Mitt Romney photo

Remarks with Paul Ryan at a Republican National Convention Farewell Victory Rally in Lakeland, Florida

August 31, 2012

RYAN: Hey, everybody. Aw, thank you so much. This fan feels good. [chuckles]

[cheers] Thanks. Thank you so much for coming out to our send-off. What a great convention, huh? [cheers and applause] Man!

Florida, thank you so much for your wonderful hospitality. We couldn't have done it without you.

I just want to take a brief moment. An earthquake hit off the coast of the Philippines earlier today. So let's put the people of the Philippines in our prayers at this moment because we're worried about a tsunami. We've seen people in our own country in the path of a storm in Louisiana. So let's just put our — our prayers where they need to be, for the Philippines and for the people who are in the — in the path of Isaac's wake.

And let me now say this. Coming out of Tampa, we have given our fellow countrymen a very clear choice. [cheers] We can either stay on the path that America has been placed upon by President Obama, a path of debt, a path of doubt, a path of decline — [booing] — or we can get people back to work. [cheers] We can restore in this economy and opportunity in our society, and the way we do that is we elect this man, Mitt Romney, the next president of the United States! [cheers and applause]

President Obama made a whole bunch of promises when he ran for president, and now we see a laundry list of broken promises. Twenty-three million people are struggling to find work today. The unemployment rate in Florida is 8.8 percent!


REP. RYAN: Foreclosures, houses underwater, the highest poverty rates in a generation.

Half of all college graduates are either unemployed or are not working in the field that they studied for. Colleges graduates should not spend their 20s in their childhood bedrooms looking up at fading Obama posters, wondering when they can move out and get on with their lives. [cheers and applause]

The president was recently asked, do you have any regrets? Would you have done anything differently? He said, I need to talk more and — and tell the American people a story. So he needs to do more talking and we need to do better listening? Is that the idea here? (Jeers.) Friends, we have suffered from no shortage of words in the White House. What is missing is real leadership in the White House. [cheers and applause]

The question is this. If we stick with the same leadership that we had over the last four years, how do we expect anything to be different over the next four years? It won't be.

And that's why we are giving the country a clear choice. Real leadership — that's what the Romney-Ryan plan for a stronger middle class is all about. It's about getting people back to work, higher take-home pay, giving the kind of leadership this country deserves. I have so rarely seen in our history a moment where the man and the moment meet so well. This country needs leadership.

And you know what we saw last night? We saw a man introduce themselves to him — he brought us into his family. We saw a man of faith, of integrity, of achievement. (Scattered cheers.) Look at everything Mitt Romney's done with his life. It's success. It's hard work. It's achievement. It's leadership.

[cheers and applause]

This is a man, when his country asked him to help turn around the failing Olympics, dropped what he was doing, turned it around and made us all proud, and it saved the Olympics from disaster. [cheers and applause] This is a man who has proven he's a job creator. He created tens of thousands of jobs. He started businesses. He turned around struggling businesses. And by the way, being successful in business — that's a good thing in America. That's not — [chuckles] — a bad thing. [cheers and applause] That's what we do in America. That's the American dream.

The record of contrast could not be more stark. As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney worked across the aisle. He didn't demonize people on the other side of the aisle, and he balanced the budget without raising taxes. He lowered the unemployment rate. He increased household income. He improved the credit rating of Massachusetts.

What have we seen under President Obama's failed leadership? Higher unemployment, a downgrade of our credit for the first time in our history. Take-home pay is down by $4,000 over the last four years.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is very clear. This is our moment. This is the chance where we have a choice. Do we want the failed leadership, the stagnant economy, the debt crisis, the welfare state? Or do we want that opportunity society, that American idea where everybody can make the most of their lives and define happiness for themselves? [cheers and applause] That's the — that's the offer we're offering. That's the future.

Ladies and gentlemen, I just want to thank the people of Florida for their warm, warm hospitality — [cheers] — warm in many ways. [laughter]

You know, we have this rule in Wisconsin, if you turn 65, you've got to move to Florida for the winter. That's what my mom does. [laughter]

Now, it's really an honor right here to introduce you to the man who is meeting the moment, to the man who is going to be the leader of our country, to the man who is sharing himself for us; to the man who has proven in his life that he knows how to lead.

