On June 2, 2011, I began my quest
for the presidency on the farm of Doug and Stella Scamman in Stratham,
New Hampshire. I said then that our country is a land of freedom
and opportunity. I spoke of the hard work of the millions of Americans
who built our remarkable experiment in self-government. They carved
out of the wilderness a land of immense prosperity and unlimited
potential. I said then that "I believe in America."
For more than a year now, I've carried
that message across America. As we draw close to Election Day,
it is a good moment to reflect on what it means to believe in
America is a place where freedom
rings. It is a place where we can discuss our differences without
fear of any consequence worse than criticism, where we can believe
in whatever creed or religion we choose, where we can pursue our
dreams no matter how small or grand. It is a place that not only
cherishes freedom, but is willing to fight to defend it. These
are the qualities that define us.
America is a land of opportunity.
But lately, for too many Americans, opportunity has not exactly
come knocking. We've been mired in an economic slowdown that has
left millions of our fellow citizens unemployed. The consequences
in dreams shattered, lives disrupted, plans deferred, and hopes
dimmed can be found all around us.
It hasn't always been this way.
It certainly doesn't have to be this way in the future. We're
all in this together. And together we can emerge from these troubles.
Together with Paul Ryan, I've put
forward an economic recovery plan consisting of five central elements
that will in four years create 12 million jobs.
We will produce more of the energy
we need to heat our homes, fill our cars, and make our economy
grow. We will stop President Obama's war on coal, his disdain
for oil, and his effort to crimp natural gas by federal regulation
of the very technology that produces it. We will support nuclear
and renewables, but phase out subsidies once an industry is on
its feet. We will invest in energy science and research to make
discoveries that can actually change our energy world. By 2020,
we will achieve North American energy independence.
We will retrain our work force for
the jobs of tomorrow and ensure that every child receives a quality
education no matter where they live, including especially our
inner cities. Parents and students, not administrators and unions,
need to have greater choice. Our current worker retraining system
is a labyrinth of federal programs that sprawls across 47 programs
and nine agencies. We will eliminate this redundancy and empower
the 50 states and the private sector to develop effective programs
of their own.
We will make trade work for America.
We'll open more markets to American agriculture, products, and
services. And we will finally hold accountable any nation that
doesn't play by the rules. I will stand up for the rights and
interests of American workers and employers.
We will restore fiscal sanity to
Washington by bringing an end to the federal spending and borrowing
binge that in just four years has added more debt held by the
public than almost all previous administrations combined. We will
put America on track to a balanced budget by eliminating unnecessary
programs, by sending programs back to states where they can be
managed with less abuse and less cost, and by shrinking the bureaucracy
Finally, we will champion small
business, the great engine of job creation in our country, by
reforming the tax code and updating and reshaping regulations
that have suffocated economic growth.
Nothing is ever easy in Washington,
but these goals are rooted in bipartisan agreement, and I will
work with members of both parties to accomplish them. As governor
of a state that was overwhelmingly Democratic, I was always ready
to reach across the aisle and I can proudly point to the results.
I've learned that when we come together to solve problems in a
practical spirit, we can accomplish miracles.
In this respect, I am offering a
contrast to what we are seeing in Washington today. We've watched
as one party has pushed through its agenda without compromising
with the other party. We've watched gridlock and petty conflict
dominate while the most important issues confronting the nation,
like chronic high unemployment, go unaddressed. The bickering
has to end. I will end it. I will reach across the aisle to solve
Our economic crisis not only threatens
the well-being of our citizenry, it has larger consequences in
other realms. The economic weakness of the past several years
has, alarmingly, fostered weakness in our foreign policy posture.
Runaway domestic spending has led the president to propose reducing
defense spending by hundreds of billions, cuts that his own secretary
of defense has said would "devastate" our national security.
The most important task for any
president is set out in the preamble to our Constitutionproviding
for the common defense. As commander-in-chief, I will roll back
the president's deep and arbitrary cuts to our military. Our soldiers
should never lack the tools they need to complete their mission
and come home safely. I have always believed that the first purpose
of a strong military is to prevent war. And preventing war is
a supreme national interest. I will ensure that our military is
strong enough that no adversary dares to challenge us.
Let us remember our history. We
have accomplished so much, both in the world and at home. We've
defeated tyrannies. We've lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty.
We've transformed our own society into a more perfect union. We've
created a land of freedom and prosperity. The problems we need
to overcome now are not bigger than we are. We can defeat them.
I am offering real change and a real choice.