Romney Speaks to the Ohio Valley

Editor’s note: The following is a transcript of Mitt Romney’s speech Tuesday during a campaign stop at American Energy Corp.’s Century Mine in Beallsville.

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Now this is my second chance to be on a bus tour across Ohio this summer, and as I’ve gone across the state I’ve found the same thing – which is a lot of terrific people with hopes and aspirations for themselves and their kids. But I’ve (also) found a lot of people who are scared, who are worried about their job, who are living paycheck to paycheck, wondering how they’re going to have a brighter future if they can’t see how they’re going to make it to the end of the month.

These are tough times for people across Ohio … and across the country. This is a time for truth. I listened to an ad on the way here. … Bob (Murray) played me a tape of one of the ads that President Obama has out there, and I just scratched my head. He talks about how wonderful it is and that we’re adding jobs in the coal industry and producing more coal. And I thought, how in the world can you just go out there and tell people things that just aren’t true?

There’s a time for truth. If you don’t believe in coal, if you don’t believe in energy independence for America, then just say it. If you believe that the whole answer for our energy needs is wind and solar, why say that. Because I know he says that to some audiences out west, but it’s time to tell the people of America what you believe.

And I want to tell you the truth about what I stand for and what I believe, and I want to contrast that with our president, because we would take America in different directions. In my view, he would make America more and more like Europe. I don’t think Europe works in Europe. I want to make America more like America.

When he ran for office, he said a lot of things that a lot of people nodded their heads about. They said, “That’s what I want, too.” … He said you know, I measure progress by whether more people are getting good jobs. But unfortunately, we’ve got 23 million – think about that, 23 million – Americans out of work, or stopped looking for work, or way underemployed. And he also said he’d measure progress by whether people were able to have a job that paid for a mortgage. Well we’ve had 8.5 million homes foreclosed on, and home values are down. In some communities, if the major employers leave, there’s no market whatsoever for their homes.

He also said you could measure America by whether people had incomes going up or incomes going down. Well guess what’s happened in the last three and one-half years: the average income of an American family has gone down by $4,000 a year. At the same time, health care costs are up, gasoline prices are up, utility bills are up. And as a result of this … middle class Americans are having a hard time making ends meet. The president said he’d cut the deficit in half; he’s doubled it.

But there were some promises he kept. One promise he kept was with regard to energy. He said if he was elected president and his policies put in place, the cost of energy would skyrocket. That’s one he kept. He also said you could go on and build a new coal plant if you want, but you’d go bankrupt. That’s another promise he’s intent on keeping.

His vice president said coal is more dangerous than terrorists. Can you imagine that? This tells you precisely what he actually feels and what he’s done, and his policies over the past three and one-half years have put in place the very vision he had when he was running for office. But now he wants to get re-elected, and he knows to do so he has to win Ohio. And to win Ohio, he knows he has to win eastern Ohio and he’s got to get the votes of the people in the communities all around here, and you’re not going to let that happen, because you’re going to keep our jobs, you’re going to keep Ohio strong and you’re going to bring back America!

There’s another promise he made. You know every time you get a paycheck, there’s a deduction there that’s going to Medicare, it’s going into a trust account to make sure that when you retire, there’s a health program there that will care for you. One of the things the president did that I find extraordinary – something he never mentioned when he was running for office, see when he ran for office, he said he’d protect Medicare – but did you know he’s taken $716 billion out of the Medicare trust fund … to pay for Obamacare, a risky, unproven federal government takeover of health care, and if I’m president of the United States we’re putting the $716 billion back.

He and I have very different visions for America. He’s taking America down a course you now can see – don’t listen to the words, look at where we’ve been, he’s an eloquent spokesman but he’s not telling you the things he’s actually done or will do. … Let me tell you what I’m going to do. I have five things I’m going to do, and I’ve been saying these five things across the country.

No. 1, take advantage of our energy resources, our coal, our gas, our oil, our renewables, our nuclear. We have 250 years of coal, why in the heck wouldn’t we use it? … You’ve probably heard the president say he’s ‘for all of the above.’ And I wondered what he meant, because I’ve seen how he’s been waging war on coal, and I wondered how could he possibly say that. Then it came to me: he’s for all the sources of energy that come from above the ground, none of those that come from below the ground like oil, coal and gas. I’m for all of the above whether it comes from above the ground or below the ground, we’re going to take advantage of our energy resources to save your jobs, to create more jobs, and by the way, when we use our plentiful energy resources … you’re going to see manufacturing coming back to America. It’s not just this community that’s going to see jobs growing and created, it will be in other parts of our nation as well. We’re going to bring jobs back in part by taking advantage of our energy resources and, by the way, by the end of my second term – hopefully I get that first and second term – but by the end of my second term, I make this commitment: we will have North American energy independence, we won’t have to buy oil from Venezuela and the Middle East.