We're going to turn this around. We're going to get this done. We're going to get people back to work. We're going to turn the American idea back on. We're going to save this country and its promise for our next generation. And the reason we're going to do that is because we're going to elect the next president of the United States. His main — his name is Mitt Romney, and that's this man standing right here. [cheers and applause] And he's going to be the next president of the United States.

MITT ROMNEY: Thank you so much. [cheers and applause] What a welcome, what a send-off.


MR. ROMNEY: Wow, you guys are great. Thank you.

It's an honor to be here. You really have touched our — our hearts, Ann and my hearts and Paul and Janna. The welcome of the people in Florida is something we will not forget. This was a — a big week for us, and you made it a very special week for us.

People all over this state getting behind our effort and coming out and supporting us. And, of course, many are commenting on, well, one of the speeches I'll never forget, and that was by the lady in red back here. [cheers and applause] She — you know, I mentioned in my remarks last night that one of the things I wished I could do would be to wake up with a pile of kids on my floor in the — in the morning or go to bed at night with our kids coming in and talk to us about their problems, five little boys doing that. And I got back to my hotel room, and my daughter-in-law Jen said, we can arrange that, you know. [laughter]

With no further ado, the best mom, wife and grandmom I know, my sweetheart, Ann Romney. [cheers and applause]

ANN ROMNEY: Hi. There's so many of you, even over in the corners. Thank you for coming out, and thank you. And I want to say something that I said in my speech too. I hear your voices. [cheers and applause]

We have an awesome responsibility now. And I am so pleased to know that I have a guy standing next to me that has done amazing things in his life. He's turned around difficult situations. He's brought economic prosperity where — [inaudible] — thought it was impossible. I've seen him do it time and time again. And I said in my speech, and I'll say it again, give this man a chance, and he will not fail. [cheers and applause]

We need to give America a chance, and it's going to be an exciting ride. And boy, Florida is going to have to help us bring it home. So thank you all so much. [cheers and applause]

MR. ROMNEY: She's something else, I'll tell you.

And you got some great people here. I so much appreciate —

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: [chanting] [inaudible]

MR. ROMNEY: And — you know, some of the people I want to recognize today are your next senator.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: [chanting] [inaudible]

MR. ROMNEY: There's a great guy over there, Representative, soon to be Senator, Connie Mack. Connie, thank you for being here. [cheers and applause]


AUDIENCE MEMBERS: [chanting] [inaudible]

MR. ROMNEY: I also want to thank your congressman, Dennis Ross. Thank you, Dennis, for being here. [cheers and applause]


MR. ROMNEY: I want to thank my chairman of my campaign here in Florida. It's great to have Adam Putnam here, your agriculture commissioner — [cheers and applause] — and my other chairperson, your great attorney general, Pam Bondi.

I know they were out here speaking just a moment ago, and I appreciate their help and their support. It's meant the world to me. And Florida gave me the votes I needed to be become the nominee, and I thank Florida. [cheers and applause]

And now one more task: I need to have you do the work on November 6th that gets me elected the next president of the United States. That has to happen here in Florida. [cheers and applause] And for that to happen, you're going to have to go out and find a person or two who voted Barack — for Barack Obama. I know they're here, all right? They're — (scattered laughter) — they're not as visible as they used to be. You could see some of the — the glue on the back of their bumper sticker where it used — where it used to be. [laughter]

And — and so you can find them. But you find them and convince them to get in our team and to help us because we — we want to be held accountable for the promises we made last night. And the night before Paul Ryan and I spoke both spoke to the American people about what we'll do if we become president and vice president.

And I contrast that with what the president said four years ago when he was candidate Barack Obama. He got up and made a number of promises in Denver with the Greek columns behind him. He doesn't remind us of the Greek columns because he had said that he would cut the deficit in half. Measure him on that. How'd that work out? He doubled the deficit.

He said that he would be measured in a different way than — than other people are typically measured. He'd be measured by whether he created jobs or not. He hasn't. He said he'd be measured by whether people would have rising incomes or not. They don't. Incomes are down in this country. He said he'd be measured by whether people would take the risk to go out and start a business. We're at a 30-year low in new business startups. Almost every measure he described, he has failed to perform upon.

