Transcript: Tom Stemberg’s remarks at the Republican National Convention

Edited by Jenny Jiang

Transcript of remarks by Tom Stemberg at the Republican National Convention on Aug. 30, 2012:

Tom Stemberg at the Republican National Convention on Aug. 30, 2012. SOURCE:

“Twenty-five years ago I had a crazy idea for a new business.

“I wanted to do to office supplies what Home Depot had done with home improvement. I pictured an office superstore for regular customers and small businesses. The business would be called Staples.

“It wasn’t easy at first. I had a vision and a business plan.

“Then I met Mitt Romney. He helped make it come alive.

“Now Mitt was an unusual guy. He had already enjoyed great success at Bain & Company. But he knew the value of a dollar.

“When I told him about Staples, he really got excited at the idea of saving a few cents on paper clips.

“Funny thing.

“But I ask you. Who would make a better president: Someone who knows how to save a dollar on pens and paper or someone who knows how to waste $535 million on Solyndra?

“The truth is Mitt was not a typical investor. He was a true partner. Where some saw an unproven new business, he saw a store that could save people money. He recognized that efficiency creates consumer value.

“He never looked at Staples as merely a financial investment. He saw the engine of prosperity it could become.

“Today Staples employs nearly 90,000 people. It has over 2,000 stores. Over 50 distribution centers. It is part of a competitive industry that helps entrepreneurs and small businesses get started on their own.

“For me, as a founder, it was the realization of a dream.

“So you can imagine my dismay, when I see this White House and their campaign demonizing Mitt Romney. Demonizing Bain Capital. Demonizing the private equity industry that created so many new jobs.

“Over and over again: Fiction. Half truths. Down-right lies.

“You have to ask yourself: why would an Administration that can’t create any jobs demonize someone who did?

“I’ve got a theory.

“I think when it comes to jobs, new businesses, and economic growth – they just don’t get it.

“They say that Mitt Romney is out of touch with ordinary Americans.

“They just don’t get it.

“The night before we opened the first store, I asked our people to do back-to-back all-nighters.

“That’s when I got a call from Mitt. He wanted to come over and talk with the team, spend time with them. He told me in very clear terms: This business is all about the people.

“But this Obama-Biden campaign; they just don’t get it.

“They will tell you that private equity is focused only on the short-term.

“Tell that to the founders of Bright Horizons Day Care, a company that has transformed corporate day care.

“Most people didn’t give the business a chance. It went for five straight years without making a profit – but Mitt and Bain Capital stood by them.

“Mitt and Bain Capital believed in the vision.

“They understood how important it was for women to join the workforce and have on-site care for their children. It was an overdue revolution in the American workplace.

“Today the company employs over 19,000 people.

“But President Obama and his friends, they just don’t get it.

“The Obama campaign will tell you that Bain Capital was a form of ‘Vampire Capitalism.’ Drain the blood from a company and move on.

“They just don’t get it.

“Where were they when Mitt stayed with Staples for 15 years – long after Bain Capital had sold its stock?

“Where were they when Bain Capital helped start Steel Dynamics, when most people had given up on the American steel industry?

“Eighteen years later that company employs 6,000 people.

“But this administration they just don’t get it.

“They’ve got a Jobs Council that never meets.

“A Democratic Senate that doesn’t act.

“A President who doesn’t believe and a Vice President who won’t stop talking.

“They just don’t get it.

“They don’t get it because they don’t believe in the spirit of the entrepreneur. They don’t understand what it means to risk money to create something new.

“They don’t understand the hard work it takes to get a business off the ground. The sacrifices you make, the Little League games you miss.

“They don’t see that this is a country of opportunity, where someone like myself, the son of immigrants born in Newark, New Jersey – and proud of it, Governor Christie – can live the American dream.

“Well, let me tell you: my friend Mitt Romney gets it.

“And I could not be more confident in saying that the American people get it.

“That’s why, this November, they will elect Mitt Romney as the next President of the United States of America.”


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