Posted on | August 14, 2012 | 47 Comments
REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — Folks, Mitt Romney’s event tonight in Chillicothe was the best I’ve seen of this campaign. The crowd was huge — estimated between 5,000 and 6,000 — and the setting was awesome: In front of the beautiful courthouse downtown, with the sun just setting behind the courthouse and the sky glowing golden.
The speech itself was awesome. I’d already heard Mitt speak twice earlier today — first at a coal mine in Beallsville and then in downtown Zanesville — and parts of the speech were already familiar. But I noticed Mitt was reading from a teleprompter at the Chillicothe event, so this particular speech was prepared in advance. But given the content, including references to the “wild and reckless accusations . . . a few hours ago in Virginia,” it was obvious that it had been updated quite recently.
At several points, Mitt was interrupted by cheers and applause, and at times the crowd broke into chants of “Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!” or “USA! USA! USA!” The candidate was fired up and the crowd was fired up, and it was very exciting to be there with my 13-year-old son Jefferson. Afterwards, as we left, I talked briefly to a National Correspondent Whose Name You Would Recognize and said, “Great speech, huh?”
The correspondent replied: “He wrote it himself, you know.” My reaction was skeptical. Does any big-time politician write his own speeches anymore? I said, “Really? He wrote it himself?”
The correspondent said, “Swear to God. He wrote it himself” — and then did a cross-my-heart motion.
How would the correspondent know Mitt wrote the speech himself? I don’t know, but his confidence was such — and the speech was so genuinely awesome — that I called my source at Romney campaign HQ in Boston and asked him if he he had a text of the speech he could send me. It just arrived by e-mail and so here, ladies and gentlmen, is what I call The Chillicothe Address:
Thank you, Ohio. It’s good to be back in the Buckeye State. And it’s a privilege to be here with two good friends – your great governor, John Kasich and your outstanding senator, Rob Portman. Governor Kasich is doing a great job despite the head winds from Washington. As President, I can’t wait to work with Senator Portman to turn those Obama headwinds into pro-job policies that will help working families all across Ohio.
Tonight, we’re wrapping up our five-state bus tour to towns big and small. That trip reconfirmed to me just how important this election is – and why we need to change the direction of the country by changing the current occupant of the Oval Office.
We started out on the decks of a battleship in Norfolk, Virginia, where arbitrary and reckless defense cuts threaten our national security and 150,000 jobs. From there it was on to North Carolina, through towns that have lost thousands and thousands of manufacturing jobs. And yesterday we were in Florida, where families are still struggling with the Obama Economy.
The people I met on this tour – and the thousands of Americans I’ve visited in break rooms and lunch rooms, in school gymnasiums and on factory floors – are worried about their children, their jobs, their mortgages, and their future. And they are right to be worried.
All across the country, I’ve met people who are hurting. Some have lost their jobs; others work two jobs just to get by. Some have fallen out of the middle class and now they’re struggling to get back to where they started. The cost of living keeps going up, and they’re living paycheck to paycheck.
They are tired of being tired.
And tonight, I’d like to say to each of them: You have not been forgotten. We will not leave you behind. This is America. We are Americans. It doesn’t have to be this way!
Unemployment has been above 8 percent for 42 straight months. We will put Americans back to work!
Half of recent college graduates can’t find work or a job that matches their skills. We’ll get good jobs for our kids.
Nearly one out of six Americans are in poverty today. This is a disgrace we will end.
And President Obama has amassed five trillion dollars of debt – nearly as much debt held by the public as all other Presidents combined. We will end this moral failure.
After four years, it’s clear that President Obama’s policies aren’t fixing these problems, they’re making them worse. That is why Ohio will lead the way by electing a new President on November 6th.
For the first time, most Americans believe that our best days are behind us. This is an election in which we should be talking about the path ahead, but you don’t hear any answers coming from President Obama’s re-election campaign. That’s because he’s intellectually exhausted, out of ideas, and out of energy. And so his campaign has resorted to diversions and distractions, to demagoguing and defaming others. This is an old game in politics; what’s different this year is that the president is taking things to a new low.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
In 2008, Candidate Obama said, “if you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters.” He said, “if you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.” And that, he told us, is how, “You make a big election about small things.”
That was Candidate Obama describing the strategy that is the now the heart of his campaign.
His campaign and his surrogates have made wild and reckless accusations that disgrace the office of the Presidency. Another outrageous charge came a few hours ago in Virginia. And the White House sinks a little bit lower.
This is what an angry and desperate Presidency looks like.
President Obama knows better, promised better and America deserves better.
Over the last four years, this President has pushed Republicans and Democrats as far apart as they can go. And now he and his allies are pushing us all even further apart by dividing us into groups. He demonizes some. He panders to others. His campaign strategy is to smash America apart and then cobble together 51 percent of the pieces.
If an American president wins that way, we all lose.