And the reason for that is not that he wasn't trying, in my view; it's he was pulling in the wrong direction. He didn't know what it takes to actually make the economy work.

Paul Ryan and I understand how the economy works. We understand how Washington works. We will reach across the aisle and find good people who like us, want to make sure this company (sic) deals with its challenges. We'll get America on track again. [cheers and applause]

And we've laid out — you've heard it many times — a five-point plan to get this country going. We're going to go after these things. Measure us. Hold us accountable. Do the same with the president. Look, you're making a choice as to who the servant will be of the nation. Who is the person, who are the people who will lead this country and do what you want to be done?

You listened to the last guy running for president. He laid out what he would do. He was unable to do it. It's time to give someone new a chance, hold us accountable. Listen to what we have to say, and say, do I want that or not?

Let me tell you what I want to do. I want to make sure that every person in this country that wants a job can find one. I want to make sure that every retiree knows that their retirement is secure, that Medicare is there and Social Security will be there. [cheers and applause] I want every parent to know that their child will get an education that will prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow.

These are things we're going to do by carrying out five critical steps. One, we're going to get America energy-independent by using our oil, our coal, our gas, our nuclear and our renewables. [cheers and applause]

Number two, we're going to open up trade, particularly next door in Latin America, but around the world open up new trade agreements. And we will crack down on any country like China that cheats on trade.

Number three, we're going to make sure our people who need work get the skills they need to succeed and the kids coming along get the education they need. And for that to happen, we have to put our kids first and say to the teachers, we're with you; we're going to help you, teachers, but the teachers' union, they're going behind. [cheers and applause]

Number four, we're going to get America on track to have a balanced budget by cutting the deficit.

And number five — [cheers] — number five, we're going to champion small business. Small business is where the great majority of jobs are created in this country. We're not going to raise taxes on small business like the president wants to. We're not going to expand regulation on business of all kinds like the president's done. And we're going to take off that big cloud of doubt that hangs over every small business I know. We're going to repeal and replace "Obamacare" with something that works — [cheers and applause] — to hold down the cost of health care.

So last night you got to know me a little better with some friends that talked about my life, the things that have been part of my life in the past. I talked to you a bit about my family. And I was embarrassed from time to time with the nice things that were said. Some people were overly generous. But I appreciated it.

We got to know Paul and Janna a little bit. You're going to come to know them better and better. This is a man of real character, a man who has done something unusual in Washington, which is, he's focused on helping America, not focused on trying to get himself re-elected. And because of that, he's won by larger and larger margins. This guy, in a Democrat district, wins and wins — a great leader. He'll be a terrific vice president. [cheers and applause]

Now I recognize in this crowd that there are some people who have served our country in a way that most of us can only imagine, and they're individuals who have served in our — in our armed forces. And I — I recognize a man here from the American Legion. I see a man over there from the United States Navy. Will all of those who serve in armed forces or are veterans, please raise your hand and be recognized.

[cheers and applause] Thank you, sir. Thank you. Wow.

It's one of the things I love about this great state of Florida, which is our veterans who come here, our men and women in uniform who have served from here and that come from this great state.

We — we've got another special request to ask of you, and you know that. You gave me the nomination with your votes. You've come out today to support us. The convention was a — a magnificent and wonderful opportunity for us to share our message with the American people, thanks in large measure to the folks here in — in Florida. And now we really do need you to get out there and get your friends to vote. We're not going to say vote early and vote often, as they do in some states. [laughter] We're instead going to tell you to get your friends to vote, to pull people to the polls that might not be planning to get to the polls. We need every single vote in Florida.

You've proved it before, Florida can be a very, very close election. I — I don't know how it's going to work out, but I'm planning on winning in Florida. We're going to get this country back and keep it the hope of the earth — [cheers and applause] — with your help.

Thank you, guys. We love this country and we're taking it back. Thank you so much. Thank you.

Mitt Romney, Remarks with Paul Ryan at a Republican National Convention Farewell Victory Rally in Lakeland, Florida Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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