Thank you, Wisconsin! And Maryland! And Washington, DC!
We have won a great victory tonight in our campaign to restore the promise of America.
You won’t find Americans with bigger hearts than those here in our heartland. But as I’ve travelled across this beautiful state, I’ve visited with far too many whose hearts are filled with anxiety about the future. So many good and decent people seem to be running harder just to stay in place and, for many, no matter how hard they run, every day puts them just a little bit further behind.
It’s that way across so much of America.
Under this President’s watch, more Americans have lost their jobs than during any other period since the Depression. Millions have lost their homes, and a record number of Americans are living in poverty. And the most vulnerable have been hurt the most - over 30% of single moms are struggling in poverty. New business startups are at the lowest level in 30 years, and our national debt is at a record high. And when you drive home tonight and stop at a gas station, just take a look at the prices and ask yourself, “Four more years?”
And 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 Night Live.
It’s enough to make you think that years of flying around on Air Force One, surrounded by an adoring staff of True Believers telling you what a great job you are doing, well, that might be enough to make you a little out of touch.
This campaign will deal with many complicated issues but there is a basic choice before us:
The President has pledged to “transform America,” and he 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 life experiences.
Barack Obama once said that his work as a community organizer motivated him to help “communities that had been ravaged by plant closings.” His desire to help others could not be more admirable but it’s clear that he saw free enterprise as the villain and not the solution.
He never seemed to grasp the basic point that a plant closes when a business loses money. So today when the President attacks business and when his policies make it more difficult for businesses to grow and prosper, 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 working.
But 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 have been lost than any time since the Great Depression.
In 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 unemployed.
In 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.
In 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.
We 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?
I don’t want to transform America; I want to restore the values of economic freedom and opportunity and limited government that have made this nation the leader it is.
It is opportunity that has always driven America and defined us as Americans!
I’m not naïve enough to believe that free enterprise is the solution to all of our problems – nor am I naïve enough to doubt that it is one of the greatest forces of good this world has ever known.
Free enterprise has done more to lift people out of poverty, to help build a strong middle class, to help educate our kids, and to make our lives better, than all of the government programs put together.
If we become one of those societies that attack success, one outcome is certain – there will be a lot less success.
That’s 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.
This means that government must be smaller and have strict limits placed on its power. Obamacare violates both principles. I will repeal it.
Taxes should be as 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.
Regulations are necessary, but 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.
Workers should have the 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.
Out-of-touch liberals like Barack Obama say they want a strong economy, but they really don’t like businesses very much. But the economy is simply the product of all the nation’s businesses added together. So it’s like saying you love omelets but don’t like eggs.
To build a strong 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 successful businesses of every kind imaginable.
We have always been 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.
These last few years have been difficult, made worse by mistakes and failures of leadership.
But if the hill before us is a little steeper we have always been a nation of big steppers.
In this last year, I have been all over this country, from student union cafeterias to kitchen tables, from factory break rooms 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 America.
We have a sacred duty to restore the promise of America. And we will do it. We will do it because we believe in America.
Tonight, I’m asking the good people of Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island to join me. 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 start again.
And this time we’ll 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.
There was a time – 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.
Those days are coming back. That’s our destiny. Join me. And take another step every day until November 6th.
We believe in America. We believe in ourselves. Our greatest days are still ahead. We are, after all, Americans!
God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.