Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gave these remarks in Roselawn, Ohio on October 25, 2012.
[Editor's Note: Click here for more CFR 2012 campaign resources, which examine the foreign policy and national security dimensions of the presidential race.]
MITT ROMNEY: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. Wow. (Cheers, applause.) What a welcome. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. (Cheers, applause.) Thank you. Please — thank you. What a Cincinnati welcome. Thank you so much. Great to be with you today.
It's good to be here in Ohio, or as Joe Biden would say, here in Iowa. (Laughter.) I'm — (chuckles) — I'm delighted to be here with so many friends and with Senator Rob Portman. What a great senator. What a great friend. And thank you for welcoming us here today. (Cheers, applause.)
Now, if you haven't been real busy the last few weeks, you've had the chance to watch a few debates, which I enjoyed a great deal. I have to be honest with you. (Cheers, applause.) These — these debates really have propelled our campaign across the country. And in some respects, I think they've — they've diminished the Obama campaign because he has now resorted to talking about saving characters on Sesame Street and word games and — and of course, he continues to launch these misdirected attacks at me. And he knows they're not accurate, and they're not making much progress for him. And so his campaign gets smaller and smaller, focused on smaller and smaller things.
Our campaign is about big things, because we happen to believe that America — (cheers, applause) — faces big challenges. We recognize this is a year with a big choice, and the Americans want to see big changes. And I'm going to bring it to this country. (Cheers, applause.)
This is a — this is a — a defining election, I believe. It's an election which defines a great deal about the country, but it's also defining about the American families and defining about your family. I say that because the choice that will be made, this big choice coming up, will have an impact on you and your family.
If you're a senior, for instance, or if you have a senior that you're caring for, if President Obama were to get re-elected, and that senior were not need the care of a medical specialist, you might call the appointment secretary of the doctor and say, I'd like to make an appointment and — be told, I'm sorry; we're not taking any more Medicare patients, because under "Obamacare," some 50 percent of America's doctors are saying they won't accept new Medicare patients.
Now if I'm president, when I'm president, we're going to — (extended cheers, applause) — thank you. Now you see, when — when I'm president — president, we're going to repeal "Obamacare" and — and put that $716 billion the president's taking out of Medicare — we're going to put it back into Medicare — (scattered applause) — so you or the senior you're caring for can be sure that when you call a doctor, the doctor's going to say, I'm happy to make an appointment to see you. That's the difference between a Romney administration and Obama administration. (Cheers, applause.)
Now, for — for those of you in your 40s and 50s, who have always anticipated that these would be the high earning years, the most productive years, the years that you'd be able to put a little away for retirement or perhaps help your kids with college, and yet you're finding that's harder and harder to do because incomes have been going down at the same time prices have been going up for things like gasoline and health care and food, I was speaking with a gentleman just the other day, and he said that he used to have a job at $25 an hour plus benefits, and now he's only able to get a job at $9 an hour, and he wonders what's going to become of him, what's going to happen to his future.
The president's campaign slogan is "Forward." To this gentleman, things don't feel like they're going forward; it feels more like backward. To 23 million Americans, it feels like backward, those that can't find good work. (Cheers, applause.) And so for the last — for the last year, and four debates, three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate, the president's been looking for a plan. He's been looking for some way to help the gentleman I spoke about, some way to help the 23 million people that are out of work.
He hasn't been able to find a plan. He hasn't been able to define what he's going to do to make America strong going forward. I have. I have a plan that will create 12 million jobs and rising take- home pay, and I'm going to help that man who needs that good job. (Cheers, applause.)
You might have a — a daughter graduating from college this year. And when she graduates, she's going to have about, I don't know, 10(,000) dollars or $20,000 of student debt, maybe more. And she knows she's going to be paying interest on that debt for a long, long time. But what she may not have noticed is that she also has about $50,000 of government debt, not for things she bought but for things my generation spent money on; $50,000.
And when she gets her first take-home paycheck and she sees all this deducted by government, a lot of what she's paying for is the interest on the things we've borrowed.
And this president has no plan to get us to a balanced budget. He continues to spend a trillion dollars more every year, adding to our debt year after year. I will finally cut federal spending. I'll cap federal spending and get us on track to a balanced budget. (Cheers, applause.)
You might — you might have a child in school, and perhaps the school your child is going to is not the kind of quality institution you hoped it would be. You may be concerned that your child's not going to get the — the skills that he or she needs to be able to be successful and competitive in the — in the new economy. And yet you find another school, perhaps a charter school or a cyber learning school or another public school further from your home, and you say, I want to send my child there, but you're told, in so many states across this country, no, no, no, you can't do that; you must stay in this school; your — your dollars won't follow your child as they go to another school.
One — why — why is that? Well, it's in part because the teachers union doesn't like the idea of school choice. I like school choice. And so I — (cheers, applause) — and because — and because my campaign contributions don't come largely from the teachers union, I don't have to do what the teachers union tells me to do. (Chuckles.) I instead — (cheers, applause) — I instead can do something which is this. I'm going to make sure all the federal dollars that go out to help schools go to the child instead so the child can choose — the — the parents can choose the school their child would go to, and the federal dollars follow that child, and we can have real school choice in America.
