Mitt Romney photo

Remarks at a Campaign Event in Wayne, Pennsylvania

September 28, 2012

Thank you. Wow. What a welcome. Thank you. Wow. [cheers and applause]

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: [chanting] Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!

MR. ROMNEY: Wow. [cheers and applause] You know, that is — that is one heck of a welcome, I got to tell you, Pennsylvania. [cheers and applause] That's amazing. Thank you so much. Thank you. Now, I — I have to tell you, if anybody's watching this on TV, they're going to be very amazed, and they're going to try and understand how it is so much noise is coming from a group that's hardly moving. I — that — [cheers] — so I — [chuckles] — it is an honor to be with you and to be here with these cadets and to be at this extraordinary place that so many presidents past have visited and, well, a president future is visiting today. [cheers and applause]

I'm — I'm honored to have been introduced by a great United States senator. They don't come better than your senator, Pat Toomey. What a great guy. Thank you, Pat. [cheers and applause]

Congressman Jim Gerlach is here — appreciate his support — his support — and Tom Smith, who's going to become the next U.S. senator that'll join Pat Toomey. [cheers and applause] Appreciate him being here.

Lieutenant Governor Cawley is here. I appreciate his support.

And thank you also to the president of this institution, the — Colonel James Doyle. Appreciate his willingness to open up this room for all of us to come and meet. [applause] It looks like we've — we've filled it to overflowing, as they say. [cheers and applause] Appreciate his hospitality.

And any place — any place that can — that create the — the character of individuals that have been represented by this institution, which have included Norman Schwarzkopf, ass well as Larry Fitzgerald, we appreciate them — [applause] — and acknowledge the accomplishment of this institution.

I appreciate the young and young women who are seated behind me. These are extraordinary people. I appreciate the fact that they're going to be heading off in life, some looking, I imagine, to a career in the military, some instead going on to college, and some actually in college as well, and some going to — on to four-year colleges and coming out looking for jobs.


MR. ROMNEY: And I have to tell you that I don't know how a single person who goes to this institution could consider voting for the incumbent for president. And I say that for this reason. If they want to go in the military, why, he's planning on cutting our military by about a trillion dollars over the next decade. [boos] And if they go — want to go on to either get a job directly or go on to a four-year college and — and come out with a degree, why, you know that 50 percent of kids coming out of college today can't find a job or a college-level job. So on both fronts, this president's policies have not worked for the young people of America.

And one more thing, and that is not only will they have a hard time finding a job, given the economy this president's produced, and not only will they have a military that is becoming devastated in — in the words of the secretary of defense, devastated by these defense cuts; they'll also have hundreds of — well, thousands and thousands of dollars of debt on their shoulders that were amassed by this administration because the president adds about a trillion dollars a year to the national debt.

So these guys, if they keep voting — if anybody who's a young person going to college today keeps voting for the president, why, they get more debt, fewer jobs and a smaller military. I represent a very different course. I'll make sure that the young people of today have great jobs tomorrow and have a bright and prosperous future. That's the difference between us. [cheers and applause]

Now, I'm — it's been a — it's been a bit of a — a coincidence of events over the last few days, but I'm honored to be one more time today in a — in a place that honors the service of our men and women in uniform. I was yesterday in — [cheers and applause] — I was in Springfield — Springfield, Virginia, yesterday and had the chance to be with Colonel Leo Thorsness, who was the recipient of the Medal of Honor. He served our nation in Vietnam, was in a prisoner of war camp for six years. He is an extraordinary leader who helped bring together, for me, some 43 Medal of Honor recipients to support my campaign. Quite a hero. I appreciate him — [cheers and applause] — and appreciated the other soldiers I saw there.

And the — the night before, I was in Toledo, Ohio. And — and as my — my plane was leaving to go to Washington, D.C., and Virginia, there was another plane coming in. It was an honor flight bringing home our veterans who had served in the second world war and the Korean War. They had been in Washington, D.C., and there they had been able to see the memorials in honor of their — their service. And as they came off the plane, one by one, I got the chance to shake their hands and express my appreciation for their service.

As they go from me back into the building that was going to have a celebration in their honor, they had to walk through a long pathway where, on each side, men and women holding American flags were standing, cheering on these veterans as they — as they walked by.

At the end of the — the long trail of veterans came those that were on wheelchairs. And the last men and women that came down were brought down a long ramp on their wheelchair. The second to the last individual was a second world war veteran, pretty — pretty senior. And when he came down, I shook his hand. And — and then they began to wheel him through this long alley of — of flags. And he stopped the person. As I recall, it was a young woman. He stopped her for a moment, said, wait a second, and — and then he reached in, with some difficulty, and then pulled out a little American flag and began waving that flag.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Aww! [applause]

MR. ROMNEY: We are a — we're a nation of patriots. We love this country. We recognize that the principles upon which this country was founded, that those principles distinguish us as an exceptional nation. We recognize that when the founders said that our rights came not from the king, not from government but from God, that changed everything. [cheers and applause]

One of our — one of our national hymns says it well, in my view: O beautiful, for heroes proved in liberating strife, who more than self their country loved and mercy more than life. For all of you who've served in our military, would you please raise your hand? And those that are also in the military today, please raise your hand and be recognized. [cheers and applause] Thank you. [applause]

Now, about a year ago I had the opportunity to speak at the citadel in South Carolina where also I know their military academy was training young people to consider a career in the military. And just like this group of cadets behind me, they didn't move when I told my jokes, so I didn't — [laughter] — I learned not to worry about that. But — but at that address that I gave there, I — I said a number of things that I thought were important.

