Mitt Romney photo

Remarks at a Campaign Event in Sidney, Ohio

October 10, 2012

Thank you. Wow.

Thank you, Governor John Kasich, for that introduction. Thank you. And my son Josh — what a great guy, huh? [cheers and applause] And thank you to Collin Raye for entertaining everybody this evening. What a great entertainer. Thank you, Collin; appreciate it. [cheers and applause]

Wow, this is quite a crowd. That's an Ohio welcome. Thank you, guys. Great to be here. [cheers and applause]

You know, I've been — I've been seeing some of these rallies for the opposition on TV, and they typically have a chant, "Four more years, four more years." But I checked my calendar. I think it's — four more weeks is a better chant, don't you think? [cheers and applause] This is —

(Chants of "Four More Weeks! Four More Weeks!")

Thanks, you guys. Look, I'm overwhelmed by the number of people here. There are even people out there. That's another county over there, but I appreciate — appreciate the chance to see you way out there. Thanks so much for being here.

I know there's a lot of interest in the campaign these days. People are concerned about what's happening in our country. They want to see better times ahead. And they're coming. I know that a lot of folks are struggling; 23 million people out of work, looking for a better job, struggling to get a better job.

We see one out of six families in poverty; even those that have work, having some tough times, because incomes have come down. The last four years, the median income in America has dropped by $4,300 a family. And with median income around 50,000 bucks, that's a huge drop. And the president promised that he'd get health insurance premiums down $2,500 a family. They're up $2,500 a family. That's a $5,000 difference.

Middle-income families are struggling. Gasoline prices — you've seen those — doubled since he's been president, or more. And these have been tough times.

The president's answer to this is to say he's going to save Big Bird. [laughter] My view is it's time to have a president that'll save the American family and help people across this country have a bright and prosperous future. [cheers and applause]

I've been saying that I don't think we can afford four more years of, well, the last kind of four years we've had. I think people recognize there's a high cost to reelecting President Obama. If we were to reelect him, we'd see chronic unemployment continue. We'd see high gasoline prices continue. We'd see incomes continue to go down. We'd see the kind of fiscal crisis happening here that's happening elsewhere.

We can't afford four more years of Barack Obama. And the key thing I want people across Ohio to understand and to ask themselves, as you go into the voting booth, as you vote, is can we really afford the cost of Barack Obama? And the answer is no.

Now, we had a debate about a week ago, as you may know. [cheers and applause] It was a good experience. [cheers and applause] And it was a chance for people to see what we actually believe, as opposed to just seeing what's on TV in the ads, which don't always characterize accurately our views. And we heard what the president had to say and people heard what I had to say. And they're pretty starkly different.

We both care very deeply about helping the middle class in America and helping get people out of poverty and into the middle class. But our pathways for how to do that couldn't be more different.

He, for instance, wants to raise taxes from 35 percent to 40 percent on about a million of the small businesses in our country. I want to lower taxes on small business to create more jobs. [cheers and applause]

He wants to put in place a more expensive death tax, which, of course, would make it a heck of a lot harder for people to pass farms on to the coming generation. My view is we ought to get rid of the death tax altogether. It's simply not fair. [cheers and applause]

He wants to raise the tax on savings. He wants to make it more expensive to save your money. My view is if you're middle class, making $200,000 a year and less, there should be no tax on interest, dividends or capital gains. Let people save their money without having to pay tax on it. [cheers and applause]

On the export front, you realize, of course — and I know a number of you are in the agricultural community — 23 million American jobs count on agriculture. It's a huge part of our economy. About a million jobs depend on export of agricultural products. And over the last four years, the president has signed no new trade agreements, no new opportunities for America to sell goods outside our nation.

We can compete. Our farmers can compete. Our manufacturers can compete with anyone in the world. But he hasn't opened up these markets for us. I will go to work to get trade promotion authority to open up new trade for America so we can compete on a fair basis across the world and create more jobs here. [cheers and applause]

Now, the president has described his energy policy. He says one thing, but you can look at his record. It's pretty different, because he's been in office for four years and he has cut in about half the permits and licenses that go on federal lands for putting in place oil wells, drilling, whether it's on federal lands, by the way, or federal waters.

My own view is we ought to double the licenses on federal lands and in federal waters for drilling. [cheers and applause] And I want to make sure we drill up in Alaska as well. And I want to get that pipeline in from Canada to take advantage of those resources. [cheers and applause]

His policies will lead to what he said when he was campaigning four years ago. He said, look, if my policies get put in place, the cost of energy will skyrocket. Well, America's farmers can't afford those skyrocketing energy prices. And I'm going to go to work to get North American energy independence so we can have confidence in our future when it comes to energy. [cheers and applause]

There's another place we think very differently. That's with regards to the military. The president has cut the military budget by about half a trillion dollars, and then, through his sequestration idea, another half a trillion on top. The secretary of defense has said these kind of cuts would be devastating.

