Remarks with Ann Romney at a Campaign Event in Port St. Lucie, Florida
[cheers and applause]
MITT ROMNEY: Thank you. Thank you Thank you.
AUDIENCE: [chanting] Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!
MR. ROMNEY: Thank you, Congressman West, and thank you, Attorney General Bondi. Your welcome here today has warmed Ann and my heart. This is a — an extraordinary sight to see all of you gathered here today in Port St. Lucie. We're going to win Florida. We're going to take back the White House. [cheers and applause]
Now, I have with me today someone who I met in elementary school. I didn't notice her terribly much in elementary school, but I did notice her when she was just about 16, in high school. We went to a party at a friend's house, and she went with someone else. I happened to see her there. I went to the fellow she came with and I said, look, I live closer to Ann's house than you do; why don't I give her a ride home for you? (Laughter, cheers.) And he agreed, and we've been going steady ever since. Please say hi to the next first lady, Ann Romney. [cheers and applause]
ANN ROMNEY: I get — I get the feeling when I look out at this crowd that we are going to win Florida. [cheers and applause]
I've spent many wonderful winters in — Christmastime especially, down here, escaping the cold of Boston, when my parents were living in Stuart, Florida.
[cheers and applause] And my brother also lived in Stuart for about 10 years, so I'm very familiar with this part of the country. It's a great and wonderful place.
And you folks are going to make all the difference in the future of this country by voting in November to replace Barack Obama. [cheers and applause]
We've come off a great week, a great debate, a great convention. And the one thing that I've appreciated more than anything else at the convention and also at the debate was a chance for the American to people — what the chance they got to see my husband as I see him: a good and decent person — [cheers and applause] — that throughout his life has exhibited his care for others. And now we're going to get a chance for him to really care for others because we're going to have the chance to see him get people back to work again. [cheers and applause]
Thank you. So I'm thrilled to be here. What an honor it is. And thank you all very much. And I'll let you hear from the next president of the United States. [cheers and applause]
MR. ROMNEY: Thank you, Ann.
You know — [cheers] — we had a little debate earlier this week, and I enjoyed myself. [cheers and applause] This was a — this was a good opportunity for the president and I to talk to each other about the issues that people care about. It was a debate of substance. The — the moderator, Jim Lehrer, I thought, did a nice job of raising topics for us to each discuss. And we spoke about those things. I got the chance to ask — or to ask some of the questions that people across America have wanted to ask the president.
I asked him, for instance, why it was that with 23 million Americans out of work or struggling to find a good job, he spent his first two years fighting for "Obamacare" instead of fighting for them. And — (mixed cheers and boos, applause) — I — I got to ask him why it was, was gasoline prices almost twice as high as when he took office, he spent his time cutting in half the number of permits and licenses for drilling oil and gas in this country. I got to ask him as well why, with — with huge deficits, he spent $90 billion investing in companies like Solyndra. I got to — [booing] — I — I got to ask him why, with —
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Criminals!
MR. ROMNEY: — with this — with him having said in the past that these levels of deficits that he'd seen in the past were considered un-American by him, why he doubled those deficits and put in place almost as much debt held by the public as all the prior presidents combined. And then of course I had one last question, and that was why it was that when he ran for office, he promised that by this year, health insurance premiums would be down by $2,500 a family, but instead, they're up by $2,500 a family. [boos] And don't — don't forget, with the median family income in America at $50,000 a year, that $5,000 difference is a huge difference to the American people.
And so I'm convinced that you all had the chance to hear his — his answers or his nonanswers. [laughter] Now, of course, days later we're hearing his excuses. And next January we'll be watching him leave the White House for the last time. [cheers and applause]
Now, we did — we did agree in some areas. One area we agreed upon was that we're going to take two very different views about where America would go. My path is very different than the path that he would pursue. His path, for instance, would continue to raise deficits larger. We'd have deficits of a trillion dollars a year for each of the next four years. That would lead to national debt of roughly $20 trillion. I'm convinced that would crush the American dream for our children. I think it's both wrong economically; I think it's immoral. My path is instead to cut federal spending, to cap federal spending and get us on track to a balanced budget. [cheers and applause]
Now, he also made it very clear they plan on raising taxes. You — you probably heard the vice president. He blurted out the truth again this week. And — [laughter] — he said they're — they are in fact going to raise taxes by a trillion dollars. Actually, with "Obamacare," it really becomes $2 trillion. That of course will make it harder for small businesses to hire people and to employ people. It'll make it harder for middle-income families.
By the way, a study came out this week that showed with all his spending and all his borrowing and all the interest on that debt that he will ultimately have to raise taxes on middle-income families by $4,000 a year.
This commitment I make to you: I will not raise taxes on middle-class families. [cheers and applause]
He will — if he is re-elected, he will install "Obamacare" and with it your premiums are going to go up an extra $2,500 above what they already are in your current health care plan. [boos]
AUDIENCE MEMBER: No!
MR. ROMNEY: That's according to the Congressional Budget Office.