One was that this next century, the one we're now in, must be an American century. And by that I mean that America must continue to lead the free world, and the free world must continue to lead the entire world. There are other models out there, and there are people around the world wondering, should we follow America and the model of freedom with opportunity that's presented by economic freedom and personal freedom and economic freedom? Or should we instead follow the model of a nation like China, for instance, whose economy is growing? Do you understand that China's economy is growing at about 7 (percent) or 8 percent, Russia's economy is growing at 4 percent, and our economy is growing at 1.3 percent? [boos] Yeah.

We're in a very different road than what I think the people of the world expected from the United States of America. And if I'm elected president of this country, I will get us back on a road of growth and prosperity and strength. [cheers and applause]

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: [chanting] Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!

MR. ROMNEY: Now, as — as we've seen over the last year, the world needs American leadership. (Murmurs of approval.) I think we — we look around and we say, why is it we're at the mercy of events? Why are we not shaping events? [cheers] And — and — and the other day — I mean, the other day the president said that, you know, he has a vision for what's going to happen in the Middle East, but that there are going to be bumps in the road along the way. [boos]

You know, I — I don't consider 20(,000) or 30,000 people dying in Syria just a bump in the road or — or — or a Muslim Brotherhood president in — in Egypt a bump in the road. I don't consider the — the killing of our diplomats in — in Libya as a bump in the road. And I sure as heck don't consider Iran becoming nuclear a bump in the road. We need someone who recognizes the seriousness of what's ahead and is willing to lead. [cheers and applause]

The administration — the administration has — has characterized their — their foreign policy as leading from behind. I call that following. [laughter] It's time for America to lead, and we will lead again. [cheers and applause]

Now it's difficult — it's difficult to lead the world if we have an economy that's not thriving and putting people to work. It's difficult to lead the world when you have a president deciding to cut our military commitment by a trillion dollars — that's a thousand billion dollars — over the next decade. The secretary of defense, as I said, has called that a devastating series of cuts to our military. Do you realize that our Navy is older and — excuse me — it is smaller — our Navy is smaller in terms of the number of ships at any time since 1917.


MR. ROMNEY: And our — our Air Force is older and smaller than any time since it was founded, in 1947, and yet we continue to take funding out of our military. This idea of a trillion dollars in cuts to our military is wrong. When I'm elected president of the United States, we'll restore our military. [cheers and applause] We will not cut our military commitment. [cheers and applause]

And let me — let me — let me note, not coincidentally, that someone has calculated how many jobs will be lost in Pennsylvania if those trillion dollars in cuts go through; it's 39,000 jobs. We can't afford that. So I — we recognize the consequence of what the president's doing is severe for the people in Pennsylvania, it's severe for the entire nation, and in fact, because of the world's demand for American leadership, it's severe for the entire world.

I know what it takes to get this country going again. The president — [cheers and applause] — the president wants to go down the same path he's been on for the last four years. He wants to keep the status quo. I don't think we can afford four more years like the last four years.


MR. ROMNEY: The president calls his campaign slogan "Forward." I call it "forewarned," all right? We know where it heads; we don't want to go there. [cheers and applause]

The president thinks we need another stimulus. How did that last stimulus work out? Not so well.


MR. ROMNEY: The president wants to grow government. I think government should be smaller, not bigger. I don't want it to take more from us. [cheers and applause]

There's one — there's one new agenda item the president has. Of course, he raised taxes with "Obamacare," but he's got another tax in mind. He wants to raise the income tax. I don't want to raise taxes on the American people, not when our economy's in the kind of trouble it's in. I will not raise taxes on middle-income Americans. [cheers and applause]

And, of course — and of course the president wants to continue to be able to take your tax dollars and — he calls it invest it — invest it where he thinks it will do best, all right? He likes to pick winners and losers, although his experience is mostly picking losers.


MR. ROMNEY: Look, he takes your money and puts it into Solyndra and Fisker and Tesla and — and Ener1 and — one after the other, these things.