No. 2, I want to make sure we have the skills to succeed. You folks here have got the skills and the industry in which you’ve been trained in, and I salute you for that. But I want to make sure that our kids coming along get the skills they need to succeed. It is unacceptable for the place where public education was invented to have a public education (system) that is failing our kids. I will put our kids first, it’s time to have schools that lead the world instead of schools that are in the bottom third or quartile.

No. 3, we have to have trade that works for America. It’s good for us to trade with other countries, it creates jobs for us. But we have to make sure that when nations like China cheat, we hold them responsible and make them accountable. And there are big opportunities. I want to open up markets in Latin America and other places in the world, more opportunities for us to sell goods and services.

No. 4, and this may not sound like it is connected to jobs, but it is: see, when an entrepreneur questions am I going to take my life savings and use it to start a business, or when some big foreign corporation decides whether they’re going to build a factory here or somewhere else, one of the things they want to know is whether America is going to become like Greece, whether the dollar’s going to become worthless, whether we’re going to have economic catastrophe. And as they make that measure, they look at how we’re spending money, more than we take in. My No. 4 is to stop spending more than we take in, to get America on track to have a balanced budget. And I’ll do it.

No. 5 is to champion small business. I believe that as a nation, we have to encourage entrepreneurs and innovators, we have to help the people that want to start a business. I want to keep their taxes down, get regulators to encourage them, and I want to take that big cloud off of them. Seventy-five percent of small businesses in this country surveyed by the Chamber of Commerce said that Obamacare makes it less likely for them to hire people. I want to get rid of Obamacare, I want to replace it, I want to repeal it, and I want to return health care and health care responsibility to our citizens and to our health care providers and I want to get the government out of health care.

When I’m talking about these small businesses, I want you to know that I heard something the other day that just really surprised me. Actually, a couple things. One, I heard the president is taking the work requirement out of welfare. We value work, we’re a society which celebrates hard work, and we look to a government to make it easier for jobs to be created and people to go to work. We do not look for a government that tries to find ways to provide for people who are not willing to work. And so I’m going to put work back in welfare and make sure that able-bodied people get the jobs.

And he said something else which surprised me. He said this: he said if you have a business you didn’t build that, someone else did that. … I actually believe that people who start businesses build them, that people who worked hard and got a promotion did that themselves, that people who reached and aspired get the credit for doing that. America has always been a place which celebrates people who work hard, who take risks, who champion a better future for themselves and their families. It’s who we are. … And I’m going to make sure that in this nation, we continue to celebrate people who work hard, who are smart, who take the risks to start enterprises, who take the risks to go for a promotion, who work hard and do everything in their power to have a brighter future for themselves and for the people they love.

I love this country – what America is was established from the very beginning, you knew how unique this country is when the founders of this nation wrote the Declaration of Independence, they said something which has changed the world. They said that our rights did not come from government, we were instead endowed by our Creator with our rights – God gave us our rights. And among those rights are life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We’re free in this nation to pursue our lives and to pursue happiness as we choose.

… We face a critical time in America, we face an economy that’s leaving too many people behind, schools that are failing too many people. We face a deficit which has the potential of crushing the coming generation, and to answer this the president’s about to cut a trillion dollars out of our defense budget. Look, I would take America in a very different direction. We’ve got to keep America strong.

I was lucky enough to visit some leaders in Great Britain some time ago. One of them said this to me. He said ‘Mitt, if you’re lucky enough to be elected president of the United States and you travel around to foreign capitals, you will undoubtedly (hear) all the mistakes they think America’s making. But please don’t forget this: what we all fear the most is a weak America. American strength – strength in our values and our homes, in the principles we hold dear, strength in an economy that puts people to work, strength in a military that’s second to none – American strength is the best ally peace has ever known.

I make this commitment to you: if Paul Ryan … and I are elected … we’re going to come together to make sure we keep America strong. … We’ll keep America’s military strong, we’ll restore those cuts to the military. But we’re also going to ask you to do something. I’d like you to commit to look around your neighborhood, and in your place of work, and see if there’s one person you can convince to support our ticket. Just one person. … This is a place where we can spread out the message you’re hearing today and say America’s back, we’re going to save these jobs and create better prosperity for all Americans, we’re going to rebuild the middle class in America. … We want to have someone lead the country back to greatness for all of us. … I make that commitment to keep America strong, you make the commitment to make sure I win, and together we’re going to take back this country and keep it the hope of the Earth! Thank you so very much.