But he won’t win that way. America is one Nation under God. American history has been a story of the many becoming one – uniting to preserve liberty, uniting to build the greatest economy in the world, uniting to save the world from unspeakable darkness. Everywhere I go in America there are monuments that list those who have given their lives. There is no mention of their race, their party affiliation or what they did for a living. They lived and died under a single flag fighting for a single purpose. They pledged allegiance to the United States of America. So, Mr. President, take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago and let us get about rebuilding and reuniting America.
This election is about restoring the promise of America. It’s a choice between two visions for our nation’s future. It’s about the challenges America faces. It is about a better tomorrow and a better future.
We don’t need more excuses. We don’t need more blame. We don’t need more small-minded attacks.
What we really need is a new president.
Voters deserve an honest debate. And that’s what Paul Ryan and I will give them.
Paul and I have a positive agenda that will lead to economic growth, to widespread and shared prosperity that will improve the lives of our fellow citizens. Our Plan For A Stronger Middle Class will get America back to work and get our country back on track.
We are offering solutions that are bold, specific, and achievable. We’re committed to helping create 12 million new jobs and to bring better take-home pay to middle class families.
My plan focuses on five things.
First, energy independence. We will achieve North America energy independence by 2020, by taking full advantage of our oil, our gas, our coal, our renewables and our nuclear power. Abundant, inexpensive, domestic energy will not only create energy jobs, it will bring back manufacturing jobs.
Second, we must give our workers and our children the skills they need to succeed. Our nation cannot continue to fail in public education. For too long, we have let the agenda of union bosses steer the agenda of our schools. It is time to put our kids and their parents and their teachers first, and the union bosses behind.
Third, trade must work for America. We are one of the world’s most productive nations. Trade creates jobs and raises take-home pay for American workers. We must open more doors for trade in Latin America, where there is a growing middle class. But when any nation cheats, as China has cheated, we must make sure that there are clear and compelling consequences.
Fourth, we will do what politicians in both parties have been promising for years, but have failed to do. We will cut spending, shrink deficits, and put America on track to a balanced budget.
Fifth, we will champion small business. Unlike President Obama, I won’t raise taxes on small business. I’ll make sure regulators protect the public, but that they stop killing our jobs. I will remove the crippling uncertainty that is preventing businesses from hiring.
That begins by repealing Obamacare. It’s bad for jobs and it’s bad for seniors. If the President is re-elected, he will succeed in raiding $716 billion from Medicare — from the trust fund you have paid into all your lives – to pay for Obamacare. He is taking your money to finance his risky and unproven takeover of the health-care system. He is putting Medicare at greater risk. He is putting health care at greater risk. He is putting your jobs at greater risk. We must not let Obamacare happen.
If we focus on these five areas – energy, education, trade, deficits, and championing small business – America’s economy will come roaring back to life. And we will finally see a comeback for America’s middle class.
My plan is based on proven principles that will produce real results. I spent 25 years in business, and I know what it takes for the private sector to create jobs. I know why jobs go away, what it takes to bring them back, and what we must do to make America the best place in the world for entrepreneurs and innovators and job creators. My five-point plan will bring more jobs and more take-home pay for middle-class Americans.
People ask me why I think the President’s policies have been such a disappointment. I just don’t think President Obama understands what it is that drives our economy.
America runs on freedom. Free men and women, pursuing their dreams, working hard to build a better future for their families. This is what propels our economy. When an American succeeds, when she wins a promotion, when he creates a business, it is that individual, that American that has earned it, that has built it. Government does not build our businesses, the American people do.
The American people also build the government. We pay for it with our taxes. We choose who will lead us with our votes.
Do you want a president who believes that your rights come from God, not from government?
Do you want a president who honors your right to pursue happiness, not as government commands, but as you choose?
Do you want a president who will work every day to bring us together, not tear us apart?
Do you want a president who will celebrate success, not attack it?
Do you want a president who will never, ever apologize for the greatest nation on earth?
With your support, I will be that President.
We are 84 days away from the start of the better future we deserve.
We need new leadership, and new ideas, and a new approach – because four years of failure is enough.
Paul Ryan and I believe in America – and in this election, we’re offering Americans a clear and honest choice. Every single day we’re going to do our part. And we need you to do yours.
I commit to you that I will be the President that this moment demands. I will work to strengthen our families, to rebuild our economy and to keep our military second to none in the world.
I ask you to commit like never before over the next 84 days. This election can come down to just one more vote. I ask you find that vote. Ask one more person to join our campaign. Ask one more person to join us who supported President Obama four years ago and didn’t get the change they deserved. One more vote can make the difference in Ohio. And Ohio will make the difference for America.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.
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UPDATE: The Hill calls the speech “tough” — which it was, but “awesome” is more like it: A Neutral Objective Fact.
Update (Smitty) II: welcome, Instapundit readers.