Mitt Romney photo

Remarks at a Campaign Event in Reno, Nevada

October 24, 2012

[cheers and applause]

MITT ROMNEY: Thank you. What a — what a great Reno welcome. Thank you so much. [cheers and applause] Wow. Thank you. And thank you to Governor Krolicki for introducing me here, a great lieutenant governor and a terrific friend over many years. [cheers and applause] And thank you also to — Lorrie Morgan for entertaining us today. She is a great talent and a wonderful friend. Thank you. [cheers and applause]

Now, I'm not sure whether you've been watching TV, but we've had a number of debates lately. Have you noticed that? [cheers and applause] Yeah, and you know, they have really propelled our campaign. We're seeing that across the country. [cheers] People are coming together. At the same time, I think in some respects they've — they've diminished the — the president's campaign because he's now been reduced to talking about, you know, Sesame Street characters and — [laughter] — word games and — and misplaced attacks on — on me. And he knows they're false, of course.

So, you know, with — with four — four debates behind us, including the vice presidential debate, the president's been unable to find an — an agenda and to communicate an agenda and to defend an agenda. And that's one reason why I think we all know that he's out of ideas and out of excuses. And in November, you're going to put him out of office. [cheers and applause]

Now, this is a defining election. A lot of elections are important, but this, I believe, is a defining election. I say that because I think the choice that you make here in Nevada, and perhaps right here in Reno, will — will make a difference for the nation, will — will make a difference for the families of the nation and will make a difference for your family individually and specifically.

And — and let me just give you some thoughts in that regard. Here's the kind of difference it'll make. If you're a senior, or if — or if — if you're a — a caregiver for a senior — you're — you're a — a daughter or a son of a senior and you're caring for them — and if they develop a — an illness of some kind and they need to see a medical specialist, and you or they call on the phone to the specialists in Reno or one of the — the — the several that are here, and — and you ask for an appointment, and then you might hear this. You might hear the receptionist say, I'm sorry; we're not taking any more Medicare patients.

And so then you call the other medical specialist in town, and they say the same thing: I'm sorry; we're not taking any more — any more Medicare patients. And — and the reason, they'll explain, is because with the "Obamacare" cuts of $716 billion — [booing] — reducing the reimbursement for the doctors and for providers of all kinds, why, some 50 percent of doctors in America that have been polled have said they're not going to take more Medicare patients.

The idea that the president would cut Medicare for current — for current seniors in order to pay for his — you know, his legacy, "Obamacare," is something which I don't think the American people understand the impact on them and their families. And that's one reason why I'm convinced the people of America will elect me to repeal "Obamacare" and replace it with real health care reform. [cheers and applause]

Now, let's say — let's say you're not a senior, or you don't have a senior that you're helping care for. And you're perhaps in your 40s or your — your 50s. And you've always recognized that these would be the most productive years in your — in your life. These would be the times that — that you'd have a best job and be able to put some money away for retirement and perhaps also be able to help pay for some of your kids' college education.

Or — or perhaps you just got a home and you're expecting that the value of the home will grow, and it'll be worth more than you retire than — yeah, that used to be the case, right? [laughter] And — and — and so you're — you're thinking about these as being the — the most productive years.

And yet you're finding that's not the case. The value of your home is not going up. You're not able to put anything away. You're barely able to make ends meet.

I — I was just a few days ago speaking with a — a man. As I recall, he was in his 50s. And he said that the job he used to have was at $25 an hour plus benefits. But the job he has now is $9 an hour without benefits. And he said, you know, I'm showing up on the employment rolls, but my life has changed dramatically.

And we've seen this across the entire country, and that's in part because the president doesn't understand what it takes to get this economy going. He doesn't have a plan to get jobs for Americans. I do, and that's why I'm going to win. [cheers and applause]

You see, for — for that man — for that man I spoke with — for that man I spoke with, he has to be somewhat puzzled by the president's campaign slogan of "forward" — [laughter] — because it doesn't feel like forward to him. It doesn't feel like forward to 23 million Americans struggling to get a good job. It doesn't feel like forward to the millions of people who don't have as good a job as they had a few years ago. It doesn't feel like forward; it feels like backward. We're going to take back the White House and get this country on the right track, (providing ?) for the American people. [cheers and applause]

Let me tell you how else this might affect — might affect your family, how this choice that you're making will make a difference in your family.

You might have a daughter graduating from — from college this — this spring. And she's going to come out, and she's going to probably have 10(,000 dollars) or $20,000 in — in student loans to pay back. And she's going to be paying the interest on that for a long, long time.

But in addition to those loans, there's something else she has: about $50,000 per person in America in debt. And so when she gets her first paycheck and she sees the deductions for taxes, some of those taxes are going to pay for that debt and for things she didn't get, for things that our generation took upon ourselves. And she's going to be paying for that all of her life. And so the American dream she had been told about by — by you, her parents, that American dream is going to be out of reach. How can she get a mortgage when she's paying back student debt and paying back $50,000 in debt to the government?

