I found something interesting in the private sector
and that is that if you don't change, if you don't get better from year
to year in almost any part of the private sector well you'll probably end
up going out of business. I was at Pioneer the other day, the seed
corn business, and they were showing me how every year they try and make
the seed better and better and better. Almost anywhere in the private
sector things get better or you go out of business. And I spent my
life there learning how to make things better, or try, and by virtue of
that I've learned how to change organizations and make things better.
If there's ever been a time that we need a change in Washington, DC, it's
now. And I'm concerned - [applause].
I'm concerned that Washington hasn't made the changes
it needs to make in part because of all the politicians spending so much
time talking and debating and arguing and bickering instead of getting
the job done. You see in the private sector talk is worthless.
If you've got somebody that all they can do is talk and they can't deliver
and get the job done they ought to get fired. You have to get the
job done; you have to take action.
Now America faces some huge challenges and Mayor Giuliani
just described a number of them. They're enormous in their scope.
It's a new generation of challenges. It's items we've never faced
Number one, this attack from jihadists whose intent
is not just to set off a bomb here or there, their intent is to cause the
collapse of all the moderate Islamic states and to replace them with a
religious caliphate. They want to cause the collapse of the United
States of America and our defeat militarily.
We face other challenges across the world. A
much tougher economic competitor in Asia than we've ever faced before.
China, India, Southeast Asia growing dramatically and trying to take jobs
from our country, and we're going to have to raise the bar in this country
if we want to stay ahead forever.
Then there are domestic challenges. We're spending
too much money in Washington. We're also using too much oil here.
Sixty-percent of our oil comes from foreign sources. Our schools
aren't up to snuff, our health care system leaves too many behind, our
immigration laws don't make any sense, and look at what's happening to
our culture. Those elements that are the foundational bedrock of
what America is are all under attack in this country.
Now some people when they see that America faces challenges
they say we have to turn to the source of our strength. My liberal
friends in Massachusetts, and I have two or three, would say to me that
the source of our strength is our government. Now we have a great
government, but that's not what makes America strong. What makes
America strong is the American people--hard-working, educated, risk-taking,
opportunity-seeking, God-loving, family-oriented patriotic American people
who respect the sanctity of human life, who will give of themselves for
their great country. This is what makes America the greatest nation
on Earth; it is what will always keep us the greatest nation on Earth.
And when America faces challenges, you don't turn
to say how do you strengthen government, you turn to say how do you strengthen
the American people? You see the Republican Party and conservatism
generally are a philosophy of strength. Military strength.
Economic strength. Personal strength. Family strength.
And we've got some work to do on those fronts to face this new generation
Military strength. We have depleted and made
it great difficulty for our troops to stand up to the challenges they have
today. In my view we ought to have at least 100,000 more troops in
our U.S. military. We ought to be spending $40-50 billion more per
year to make sure we have the equipment they need, they have the tools
that they need, they have the technology they need and we have the resources
to care for them when they come home. I want to see us spend at least
4-percent of our gross domestic product on our military budget. We
need a strong, we need a strong military in this country. Now we're
I think we're also recognizing increasingly that oil
policy is not just about our pocketbooks, it's about our strategic strength
and our military capabilities. We need to become energy independent
and we can become energy independent. We talk about it; we've been
talking about it for years, but we have to finally stop the rhetoric and
put in place action to get energy independence, and it's ethanol and it's
biodeisel and biofuels and wind and solar and liquefied coal and gasified
goal and nuclear and more drilling--it's all of those. It's time
for us to use technology to allow ourselves to become more energy efficient.
We must become energy independent to maintain our strategic strength and
also to maintain our strength around the world. Now we have-- [applause].
We have the most robust economy in the world.
Its strength and scale is not in parallel [peril], and as we look forward
and see the challenges we have, we recognize we need to keep that economy
strong. When President Bush faced recession and a slowdown and the
convergence of all the factors that dampened our economy, he said something
that a lot of people shook their head about, in some cases even people
in our own party. He said we need to lower taxes. They said
no, no, no, no we need more money for government. He said no, no
the strength of America is always the strength of the American people.
Give them more of their income so they can invest in the future, they can
invest in new companies and new technology and that will propel the growth
of the American economy, and boy was he right. And it's time again
to say, let's make sure those Bush tax cuts are permanent [applause].
And I want to add to that, I want to get rid of the
death tax forever. Let's get rid of that thing. [applause].
