Transcript: Delaware Gov. Jack Markell’s remarks at the Democratic National Convention
Transcript of remarks by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, September 5, 2012:
I am privileged to be the governor of Delaware, home to America’s Vice President—our favorite son—Joe Biden. Joe has never forgotten his middle-class roots or the lessons he learned. And you know what? Mitt Romney hasn’t forgotten his roots or the lessons he’s learned either. And that’s what worries me about Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney says that he should be your president because he was a business executive.
Now, I’ve got nothing against business executives running for office. After all, I am one. Before I entered public life, I earned my MBA at night while working during the day. I helped lead the wireless revolution at Nextel, and grew with it from 13 to 3,000 employees. I’m a proud card-carrying capitalist. And make no mistake: I believe in private equity, which helped back Nextel.
But as someone who has been a businessman and a governor, let me level with you: just because Mitt Romney was a successful private equity executive, that does not mean he deserves to be president. Because when you move from business to government, what matters are the lessons you learn and what those lessons say about your priorities. And Mitt Romney learned all the wrong lessons. As an executive in private equity, Mitt Romney’s focus was on the bottom line. And that makes sense: his constituents were his financial shareholders. When he closed factories and sent jobs overseas, it was to benefit his shareholders. That was his job, and he was good at it.
When you are a governor, or the president, it’s different. Your shareholders are teachers, construction workers, and hardware store owners. And your bottom line is not what goes into your pocket—but what goes into theirs. That’s the difference. When your constituents are your financial shareholders, perhaps it makes sense to take control of a company, suffocate it with debt, and get rid of the workers’ pensions. That kind of thing worked for Mitt Romney when he sat in his corporate office. But it won’t work for the country if Mitt Romney’s sitting in the Oval Office. Mitt Romney saw the death of Detroit as good for investors. He couldn’t see what the auto industry meant for the millions of middle-class families who depend on those jobs.
And Barack Obama? He immediately understood what was at stake. He saw saving the auto industry as good for his shareholders—the American people. President Obama made the tough call and saved the auto industry.
Luckily, we have a clear choice in this election. President Obama understands that while government alone cannot create jobs, it sure can create an environment for companies to grow, invest, and hire. That’s why President Obama has a plan to create jobs and build a strong economy to last. You can read it for yourself at Barack Obama.com/plan.
Every day, President Obama is working for the men and women of the middle class who do the hard work of this great nation—investing in you, your education, your job skills, and the roads and bridges we all depend on. When I began as governor, I received a phone call no governor wants to get. One of our top employers, a refinery, was planning to shut down, and lay off all the workers. In fact, they did just that. Days after the plant closed, I visited the workers. I could see in their eyes that they weren’t ready to quit. I promised I would fight for them. So I worked with labor, with investors, with a talented new management team—all committed to keeping the refinery running—and we saved those jobs. You see, my shareholders were those refinery workers. I had to deliver for them.
Let me ask you: what do you think Mitt Romney would have done if that call came in? Well, Mitt Romney has already told us what he would do. Mitt Romney says he likes to fire people. Barack Obama? He likes to see people hired. From the moment he took office, President Obama has delivered for the middle class. He believes that we need to grow our economy from the middle out, and not from the top down, that we need to keep America a land of middle-class opportunity. And to keep faith with that promise—the promise of America—it’s up to us.
We must work for it. We must fight for it. And we must re-elect Barack Obama the President of the United States.