And the president's plan — more spending, more borrowing. If he's re-elected, we're going to have $20 trillion in debt by the end of his term. [boos] I will get America to finally be on track to a balanced budget — [cheers and applause] — and make sure that young lady has a bright future.

You might — yours might be a family with young ones going to — going to elementary school or perhaps middle school or high school, and — and you might look at your school and say, you know what, I'm concerned that my kids aren't getting the kind of education they need to be able to perform in — in — in the workplace of tomorrow and to have a bright and prosperous future, and — and I'm looking around for a better education opportunity for them, maybe a cyberschool or a — or a charter school, or maybe just a different school I could go to; I'd like to have that choice, but — but the dollars aren't following my child. They stay with the school, and so I don't have that choice. You see, the — the teachers union doesn't like the kind of choice that — that a lot of parents would like.

And — and — and the teachers union, of course, is there, but — but the PTA doesn't have a union, and — and the parents don't have a union, and the kids don't have a union.

The president gets the largest contributions from the teachers unions. I — I'm going to make sure that instead of being their voice, I'm going to be the voice of the parents and the kids and the teachers. [cheers and applause]

This — this election — this election is a defining — is a defining election. It's a defining election not just about big things that are being spoken about in political circles but in the most important things that happen in the American home. This election is about your family and families across this country. And the choice we make will have an enormous impact on your family.

I mean, I went through those circumstances, describing seniors and — and people in their 40s and 50s looking for a better job and — and kids coming out of college that can't find work and — and young kids where you're worried about their future. How many here identify with stories like that in your own home? [cheers and applause]

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yeah!

MR. ROMNEY: Yeah. Yeah. This is — this is an election about your family and about the families of America. And I understand what it's going to take to get this country strong again and to provide the answers that your families need, because this is an election about two very different pathways for America. The one represented by the president is in fact one with $20 trillion in debt. He started with 10 trillion (dollars). He's up to 16 (trillion dollars), on his way to — to 20 (trillion dollars). I'll balance the budget instead.

If he's re-elected — [cheers and applause] — if he's — if he's re-elected, you're going to see "Obamacare" installed and, with it, $716 billion in cuts to Medicare. [boos] If I'm elected — no, when I'm elected — [cheers and applause] — we're going to — we're going to — we're going to replace "Obamacare," and we're going to take that $716 billion and put it back in Medicare where it belongs.

[cheers and applause] If he's re-elected, I'm convinced you're going to see the values of your homes continue to bump along in the basement. And you're going to find it hard to get a mortgage as well; because of his Dodd-Frank, it makes it very hard for people to qualify for mortgages. If I'm — if I'm elected, when I'm elected, we're going to do this: We're going to finally get this housing market going and get jobs again — [cheers and applause] — get this economy growing, get the value of your home up. [cheers and applause]

Under President — under President Obama, you — you really don't have a jobs plan. I mean, think of this: We've had four debates, and he hasn't been able to describe what his plan is to get this economy going.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: That's right.

MR. ROMNEY: He hasn't been able to defend it to the American people. I — I know that — I know he's got a lot of discussion — he's trying to talk to people about it. But you know, you can boil what he's saying down to four simple words, and — and — and that is, more of the same. And we don't want more of the same. (Chorus of noes.) We — we can't afford four more years like the last four years. (Chorus of noes.)

That's why we — Paul Ryan and I have a plan with five simple steps. These steps are going to get America's economy just cooking again. [cheers and applause] Number one, we're going to take full advantage of our oil, our coal, our natural gas, our renewables, our nuclear. [cheers and applause] Number two — oh, these guys like it back there. You hear that? Yeah. [cheers and applause]

Number two, we're going to take advantage of trade. It's good to trade with other nations because we're a productive society. We can trade effectively and compete with anyone in the world, particularly in Latin America. The opportunities to compete there — Latin America's economy is almost as large as that of China. We have a huge opportunity there. But you know what?

If nations don't play by the rules, we're going to have to hold them accountable, and I will hold China accountable for not playing by the rules. [cheers and applause]

Number three, we're going — we're going to have training programs that work for our workers to give them the skills they need. And we're going to finally fix our schools.

And number four, I said — I said this about our — about our budget, and that is, you know, you're not going to get entrepreneurs to start a business or big companies to come to Nevada or any other American state to build a big enterprise and hire people if they think we're on the road to Greece. And the kind of spending we're doing right now is exactly what Greece did years ago. We're on that road. I'll get us off that road. I'll put us on the road to a balanced budget. [cheers and applause]

And number five — and number five, I will be a champion of small business. I want to help small business — [cheers and applause] — grow and thrive. Small businesses, where some two-thirds of the jobs come from in this country, I want to get small business going again. And that means I want to keep taxes down on small business. I want to get regulators to see their job as encouraging small business, not crushing it. I'll make small business the centerpiece of our economic recovery. [cheers and applause]

And by the way — (cheers and applause continuing) — and by the way — and by the way, if you're one of those people that works for one of those small businesses or works in one or you're one of those that's starting a small business, I recognize that when it's successful and growing, you did build that. [cheers and applause]

So the Obama campaign is slipping and shrinking. [cheers and applause] The president can't seem to find an agenda to help America's families.