And let's also, and let's also tell the American people of middle incomes,
you know what? It's not fair for you to have to get taxed when you
earn your money, taxed when you save your money and taxed when you die.
Let's make sure when you save your money, if you're of middle income, you
don't pay any taxes at all on interest, dividends or capital gains.
You should save your money tax free. [applause].
Military, economy, and people.
We need better schools for our kids. I want
to make sure that our kids rise to the occasion as they face a tough global
world that they are going to be entering into. How do you do that?
Better schools. School choice is critical. I found that in
my schools. We also decided to change something. We used to
have bilingual education in our state. Teachers and superintendents
and parents could choose a language other than English for their child
to be taught in. Spanish or Vietnamese or Chinese. And you
know what we did? We said let's take that to the voters and we passed
a ballot initiative that said you know what, if you want to be successful
in America, you've got to speak the language of America. [applause].
And we need to fix immigration in this country.
It doesn't make sense to me that people that have skill and education that
want to get into this country and wait in line can't get in, but people
who have neither can just walk across the border. We need to secure
our border. [applause]. And I want an employment verification
system as well to know who's here legally and who's able to work here and
people who hire people who are illegal should be fined and penalized just
like they are for not paying their taxes. [applause.]
Let me mention one more thing and that is if we want
to strengthen the people of America there's one place that's most important.
There's one place where the future of America is most importantly being
set and that's in the American home. There is no work more important
to our future that the work done within the four walls of the American
home, and it concerns me enormously that over our entire country about
a third of our kids are born out of wedlock and in some of our cities two-thirds
of our kids are born out of wedlock. Look, moms and dads can help
give the kids the values they need, can support them in school, can help
them with the head start they need in their life. Every child deserves
a mother and a father. [applause].
I want you to know I am confident about the future
of this country. It is bright, it is positive, it is going to be
marvelous for our kids and our grandkids to enjoy. I'm optimistic
about our future because I've seen the heart of the American people, the
source of our strength. I've met probably most of you in this room
once or twice by now. I've seen people all across the country.
I'm inspired as I do so.
I want to tell one quick story. I've told a
number of you my favorite from the Olympics about Derrick Parra.
He reminds me what it is about America that gives me such hope and confidence.
He's the young guy from Los Angeles, California. Before our games
in Salt Lake City in 2002 his wife said to him, Derrick, why don't you
stop rollerblading and start ice skating. He hadn't ice skated before
so he strapped on some ice skates, and he was fast. He was so fast,
after a lot of work and training, he made the United States Olympic Team
in speed skating. Come out to Salt Lake City, skated his heart out,
got the silver medal and the gold medal--fastest man on ice in the world.
The Vice President asked me to invite one U.S. athlete
to join him at closing ceremonies in the president's box, and I chose Derrick
Parra. As Derrick came in I said Derrick what was the most memorable
experience in your Olympics? And he said it wasn't the silver and
the gold, it was being honored to carry in the American flag that had flown
about the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001 into the opening ceremonies.
He was one of eight athletes chosen to carry in this flag. It's about
8 by 12; it's badly torn and burned.
As he brought it in, he said he thought the crowd
was going to erupt in cheers, but instead total silence, complete reverence.
He carried the flag and stopped in front of the choir and the symphony
and they began performing the national anthem. And he said, Mitt,
it was hard to hold on to my emotions with those words being sung while
I was holding that flag. And then the choir did something he hadn't
expected. They were singing an old 1930s version of our national
anthem where you repeat the last line with the soprano singing one octave
higher and with the orchestration that much greater. Oh say does
that star-spangled banner yet wave o'er the land of the free and the home
of the brave. And he said this time as they sang it a little gust
of wind came into the flag and lifted it in their hands, and he said it
was as if the spirits of all those who'd fought and died for American liberty
had just blown into that flag, and he said, Mitt, the tears began running
down my cheeks. And I've said to myself then and since, it is that
spirit, that love of freedom, that love of America that allows us to be
the hope of the world.
What you're doing here, in looking at Republican candidates,
it'll all come together when this is all finished, is making sure that
spirit is alive and strong, because strength is what the Republican party
and conservative principles underscore. Strength. Strength
of our military, strength of our economy, strength of our families and
people. Together we can make this and keep this forever the hope
of the world. Thank you so much. Great to be with you again.
# # #