few years are a detour, not our destiny, then I need your support.
I'm asking you to get out and vote. I'm asking you to go to mittromney.com and pledge your support. I'm asking you to join in the fight for our freedom – and ensure that tomorrow will be better than today.
This election, let's restore America's promise. Let's fight for the country we love.
Thank you. And God bless America.