I will not cut our military commitment. Our military must be second to none. [cheers and applause]

And then there was one more area we talked about differences, and that had to do with jobs and the economy and how to get the economy going. You heard the president's answer. It's basically a continuation of what we've seen over the past four years. He calls it forward. I call it forewarned. (Laughter.


He's in favor of another stimulus. How'd the first stimulus work? He wants to hire more government workers. Nothing wrong with government workers, but that's not going to create jobs across America and get us back to work with higher incomes.

He says he also wants to raise taxes. That sure as heck doesn't create jobs. That kills jobs. His tax plan is estimated to cost about 700,000 jobs. My tax plan creates 7 million jobs. So we have very different views. [cheers and applause]

My plan — my plan to get us working again has five key parts, and I mentioned some of them already: Number one, take advantage of coal, oil, gas, nuclear, renewables. Get America strong when it comes to energy. [cheers and applause]

And let us also remember those miners who are trapped. You've heard about that, two miners trapped today in a collapse at a mine. Apparently they're safe. Is that right, Governor, we believe at this stage? Let us keep them in our prayers and thoughts. We want them to come out safely and well.

But we're going to become energy-secure. And, by the way, that creates not just jobs in the energy sector, but also in manufacturing. I was today at a place that makes compressors, great — these monstrous compressors, like four or five bales of hay in a row, great big compressors.

I said what do you use them for? They said, well, you know, when natural gas comes out of the ground, it doesn't naturally flow in a pipe. You've got to push it. You've got to compress it. So they make compressors that push that natural gas.

There's a lot of manufacturing associated with our energy sector. And there are a lot of manufacturers that use energy as a major component in their product. And so having low-cost energy will bring back manufacturing jobs. We've lost over half a million manufacturing jobs during President Obama's term. I want to bring manufacturing back to this country, and energy is one way we'll do it.

Number two, trade. I mentioned trade. I want to open up more trade, particularly in Latin America. Latin America has an economy almost the size of China. We're all very excited about the opportunities in China, but don't forget the folks right next door and the advantage we have next door. And, by the way, when China cheats in trade and steals our jobs unfairly, we're going to finally say no and take them — make them accountable. [cheers and applause]

Number three, we've got to make sure our training programs work for the workers of today and the jobs they need. Do you know there are 47 different federal training programs, 47, reporting to eight different federal agencies? Think of all the overhead, all the bureaucracy.

I want to take all the dollars that are spent at these federal training programs and bundle up Ohio's fair share and make sure it comes back to Ohio so Ohio can use it to get jobs for the people in Ohio that need those jobs. [cheers and applause]

Number four, we're going to get a balanced budget. We can't keep on spending more than we take in. It's killing our future. The president's spending too much. I think it's morally wrong for us to spend our kids' future as we're doing. And I'm going to cap federal spending. I'm going to cut federal spending and get us on track to that balanced budget.

And number five, I'm going to champion small business. [cheers and applause] I want to make it easier for small businesses to grow — small businesses, where two thirds of our jobs are created. And when I go across the country and talk to small business folks, they say sometimes they feel that the government is their enemy, not their ally.

I want them to understand that the role of government is to protect our freedoms, to make it easier for enterprisers to get out and begin their businesses and to put people to work. I want regulators to see their job as creating regulations that make markets work, that don't crush the entrepreneurs. I want taxes to be low for entrepreneurs, for people who are building jobs. And, by the way, I want to make sure that "Obamacare" gets out of the way of creating jobs. [cheers and applause]

I want you to know how confident I am in the future. America is an extraordinary nation. We've faced great challenges. But over the last four years, we have not had the kind of strong leadership we needed in Washington to take on our challenges.

Time and again, the president's told us he'd take on some of these things, but hasn't. And then he turns around and tries to blame others. Congress won't get together. Congress won't get together unless there's a strong leader that puts them together. He won't. He hasn't. I will. [cheers and applause]

My confidence in the future comes from the fact that I go across the country and I'm inspired by the people I meet. It's quite a nation.

I was at the Republican convention a few weeks ago and met Jane Horton — Jane, a wonderful woman; her husband a sharpshooter in the Army, sent over to Afghanistan. She's packing up a package for him with some birthday goodies when she gets a knock at the door and learns that he's been killed in Afghanistan. And her reaction is not to become depressed and despondent, but actually to go to work and try and help other families that have lost loved ones in conflict.

And at the time of the funeral of her husband, when his remains were brought back, she was asked what she thought about the people who were there, because this was a time when some of those misguided people were showing up at the funerals of our military officers, military personnel, and protesting.

And she said this. She said — they asked her, what do you think about these people protesting at your husband's funeral? And she said Chris died so people like them can protest.

This is the character of America. We're a big-hearted people. We recognize the greatness of the Constitution and the principles upon which this nation was founded. The president seems to be changing America in ways that many of us don't recognize, making us more and more like Europe. I don't want to become like Europe. Europe doesn't work there. I want America to become more like America. I want to restore the principles that made us the nation we are. [cheers and applause]

(Chants of "USA! USA! USA!")