My plan is that I will finally get control of the excessive costs in health care by repealing and replacing "Obamacare" with real reforms. [cheers and applause]
And then you see that big sign behind me. Well, you could kind of see that big sign behind me. [laughter] You saw it earlier. The president admitted that under "Obamacare," under his plan, he is cutting $716 billion from Medicare. [boos] And by the way, that accounts to — for $44 billion right here in Florida. It would mean that 540,000 Floridians would lose Medicare Advantage. [boos]
I can tell you this: When Paul Ryan is elected vice president, I'm elected president, we'll restore that money to Medicare and honor the promise made to our seniors. [cheers and applause]
And then — then there was his jobs plan. He was asked how he'd get the economy going and he basically said it's the status quo. He's going to keep doing what he's been doing. He wants another stimulus. How'd the first one work out? [boos] He — he wants to hire more government workers. He wants to pick winners and losers between Solyndra and so — actually, losers, in his case — [laughter] — and we know where that leads. We've seen the last four years. We don't want four more years like the last four years. [cheers and applause]
I have a plan. I have a plan that takes advantage of the extraordinary opportunity that exists in America right now, that's going to get this economy going and create jobs, jobs and more jobs — 12 million jobs, in specific.
And they are, number, one take advantage of our oil, our coal, our gas, our nuclear, our renewables. [cheers and applause] The estimate is that we'll get 3.5 (million) to 4 million new jobs, not just in the energy sector but also in manufacturing and other sectors as our energy is low-cost and abundant. That's number one.
Number two, we're going to make trade work for us by opening up markets, particularly in Latin America. And we're going to crack down on any nation that cheats on trade like China's been cheating. [cheers and applause]
Number three, we're going to make sure our workers have the skills they need to succeed, so we're going to take our training programs and — programs in Washington, of which there are 47 that report to eight agencies. Think of all the overhead and the waste. I'm going to take the money that comes from that, I'm going to give Florida its fair share and say, Florida, you train your people in the way you think best for the jobs in Florida. [cheers and applause]
And — and for the skills of tomorrow, we've got to makes sure that people across this country learn some of the lessons that have been taught right here in Florida by your great governor Jeb Bush. He did a great job in education. [cheers and applause]
He grades schools in Florida, A through F, so you know which schools are doing well and which are not, and if a school fails consistently, why, then kids are given a choice to go to another school. We're going to make sure that nationally we grade our schools and we finally give parents and children the choice to choose their own school. And by the way, the key to education is going to be this: Put the kids and their parents and the teachers first, and teachers union behind. [cheers and applause]
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Romney — [inaudible].
MR. ROMNEY: Number four, you're not going to get — you're not going to get small businesses to grow and thrive or big businesses to grow if they think we're on the road to Greece, and that's why it's so critical that we finally balance our budget. I'll do that.
And number five, one more, we have to champion small business. That's where jobs come from. [cheers and applause] We've got to help small-business people. I'm going to keep their taxes down. The president's tax plan will kill 700,000 jobs, mostly in small business. My plan will help create 7 million jobs — my tax plan. I'm going to keep the taxes down on small business. I'm going to get regulators to encourage small business, not crush them. And we're going to take that big cloud that kills jobs away from small business. We're going to get rid of "Obamacare." [cheers and applause] These things will get this economy going.
Now I'm optimistic. I want you to know that great days are ahead. America's greatest days are not in the past. It may be a little cloudy today, but the sunshine is coming through, guys — [cheers and applause] — for this country. I've had the occasion throughout my life to see something about the — the great qualities of the human spirit exhibited in the American people time and time again.
I know something about great human beings in this country. It's that that gives me the confidence that our future will be so bright, because I've seen how Americans respond to challenge and even to tragedy.
I was — I was in Atlanta for an event not terribly long ago. And — and one of my classmates from business school was there. He had been involved in an accident a few years ago and had become quadriplegic — could only move his — his face and mouth. And — and he has to be moved around in a wheelchair. And yet he, on a hot day, had made the effort to — to be there in a crowd, to — to cheer one of his classmates.
And it touched my heart to see him. I — I motioned to him to come forward. I saw a — a parting where he was coming through, people moving aside so they could get his — his chair up close to the front, and he came up. And I put my hand on his shoulder. And I recalled all that he'd been doing over the last several years. Despite — despite his great tragedy, he'd stayed involved in his businesses and had devoted himself to spinal — spinal cord research so that other people wouldn't suffer the same kind of tragic loss of — of his ability as — as he had suffered.
So I put my hand on his shoulder, and I — and I reached over, and I said, Billy , I love you, and God bless you. It was a great occasion to say hi to my good friend. And he passed away the next day.
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Oh!
MR. ROMNEY: And — and I thought, what a blessing it was for me to see him on that last — on that last day and acknowledge to him my respect for him.
It reminded me of an experience I had some years before. I was serving as a pastor in my congregation at church. And a — and a — a young fellow ward named David Obrowski — his parents from Medford, Massachusetts, his dad a firefighter, his mom, a stay-at-home mom. They raised their two sons. But at age 14 David contracted leukemia and became very, very ill. It was clear that — that there was no good conclusion to this leukemia. It was very severe and fast-moving.
