Transcript: Mitt Romney’s opening remarks at Manchester, N.H. town hall

Transcript of Mitt Romney’s opening remarks at a town hall in Manchester, N.H. on Jan. 4, 2012: 

“Thank you!

“Wow, what a welcome. What a big night we had last night. And what a big morning we had this morning in Iowa. My goodness. What a squeaker. But it’s sure nice to have a win, I’ll tell ya.

“And the question that I have for you is can we do better here in New Hampshire?


“Do you think we can get more than a eight vote margin here in New Hampshire? I’m going to try. Do you think we can get there? I sure hope so.


“I’m proud to be here with Sen. John McCain. One of America’s heroes and a great friend. I appreciate the senator for being here with me. Thank you. Thank you, my friend.


“I’m going to say a few things and then turn to the Senator, who will offer some thoughts and then give you a chance to ask some questions of either of us or both of us.

“As you heard me say last night, I was appreciative of the process that began last night. We’re now on track to retire a guy who’s a nice guy but in over his head. It’s time for Barack Obama to go home and for someone who understands our economy to lead this country.


“You know, I happen to think that the gap between what President Obama – then candidate Obama – promised and what he has delivered is so extraordinary that the American people understanding that will finally do the right thing and say, ‘Thank you for your four years but we’ve got to have somebody who can get this country going on the right track.’

“And I look at the failures of this presidency, and it’s a long list.

“In foreign policy, his failure in Iran. His failure to put in place crippling sanctions. His failure to stand up for the people who went to the streets – the dissidents – and speak up for freedom and democracy. His failure to put in place credible military options. Those things are extraordinary risks to the future of our world and of course to our own nation.

“And then there was the economy. He went out and said he was going to borrow $787 billion from your generation to pay back, and he was going to do that to hold unemployment below 8%. It’s not been below 8% since. And so you have today 25 million people who are out of work or have stopped looking for work and under-employed. This is not just a statistic. These are real people having tough times making ends meet. Lot of folks get depressed after a long period of unemployment and some lose their faith, lose their marriages. This is a national tragedy.

“And then of course there was the failure in dealing with government itself. The federal government spends too much money – your money. Again, the next generation’s money. And every year, spending more than $1 trillion more than we take in and neither Sen. McCain nor I will be alive to pay that back. You guys have to pay it back. I think it’s immoral for us to spend more money every year than we take in, and it’s got to stop.


“Now, you know the president after being inaugurated went on the Today Show and he said, ‘If I can’t turn this economy around in three years, I’ll be looking at a one-term proposition.’ Well, I’m here to collect. We’re going to take back the White House.

“And just a couple of thoughts, guys, about how we’re going to fix the country and a couple of the dimensions I’ve mentioned.

“One, the deficit and the massive spending in Washington. How do we balance that spending?

“You know, I had the occasion as the governor of the state next door – and thank you for your border security provisions that allowed me to come into New Hampshire from Massachusetts. But I took our budget when I found we were – as Gov. [John] Sununu said – $3 billion short in my first administration in my first year. I looked at that and I said, ‘Let’s divide all the things that we have on our budget between those things that we have to do and those things that we just like doing.’ And then let’s cut or eliminate those things that we just like because we can’t afford them.

“In Washington, what I’ll do is look at our programs, and I will ask for each one, ‘Is this program so critical that it makes sense to borrow money from China to pay for it?’ And on that basis, we’re going to get rid of a lot of programs.

“And first on my list is Obamacare. It’s gone on day one if I become president.


“And I’ll go to work to make America a job-creating machine again. I know how that’s done. I know how we compete with other countries. I know why jobs come here and why they leave here. My intent will be to make America the most attractive place in the world for enterprise, for innovators, for entrepreneurs, for businesses big and large. I want them to come here.

“When the head of Coca-Cola, an American icon, says that the business environment is better in China than in the United States of America, you know something has gone badly awry.

“I will get America right again. I’ll get our tax rates competitive. I’ll make sure that regulators and regulations are up-to-date and encourage enterprise as oppose to crush it. I’ll make sure we open new markets for American goods and crack down on cheaters – like China.

“And I’ll also do something else and that is to take advantage of our energy resources, our oil, our gas. We can’t continue to rely on energy from others when we have energy like we do from Canada right next door. Let’s build that Keystone pipeline and get America energy secure again.


“And let me just end by saying this. This campaign is not just about dollars and cents at the federal level, balancing budgets – important as that is. It’s not just about jobs – important as that is. It’s also about the heart and soul of America.

“The question that America is going to face in this election is whether we’re going to remain a nation that our founders would recognize – a nation that was founded on the principles of opportunity and freedom? When they drafted the Declaration of Independence, they said that the Creator had endowed us with certain unalienable rights, among them – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

“That last phrase – the pursuit of happiness – refers to the fact that in America we can pursue our dreams, our happiness, as we choose. We’re not limited by the circumstance of our birth. We’re instead limited only by our dreaming and our capacity and our willingness to work.

“That opportunity society – that merit society – where education, hard work, risk-taking, and dreaming, lift individuals and lift our entire nation. That has been a source of extraordinary prosperity for America – led us as a people to have a GDP per person or income per person about 50% higher than the average European.

“These principles – these American principles – are not temporary but permanent, enduring. I want to restore them to make sure that job-creating machine going again and restore to our kids the principle of hope and promise of that they’ve always loved.

“I see our president taking us in a different direction. I think he’s inspired by those European-style social welfare states and believes that the purpose of government is in part to take from some people to give to others. And the methodology to pursue that strategy is to promote envy as opposed to ambition and to poison the American spirit with class warfare.

“I want America to remain one nation, under God. I want to bring us together. I want to restore the principles that made in America – the hope of the earth. I don’t want to transform America into something that we wouldn’t recognize. I want to restore America.

“I love this country. I love its future. I’m not a pessimist. I’m an optimist. I’m an optimistic about America and about the potential that each of you young people have for a nation that’s strong and prosperous and free.

“But let me tell you this, there’s no model in the world, there are no principles in the word, more effective for creating jobs and peace and prosperity and hope and promise than the principles of the founding of the United States of America.

“I love this country. I love the principles upon which it was founded. I will restore them for our future, for the greatness of this great land.”


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