Transcript: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee tells RNC “Let’s vote him out”
Edited by Jenny Jiang
Transcript of remarks by Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at the Republican National Convention on Aug. 29, 2012:
“I was so very honored to be asked to address one of this week’s themes, ‘We can do better.’
“Then, I heard some folks backstage say that after hearing me speak, the delegates will say, ‘We sure can do better than Huckabee’ and will nominate Mitt Romney to be the next President of the United States.
“Tampa has been such a wonderful and hospitable city to us. The only hitch in an otherwise perfect week was the awful noise coming from the hotel room next door to mine. Turns out it was just Debbie Wasserman Schultz practicing her speech for the DNC in Charlotte next week. Bless her heart.
“Four years ago, Mitt Romney and I were opponents. We still are, but we’re not opposing each other.
“We are mutual opponents of the miserably failed experiments that have put this country in a downward spiral.
“Our country was in its origin an experiment, but an experiment in recognizing God-given individual liberty and creating a government in which no one is deemed better than another and all of us are equal.
“Not equal in abilities, but in intrinsic worth and value. It is the essence of not just who we are, but what we are.
“To those who question how once rivals can now be united, it’s simple – we have Barack Obama to thank.
“He said, ‘You didn’t build it.’
“Translation: ‘It doesn’t rightly belong to you!’
“No small differences among us in our party approximate the vast differences between the liberty-limiting, radical left-wing, anti-business, reckless-spending, tax-hiking party of Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi, versus an energized America who knows that we can do better.
“For four years, we’ve given a chance to a man with very limited experience in governing, no experience in business whatsoever, and since taking office, mostly an interest in campaigning, blaming, and aiming excuses at his predecessor, the Republicans, and people in business, or as Republicans like to call them, employers.
“We’ve stagnated into an economy that has taken all that hope “down the slope” and left millions without jobs, forced out of their homes by foreclosure, and herded into dependency upon a government that promises us candy and gives us cavities.
“Barack Obama seems intent on enrolling more people on food stamps. Mitt Romney’s focus will be on generating more jobs that would make food stamps unnecessary for them.
“We know full well that we can do better.
“Mitt Romney turned around companies that were on the skids; turned around a scandal ridden Olympics that was deep in the red into a high point of profitable and patriotic pride; and turned around a very liberal state by erasing a deficit and replacing it with a surplus.
“Barack Obama said if he couldn’t turn things around in three years, it would be a one-term proposition. It’s been almost four … let’s make him a proposition he can’t refuse.
“Let’s vote him out!
“The job of President is admittedly tougher than running a company, Olympic contest, or a commonwealth, but when one sees what even Bill Clinton noted was a sterling record of problem-solving that has marked the life of Mitt Romney, we are confident we WILL do better.
“Mitt has been loyal to his wife, his sons, his country, his employees, and his church.
“I’m sure the press will tell you he isn’t perfect.
“But for the past four years, we’ve tried the one the press thought was perfect, and that hasn’t worked out so well for us.
“We can do better!
“The Founding Fathers of our great nation left taxation and tyranny seeking religious liberty and a society of meritocracy rather than aristocracy. They created a bold experiment in government, believing God gave us unalienable rights, and government’s role is simply to make sure they are protected.
“So fearful were they that government would grow beyond their intention that even after crafting our magnificent Constitution, they said, “We can do even better.” They added amendments that we call the Bill of Rights that limit what the government can do and guarantee what “We the people” have the unimpeded right to do – whether to speak, assemble, worship, pray, publish, or even refuse intrusions into our homes.
“Many of them died to pass on that heritage. They had lived under the boot of big government and said, ‘We can do better.’
“As a kid growing up in a household with a dad who never finished high school and a family in which no male upstream from me had ever finished high school, much less gone to college, I was taught that there was nothing I could do about what was behind me, but could change everything about what was in front of me.
“My working-poor parents told me I could do better. They taught me that I was as good as anyone else. It never occurred to them to tell me that I could rest comfortably and wait for Uncle Sugar to feed me, lead me, and then bleed me.
“They told me to get off my backside, work hard, take risks, and treat people honestly and honorably. And look what’s happened – I have become as the press label me, “a failed candidate.”
“It’s true; I have fallen from the high perch of politics and now wallow in the mud of the media, but I still know that as a country, we can do better, and with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, we will.
“Let me clear the air about whether guys like me would only support an evangelical. Of the four people on the two tickets, the only self-professed evangelical is Barack Obama, and he supports changing the definition of marriage, believes that human life is disposable and expendable at any time in the womb or even beyond the womb, and tells people of faith that they must bow their knees to the god of government and violate their faith and conscience in order to comply with what he calls health care.
“Friends, I know we can do better!
“The attack on my Catholic brothers and sisters is an attack on me. The Democrats have brought back the old dance the “Limbo” to see how low they can go in attempting to limit our ability to practice our faith.
“This isn’t a battle about contraceptives and Catholics, but of conscience and the Creator.
“I care far less as to where Mitt Romney takes his family to church than I do about where he takes this country. Joe Biden said, ‘Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.’ Well, in the Senate, Joe’s party hasn’t produced a budget in three years.
“What does that say about their values?
“Speaking of budgets, Joe Biden’s budget shows that while he wants to be generous with your money through higher taxes and government spending, for years he gave less than two-tenths of 1 percent of his money to charity.
“He just wants you to give the government more so he and the Democrats can feel better about themselves. Mitt Romney has given over 16% of his income to his church and charity, and I’d feel better about having a leader who gives more of his own money instead of mine.
“My concern is not Barack Obama’s past; my concern is for the future – not his future, but the future of my grandchildren.
“And under this President, we burdened each of them with tens of thousands of dollars of debt, and a system that will collapse upon itself because he thinks we can prosper by punishing productivity and rewarding reckless irresponsibility.
“The Democrats say we ought to give Barack Obama credit for trying. That sounds like the nonsense of giving every kid a trophy for showing up.
“Friends, we’re talking about leading the country, not playing on a third-grade soccer team!
“I realize this is the man who got a Nobel Peace Prize for what he would potentially do, but in the real world, you get the prize for producing something, not just promising it.
“Sometimes, we’re so close to the picture, we can’t really see it clearly. I’ve worked with Bono for the past few years in the ONE campaign to fight AIDS and hunger and disease around the world.
“He’s an Irishman and a great humanitarian who told me of his admiration for America. He said we’re more than a country; we’re an idea.
“He reminded me that we are an exceptional nation with an extraordinary history who owes it to the generations coming after us to leave them an extraordinary legacy.
“If we don’t change the direction of our nation now, our bequest will be nothing but an extraordinary shame.
“But we can do better.
“President Obama is out of gas; Americans are out of patience, and our great Republic is almost out of time. It’s time we no longer lead from behind, but get off our behinds and leave something lasting for those who come after us instead of a mountain of debt and a pile of excuses.
“Tonight, it’s not because we’re Republicans; it’s because we’re Americans that we proudly stand with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to say we will do better!”