Look, it is not government that guides our economy. Our economy does not run because we have bureaucrats telling us what to invest in or what jobs to have. [cheers and applause] What our economy runs on is free people pursuing their dreams. That's what makes America works. [cheers and applause]

And I've got a plan. I've got a — a plan to help free people pursue their dreams and get this economy going. And the good news is this: It'll create 12 million jobs putting Americans back to work again. And by the way, as we have those 12 million jobs created, you're going to find competition among employers trying to hire the best people. And so wages are going to go up again. Take-home pay is going to go up again. [cheers and applause]

We've had — we've had four years — we've had four years where take-home pay goes down. That's the wrong way. We can't continue — did you see that median income in America has dropped by some $4,000 over the last four years? Median income is about $50,000 bucks. You drop that by $4,000, thinks — think what that does to American families. Think how difficult it is for them to be able to put food on the table at the end of the week. This is just not right. The president's policies have not worked. My policies to create 12 million jobs will bring more take-home pay, more hope and more prosperity for every family in America. [cheers and applause]

And there are five things — there are five things that I'll do. Number one — to get this economy going, five steps — number one: Take advantage of our energy, our coal, our oil, our gas, our nuclear, our renewables. [cheers and applause] And — and by the way, that's not just a slogan. I know what I'm going to do. I'm going to double the number of permits and licenses we give for drilling on federal land and federal waters. [cheers and applause]

I'm going to make sure we have regulations that keep our air and our water clean, but I'm not going to have regulators keep us from being able to use our coal. It's a resource we must be able to continue to use. [cheers and applause]

And we're going to get that pipeline from Canada if I have to build it myself. [cheers and applause]

Now number two, I want trade to work for us. I want trade to work for us. I want to open up new markets for us to have trade and to sell our goods. They often create paying — higher-paying jobs than even the domestic jobs. So I want more trade for us.

But when nations cheat like China has cheated, I will stop it. We've got to do that. [cheers and applause]

Number three — number three, our workers need the skills to succeed. I want training programs that do that. We have 47 different federal training programs, eight different agencies. Think of the overhead, the redundancy, the ineffectiveness. I want to take that money that's being spent by Washington, bundle it up and send it back to Pennsylvania and say, you create your own programs — [cheers and applause] — that work best for your own people.

And I want our kids — I want our kids in public schools to be able to get the very best education, the kind of education that these men and women have fought to get themselves. I want them to have terrific schools that are the best in the world. We're not there today. It's time for us to put our kids and their parents and the teachers first and put the union behind. [cheers and applause]

Number four — number four, to create good jobs, we have to make sure that entrepreneurs know and that businesses large and small know that we're not on the road to Greece, and therefore I will cut federal spending, I'll cap it and finally get us on track to a balanced budget.

[cheers and applause]

And number five, number five, I want to champion small business. I want small business to have a boost from America. [cheers] I want to keep — I want to keep our taxes down on small business. I want regulations to be updated and as small as they can be for small business.

And by the way, I want to take that big cloud off of the small-business world that's hanging over them. Three-quarters of them say they don't want to hire more people because of this cloud. And that cloud is "Obamacare." We're going to repeal it and replace it. [cheers and applause]

America — America has a very — a very dramatic choice it can make. We can keep going down the same road we're on, and if we go down the road we're on, we're headed for a weaker and weaker economy, with fewer people being able to get jobs than the people — that really need them. We're going to see kids coming out of school not able to get the jobs they need. That's the path we're on. That's the path of the status quo the president's fighting for. We do not want four more years of where we've been.

I represent a very different path. I will restore America's strength, I'll put America back to work, and I'll keep our military so strong no one would ever think of testing America's military might. [cheers and applause]

Now, this matters. I know you're here because you know this matters. You're not here just to say hi to me. I'm a nice guy, but that's not why you're here. [laughter] You're not here just because you're Republicans or conservative, even though most of you are. I know why you're here. You're concerned about America.


MR. ROMNEY: I'm — I'm concerned about America. I'm concerned about the path this president's put America on. I know where it leads. It leads to where Greece and Italy and Spain are. That's a road we've got to get off of as fast as we can. I'm going to get this country on a very different road. [cheers and applause]

It matters for the 23 million Americans that are fighting to get a better job. It — it matters for the young people coming along that wonder whether they're going to get stuck with our bills and no jobs at the end of their education.

It also matters for the world. I was with Lech Walesa a number of weeks ago, a great hero in Poland, and — [cheers and applause] — and I came in to see him. He said, you must be tired, you came from America. You sit, I talk, you listen. And — [laughter] — so I sat, and — and he began to speak. And he said this time and again: Where is American leadership? The world needs American leadership. You're the only superpower on the planet. Where is your leadership? And then he'd talk about the Middle East or some other corner of the world and then repeat again, where is American leadership?

Look, we can't be leading from behind. America must lead, and that begins with strong homes and values and commitment to our values. (Scattered cheers.) It — it — it includes a strong economy, a strong economy that puts us to work and that can fuel a military that's so strong the world looks at it with increasing — increasing respect.

I will strengthen America. We will make sure America leads in our homes, in our economy and in our military. I need something from you. That's my commitment to you. I need you to go out and find someone who voted for Barack Obama and get him to vote for me, all right? [cheers and applause]

So — you know what, I've got a little secret here, and that is that the Obama campaign thinks that Pennsylvania is in their pocket. They don't even worry about it. [boos]


MR. ROMNEY: And you're right, and they're wrong. We're going to win Pennsylvania, and we're going to take the White House. [cheers and applause] Thank you so very much. Thank you. (Sustained cheers, applause.)

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

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