This is a critical time for our country. And the choice of paths we choose will have an enormous impact. We have huge challenges, the debts I mentioned, the fact that our schools are underperforming, the fact that college kids getting out of school this year can't find jobs in half the cases, or jobs that are at college level, the fact that they have thousands and thousands of dollars of debt that's on their back they're going to have to be paying for. These challenges are big challenges. This election is therefore a big choice, and America wants to see big changes. And we're going to bring big changes to get America stronger again. (Cheers, applause.)
The path we're on — the path of status quo the president represents will take us to $20 trillion in debt by the end of the next four years. I'll put us on a new path, a big change path which gets us to a balanced budget.
The path — the status quo path of the president cuts $716 billion from Medicare. I will restore that funding to Medicare and honor the promises that have been made to our seniors. (Cheers, applause.) The status — the status quo path says that we're going to have "Obamacare," that we're going to have bureaucrats telling you what kind of health care you can have. (Boos.) The big change path says we're going to make health care more like a consumer market.
We're going to get government out of it and restore the freedom that you've always had in choosing your health care choice. (Cheers, applause.)
The status quo path of this president continues to shrink our military, year after year. He's planning on cutting out a trillion dollars from our military. Think of that. Think of the jobs we'll lose here in Ohio. (Boos.) Think also it was the secretary of defense under President Obama that said that that path will cause our military to be devastated.
Now I believe in a very big change from that path. I want to restore our commitment to or military and make sure it always remains second to none in the world. (Cheers, applause.)
The path we're on — the path we're on, the status quo path, is a path that doesn't have an answer about how to get our economy going, that doesn't know how to get the private sector to start creating jobs or how to build more take-home pay. The path we're on has an economy growing more slowly this year than it did last year and more slowly last year than the year before. The path we're on has the average income of an American family down by $4,300 per year over the president's term. The path we're on does not have new answers. The president has the same old answers as in the past. He wants another stimulus, he wants to hire more government workers, and he wants to raise taxes. There is no prospect whatsoever that that path will help our economy grow and put people to work and raise take-home pay.
The big change Paul Ryan and I represent has five major steps to get this economy going.
Number one we're going to take full advantage of our energy — our coal, our oil, our gas, our nuclear and our renewables. (Cheers, applause.)
We're — we're going to do something — we're going to do something that politicians have been speaking about for decades, because technology allows us to do what they only thought was possible long ago. And that is, by virtue of new drilling technology and all the resources that have been found in this country, we're going to get North American energy independence in eight years and keep billions of dollars and good jobs here. (Cheers, applause.) We're going to expand trade because businesses like this can sell products all over the world. American workers can compete with anyone in the world.
I know that you think, well, our wages are high; but we're also very productive and we have technology that allows us to compete globally. If your government is more effective and gets off the back of our enterprises, we'll be able to sell goods around the world. And so I want to open up — (cheers, applause) — I want to open up — I want to open up markets for us, particularly in Latin America, where the time zone and the language skills that we have will allow us to compete there.
And by the way, Latin America has almost as large an economy as China. We all spend a lot of attention thinking about the opportunities in China, as well we should, but Latin America is next door and represents a huge opportunity.
And by the way, if a nation cheats in trade, I will stop it. We'll hold them accountable. China's been doing it. We're going to get rid of that. (Cheers, applause.)
We're going to make sure — we're going to make sure the workers of today have the skills they need to compete for the jobs of today, by having training programs that are really — really helpful to get people the kind of skills they need
And I say that because we have 47 different federal training programs, and they report to eight different federal agencies. You — you can think of all the overhead, all the expenditure, all the waste. I want to take that money, bundle it up, give Ohio its fair share and let Ohio create its own plans for its own workers. (Cheers, applause.)
Let me mention one more. Let me mention one more of our five- step plan to get this economy going, and that is I want to make sure that we champion small business, we help small business grow and thrive. (Cheers, applause.) You've been listening — you've been listening to the people — you've been listening to the people who built their own small business talk about how their taxes go up and up and the regulatory burdens weigh them down further and further. I want to make sure that we keep our taxes coming down on small business. I'll get them to finally come down on small business and get regulators — (cheers, applause) — and — and get our regulators to see that their job is not just to catch the bad guys — and that's an important task — but also to encourage the good guys.
We need taxes and regulations and health care policies and environmental policies all to come together in such a way that we make it — America the best place in the world for small business so we can create more jobs and more take-home pay for the American worker. (Cheers, applause.)
That plan I described creates 12 million jobs in the next four years and turns around declining wages and makes them rise again, with more take-home pay.
That's the course that America needs to see. It's a choice we have.
The Obama campaign doesn't have a plan. The Obama campaign is slipping because he's talking about smaller and smaller things despite the fact that America has such huge challenges and that this is such an opportunity for America. And that's why on November 6th I'm counting on Ohio to vote for big change. (Cheers, applause.)
You guys are great. You guys are great. (Sustained cheers, applause.) I mean, you know — you know something — you know something's wrong about the direction we're headed right now. You know that we don't want to keep going on the same path we've been on for the last four years. You know we can't afford four more years like the last four years.