I'm inspired — I'm inspired by men like Christopher Horton, her husband, and his willingness to serve his country. Would those who are in our armed forces or our veterans please raise your hands so we can recognize you? Thank you. Wow. [cheers and applause] Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

O beautiful, for heroes proved in liberating strife, who more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life. We appreciate our men and women in uniform from today and from the past, and for tomorrow — for tomorrow.

Let me tell you also just an experience I had that reminded me of something about the American character, our pioneering spirit, our willingness to sacrifice for the future, our willingness to reach out and make a difference in the life of others.

This happened to be a — some years ago I was in my home state of Massachusetts and I was attending a Boy Scout court of honor. And there's a Boy Scout back there. [laughter] And a court of honor, for those that are not familiar with it, it's a place where young men who are ready to receive an Eagle are awarded their Eagle, and others who are getting other merit recognitions are able to do so.

I was one of the kind of civilian leaders in our scout program, so I was kind of in the front of the room. They had some formica tables set out, and I was at the far end of the formica table next to the American flag there. And the person who got up to speak at the event was a scoutmaster from Monument, Colorado. And he got up and he talked about his scout troops and how they wanted to have a special American flag. And so they purchased one with gold tassels around the outside.

And they had it flown above their state capitol, as I recall. They sent it also to Washington to have it flown above the Capitol building in Washington. And when it came back, the boys said, hey, one more thing. We'd like it to go on the shuttle, the space shuttle. And so they contacted NASA and said, hey, would you take our flag on the space shuttle? And I'm sure NASA said to them, hey, space is at a premium in space, all right. You can't — we can't just sort of take everybody's souvenirs.

But they relented and they took these boys' flag on the mission and put it in a plastic container, along with, I guess, some coins and metals that other troops and other groups had given them to take on this journey. And the scoutmaster said the boys were so proud as they were in their various homerooms at schools watching the rocket take off and the shuttle go off into the space. And then they saw it explode before their eyes. This was that tragedy that occurred in the Challenger mission.

And he said that he called NASA a couple of weeks later and said have you found any remnant of our flag? We'd like to keep it in memory of those people who sacrificed for our great nation. And they said, no, I'm sorry, we haven't found anything from the flag. And he said he called every week from about — as I recall, it was from, like, February till May or June, just called and called and called every week or so, and every week they said no.

And then about September he said he was reading an article in a paper and it talked about the debris that had been found from the Challenger disaster, and it mentioned something about a flag. So he called NASA and, in fact, they had found a remnant of his flag, of the Boy Scouts' flag.

And so the Boy Scouts and NASA came together and he said we were presented with a plastic container. And we opened that container, and there was our flag in perfect condition. And then he said, and there it is on the flagpole here at the end of the formica table next to Mitt Romney.

And I looked over at that flag and I pulled it out, and it was like electricity was running through my arms as I thought about where that flag had been and I thought about the men and women who sacrificed, who put themselves in danger in exploring space, trying to provide more knowledge for the American people.

It's who we are. We're a people given to great causes. We live our lives for things bigger than ourself, whether in the military, whether in a home with a single mom who's trying to raise a kid or two or three, whether it's a dad who's taking on multiple jobs. In all sorts of ways, Americans give themself for something bigger than themself.

That flag represents that to me. It suggests to me greatness in the American spirit, in the American heart. I know that America's going to come back in every way we must to continue to lead the world. It's our turn. It's our turn as young people here. I call myself young. I'm only 65. [laughter]

You see, the greatest generation gave us this nation. They sacrificed to give us a land with prosperity and freedom, and they held aloft a torch for the world to see, a torch of freedom and hope and opportunity. But there are not as many in the greatest generation as there used to be, and those that are here can't hold the torch as high as they used to. And so it is our turn to take that torch and hold it aloft for the world to see.

We need a strong America with strong values in our homes, with a commitment to principles greater than ourself. We need an economy that's so strong it can provide for our families, and also so strong it can provide for a military that can protect our interests and protect our friends.

I commit, with all my energy, to keeping America strong, to rebuilding the principles in our homes and our communities that lead to a strong economy, to getting our economy working as it should again, and to building a military second to none in the world. These things I will do.

And I need your help. I need your help. [cheers and applause] I need you. I need you to go out and find neighbors who voted for Barack Obama and to get them to come join our team. [cheers and applause] I need you to go out and find people and get them to vote. Get them to vote absentee. Get people voting.

This is a critical election. Ohio could well be the place that elects the next president of the United States. I need you to do that job. [cheers and applause] We're going to win together. We're taking back America. We're going to make sure she remains the hope of the earth.

Thank you so very much. You guys are the very best. Thank you. Thanks so much. [cheers and applause]

Mitt Romney, Remarks at a Campaign Event in Sidney, Ohio Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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