Our campaign is a growing movement across this country where people recognize we're going to bring — build a brighter future for the American family, for every family in this great country. We're coming together with more power, more energy.

I'm counting on you. [cheers and applause] You guys here, I need you to vote. Early voting has begun. I need you to vote. I need you to get your neighbors to vote. I need you to find one person who voted for Barack Obama last time and get them to come out and vote for us this time — [cheers and applause] — because we're — because we're coming back. This country is going to come back. You're going to see this economy come back in a major way.

And I — and I know that because I've had the chance to see the American people. All my people, I've — I've grown with a — an optimism in our future because of the character of the American heart. I've seen great qualities of the human spirit in Americans ever since I've been a young guy.

I remember some years ago I was at a Boy Scout Court of Honor. [cheers and applause] And — some scouters here? And — and I was — I was one of the leaders in the Boy Scouts, so I was in the front of the room. And we had a big Formica table, and I was at the end next to this flag on a flagpole there.

And — and so I — I was listening to a — the speaker. He was a Boy Scout — (audio break) — wanted to have a very special flag. So they bought an American flag, gold tassels around it and so forth. And they had it flown above the Capitol Dome.

And then when it came home, they — they decided they wanted it to go up on the Space Shuttle to make it even more special. And they contacted NASA and said, would you take our flag on the Space Shuttle. Now, my guess is the — that space in space comes at a premium, you know? [laughter] But — but NASA said, OK, we'll — we'll take it. We'll take this souvenir of the boys and take it on our Space Shuttle. And he said, you can imagine how proud these — these kids were in their home rooms at school watching TV as they saw the — the Space Shuttle launch. And then they saw it explode on the TV screen.

(Murmurs.) And he — he said he contacted NASA a couple of weeks later and said, have you found any remnant of our flag? And they hadn't. And he said he called every week for several months, calling and calling. And always, the response was the same: We found — we found nothing.

And then he was reading — I think it was in September, he said, many months later, an article in the paper about the debris from the Challenger disaster. And there was a mention of a flag in that article. And so he contacted NASA again and said, have you found our flag? And they said, actually, we have a presentation to make to you. And so NASA came and met with the Boy Scouts and presented them with this plastic container. And he said, we open it up, and inside was our flag, in perfect condition. [cheers and applause] And — and he said, that's it on the flagpole next to Mr. Romney. And I — and I — I reached over and grabbed the flag and held it out. And it was as if electricity was running through my arm —

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Oh!

MR. ROMNEY: — as I thought about the — the sacrifice of those patriots, those NASA astronauts, their willingness to put themselves in harm's way — (scattered applause) — for learning, for — for us.

That's the — it's the nature of the — of the American heart for people to live for something bigger than themself, to give themself to something bigger than themself. [cheers and applause] I think — I think of our — of our young people coming out of school, whether it's high school or college, that decide to put aside a career and — and enlist in the military so they can serve their country. [cheers and applause] I — would — would all those that are veterans or — or members of armed forces please raise your hand and be recognized.

[cheers and applause] Thank you.

I love our — I love our men and women who serve in our military. And I — and I believe very deeply in the truth of the words that are sung in that national hymn of ours, "America the Beautiful," the verse that says, "Oh beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife, who more than self their country and mercy more than life." [applause] Thank you, men and women of our armed forces and our veterans — [cheers and applause] — living for something bigger than themselves.

I think — I think of a single mom right now, raising a child or two or three, that is scrimping herself — for herself so she can put a good meal on the table for her children. I think of the dad who's got a couple of jobs — working two jobs right now so he can afford to buy clothes for his kids that don't make his kids stand out at school. I think of the mom and dad who this Christmas have decided not to exchange gifts because they want to make sure to have enough for their kids to have a good Christmas.

This is — this is who we are. We're a nation that gives of ourselves to things that we love that are greater than us — our families, our faith, the future of our country. We are a patriotic people. We live for large things and we give to large things. [cheers and applause]

And so — and so Nevada — Nevada and Reno and the whole country have a choice to make. It's a choice to make about what we're going to give ourselves to. Whether we're going to be able to provide a great future to our children and to their children. It's a choice about how our families will be affected by the future. I will do everything in my power to keep America strong with strong families, a strong economy that can provide for families, a strong military, second to none in the world. [cheers and applause]

I make that commitment to you, and I need your commitment to me to get out and vote, to get your friends to get out and vote, to make sure that on November 6th, we take America in a new direction that's right for America's families. [cheers and applause]

Thank you so very much. Thank you! Thank you, guys. Thank you. [cheers and applause]

Mitt Romney, Remarks at a Campaign Event in Reno, Nevada Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/315820

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