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: No!
MR. ROMNEY: You want — I mean, do you want real big change in this country? (Cheers.) Well, you're going to get it. On November 6th you're going to make it happen. We're going to get America on track again. (Cheers, applause.)
Now, let me tell you, I want you to know how optimistic I'm about the future. I'm convinced that we're going to be able to care for our seniors in the way they've been promised. We're going to restore and protect Medicare and Social Security. I'm confident that people in their 40s and 50s and going to be able to get better jobs and more take-home pay. I'm confident that that college student who's coming out of school this spring will have less debt as a result of our administration and have a better chance for a good job. I'm confident — (cheers, applause) — I'm confident that as your child gets to go to the school of your choice, that he or she will have an — an opportunity for a better education.
I'm confident in our future. I'm convinced that America's going to come roaring back.
And I say that in part because of the power of the plan that we've described over these last two years, but also because of the power of the American heart and character. I've had the — (cheers, applause) — I'm optimistic about the future because I've — I've seen the great qualities of the human spirit evidenced in the — the lives of American people. Throughout my lifetime I — I've had the chance to see the best of America, and it gives me hope and confidence about the future.
Some years ago I was a — a Boy Scout leader, and I was at a — (cheers) — there's a Boy Scouter. Hi. There you go. (Cheers, applause.) And I was at a Boy Scout court of honor, which is where the eagle awards are given and other Boy Scout awards are given. And they had a Formica table up front, and I — I was seated at the end of the table next to an American flag. And the — the fellow who was at the podium was the Scoutmaster from Monument, Colorado. And he said that his Boy Scout troop wanted to have a — a very special American flag, so they bought one with gold tassels around the outside and had it flown above the Capitol. And when it came back, they decided to ask NASA if they'd take the flag on the space shuttle. And NASA agreed. He said, you can imagine how proud the boys were from their homerooms at school being able to watch TV sets, to watch the shuttle launch. And they — they watched that shuttle going up knowing their flag was onboard.
And then they saw it explode on the TV screen. And he said he called NASA a couple of weeks later and said, have you found any remnant of our flag? And he said NASA said they had not. He explained he went on to call every week, month after month after month, and finally gave up.
And then one day he was reading in a newspaper an article about the debris from the Challenger disaster, and it mentioned something about a flag, and so he called NASA again, said, have you found some remnant of our flag? And they said, in fact we have a presentation to make to you.
So NASA came together with the Boy Scout troop and they handed the boys this plastic container. And he said, we opened it up, and inside was our flag in perfect condition. (Cheers, applause.) And then he said, that's it on the flag pole next to Mr. Romney.
And I — I looked at a the flag and reached over and grabbed it and pulled it out, and it was as if electricity was running through my arms. And I thought — I thought about the men and women in our space program who put their lives at risk or learning, for us, pioneers like Neil Armstrong, heroes. I thought of those who lost their lives in this tragedy in the Challenger disaster. I thought about our men and women in uniform, who day in and day out put their lives in danger, who sacrifice for us. (Applause.)
I love — I love that stanza in one of our national hymns, "America the Beautiful": O beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife, who more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life.
Would our veterans and members of the armed services please raise your hand so we can recognize you here. (Sustained cheers and applause.)
You see, it — it's part of the American character to live for something greater than ourself. Those astronauts do and did. Those who've served in our military do and did. A single mom that's scrimping to make sure she has a great meal at the table for her kids makes that kind of sacrifice and lives for something bigger than herself. The — the dad who's doing two jobs right now so he can afford to buy kids the clothes that won't make them stand out from the other kids at school. The mom and dad who this year have decided not to exchange Christmas gifts so they'll be able to have enough for their kids to have a great Christmas.
This is the American character, to live for things that we find more dear than ourselves — our family, our faith, our community, our schools, our nation.
This is a time of enormous consequence for America, and so we come together, you come together, on a day like this, to — to see someone running for president. This election is not about me. It's not about the Republican Party. It's about America and it's about your family. (Cheers, applause.) I commit to you that when Paul Ryan and I get to Washington, we will bring big change to Washington to get this country on track. (Cheers, applause.) And I commit — I commit that we'll build stronger families and a stronger economy and maintain a military so strong no one would ever think of testing it.
We'll keep this nation — (cheers, applause) — the hope of the earth.
But I need you to commit as well, not only to vote, and vote early — I won't say "often"; just vote early — (laughter) — but I need you to find someone else who — who might be thinking about voting for the other side and ask them, don't you think it's time for — for a big change in the course of this country, or do you like things the way they are? Do you like the four years you've enjoyed? My guess is you're going to be able to convince them to join our team. Go out there and find some people, bring them to the polls. And by the way, if there's someone who doesn't have a ride to the polls, help them get to the polls. We need to make sure that Ohio is able to send a message loud and clear: We want real change; we want big change; we're ready. (Cheers, applause.)
This is our time. I need your help. We're going to win on November 6th. Thank you, Ohio. Let's take back America. (Cheers, applause.) Thank you so much.