I — I used to visit their home regularly. And one — one day he asked me to come into his room without his parents. And I sat down next to him. And he said — he said, what happens next? And I spoke with him about what I believe happens next. And some weeks later when he was in the hospital and — and things were quite severe, he got in touch with me and asked me if I'd come to the hospital.
He said, you know, you're — you went to law school, right? And I said, yes. He said, I — I'd like you to write a will for me. And — and so I got a big piece of legal pad, and — and he proceeded to describe the things he wanted to give away: his stakeboard, his fishing rod, who that'd go to, and, of course, his rifle to his brother.
This is a boy who had courage. I didn't see him waiver. I saw strength in his eyes. I was reminded some years later when I saw that — that vision on TV: clear eyes, full heart, can't lose. David can't lose. I love the greatness of the soul of the American people.
I — I was at the Republican convention here just a few weeks ago in Tampa and got a chance to — to meet a young woman named Jane Horton from Oklahoma. Her husband went off to serve in Afghanistan. And on the day she was packaging up a birthday package for him, she received a knock at the door and was told that her husband had been killed there.
At the — at the funeral for her husband, there were those misguided protesters — remember that, when these protesters — (jeers) — would show up at the funerals of — of our servicemen and women — and — and came to that service for her husband. And — and people asked her, the media asked her, what do you think about these people protesting at your husband's funeral? And she said this, and I quote, Chris died for them to be able to protest. [cheers and applause] This is — this is our nation. (This is ?) the American people. I've seen the heart of the American people.
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: [chanting] USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!
MR. ROMNEY: I love this country. I love those people. I believe in America. I believe in you. I believe in our fellow citizens. I believe we're going to take back this country and make it strong again, do what we have to do to provide a bright future for our families. [cheers and applause]
And I commit to you this: I will do everything in my power to draw on that greatness of the American people to make us more united as a people, to have us pull together, to reach across the aisle and find good Democrats in the House and the Senate that care deeply about America just as I do. I know they're there. I know they'll work together if they have leadership that will actually work and share credit and find ways to solve our great challenges. I know that's going to happen. I'm looking forward to the chance to be in Washington as a leader to get America on track again. I commit to you I will keep this nation strong. [cheers and applause]
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!
MR. ROMNEY: I love the strength of this country, the greatness of our heart, the greatness of those who serve — our men and women in military. Would all those who are veterans or those that are active duty please raise your hand and be recognized by the audience — wow. [cheers and applause]
I love those words in one of our national hymns: "O beautiful for heroes prov'd, In liberating strife, Who more than self their country lov'd, And mercy more than life." This is a great nation.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Amen.
MR. ROMNEY: I was in Poland a few weeks ago and got to meet with Lech Walesa, a world hero. I came in; he said, Mr. Romney, you've come a long distance. You sit. I'll talk. You listen. [laughter]
So I did. [laughter] I sat down and he said this: Where's American leadership? The world needs American leadership. [cheers] America is the only superpower on the planet; we need America to lead. And then he spoke about various places in the world, and each description of one place or another he would reiterate, where's American leadership?
I commit to you: I will be a leader. When I'm president, I will take the care that it takes to rebuild our principles and restore the principles that made America so strong. [cheers and applause]
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!
MR. ROMNEY: I will do what it takes to restore a strong — a strong and vibrant economy that can care for our families and can care for a military second to none. And I will keep our military so strong no one would ever think of testing it. [cheers and applause]
This is our time. This is our time.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: This is your time!
MR. ROMNEY: This is a time for all of us together.
I was at Memorial Day — I was in San Diego, a great — a great military town, a Navy town, a Marine town, and I was there for the celebration of Memorial Day. I was on a state giving a speech, and there were three or four — I think four members of the armed services, veterans who had served in the Second World War.
The one closest to me had been the lookout on the USS Tennessee in Pearl Harbor on the day of the attack. He said his eyes locked on the eyes of the pilot bringing in the armament that would hit their ships. He was injured in the blast, but went on to serve for 33 more years in the U.S. Navy.
And — [cheers and applause] — these men and women in the greatest generation are not as many as there used to be. They're getting older. And they can't hold the torch as high as they used to hold it — the torch of freedom and hope and opportunity. They held it for us. They held it for the world to see.
But now it's our turn. We have to take that torch and hold it aloft, and we will together. I need you to go out there and find people that'll come join our cause and help us get this country back on track again. [cheers and applause] We're going to make that happen; we're going to hold that torch high — very, very high. On November 6th, the world is going to see we're serious about coming back, about strengthening the basis of this great country. [cheers and applause] We're taking back the White House, we're taking back America, we're going to keep this nation strong. I need your help. We're going to win in Florida. We're taking back the White House. [cheers and applause]
Thank you so very much. Thank you! [cheers and applause]
Mitt Romney, Remarks with Ann Romney at a Campaign Event in Port St. Lucie, Florida Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/315886