Full text: Ryan's remarks to the GOP convention
August 29th, 2012
10:33 PM ET
2 years ago

Full text: Ryan's remarks to the GOP convention

(CNN) - Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's remarks to the GOP convention, as released by the Romney campaign:

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Paul Ryan today delivered remarks to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. The following remarks were prepared for delivery:

Mr. Chairman, delegates, and fellow citizens: I am honored by the support of this convention for vice president of the United States.

I accept the duty to help lead our nation out of a jobs crisis and back to prosperity – and I know we can do this.

I accept the calling of my generation to give our children the America that was given to us, with opportunity for the young and security for the old – and I know that we are ready.

Our nominee is sure ready. His whole life has prepared him for this moment – to meet serious challenges in a serious way, without excuses and idle words. After four years of getting the run-around, America needs a turnaround, and the man for the job is Governor Mitt Romney.

I’m the newcomer to the campaign, so let me share a first impression. I have never seen opponents so silent about their record, and so desperate to keep their power.

They’ve run out of ideas. Their moment came and went. Fear and division are all they’ve got left.

With all their attack ads, the president is just throwing away money – and he’s pretty experienced at that. You see, some people can’t be dragged down by the usual cheap tactics, because their ability, character, and plain decency are so obvious – and ladies and gentlemen, that is Mitt Romney.

For my part, your nomination is an unexpected turn. It certainly came as news to my family, and I’d like you to meet them: My wife Janna, our daughter Liza, and our boys Charlie and Sam.

The kids are happy to see their grandma, who lives in Florida. There she is – my Mom, Betty.

My Dad, a small-town lawyer, was also named Paul. Until we lost him when I was 16, he was a gentle presence in my life. I like to think he’d be proud of me and my sister and brothers, because I’m sure proud of him and of where I come from, Janesville, Wisconsin.

I live on the same block where I grew up. We belong to the same parish where I was baptized. Janesville is that kind of place.

The people of Wisconsin have been good to me. I’ve tried to live up to their trust. And now I ask those hardworking men and women, and millions like them across America, to join our cause and get this country working again.

When Governor Romney asked me to join the ticket, I said, “Let’s get this done” – and that is exactly, what we’re going to do.

President Barack Obama came to office during an economic crisis, as he has reminded us a time or two. Those were very tough days, and any fair measure of his record has to take that into account. My home state voted for President Obama. When he talked about change, many people liked the sound of it, especially in Janesville, where we were about to lose a major factory.

A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: “I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.” That’s what he said in 2008.

Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.

Right now, 23 million men and women are struggling to find work. Twenty-three million people, unemployed or underemployed. Nearly one in six Americans is living in poverty. Millions of young Americans have graduated from college during the Obama presidency, ready to use their gifts and get moving in life. Half of them can’t find the work they studied for, or any work at all.

So here’s the question: Without a change in leadership, why would the next four years be any different from the last four years?

The first troubling sign came with the stimulus. It was President Obama’s first and best shot at fixing the economy, at a time when he got everything he wanted under one-party rule. It cost $831 billion – the largest one-time expenditure ever by our federal government.

It went to companies like Solyndra, with their gold-plated connections, subsidized jobs, and make-believe markets. The stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare, and cronyism at their worst. You, the working men and women of this country, were cut out of the deal.

What did the taxpayers get out of the Obama stimulus? More debt. That money wasn’t just spent and wasted – it was borrowed, spent, and wasted.

Maybe the greatest waste of all was time. Here we were, faced with a massive job crisis – so deep that if everyone out of work stood in single file, that unemployment line would stretch the length of the entire American continent. You would think that any president, whatever his party, would make job creation, and nothing else, his first order of economic business.

But this president didn’t do that. Instead, we got a long, divisive, all-or-nothing attempt to put the federal government in charge of health care.

Obamacare comes to more than two thousand pages of rules, mandates, taxes, fees, and fines that have no place in a free country.

The president has declared that the debate over government-controlled health care is over. That will come as news to the millions of Americans who will elect Mitt Romney so we can repeal Obamacare.

And the biggest, coldest power play of all in Obamacare came at the expense of the elderly.

You see, even with all the hidden taxes to pay for the health care takeover, even with new taxes on nearly a million small businesses, the planners in Washington still didn’t have enough money. They needed more. They needed hundreds of billions more. So, they just took it all away from Medicare. Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama. An obligation we have to our parents and grandparents is being sacrificed, all to pay for a new entitlement we didn’t even ask for. The greatest threat to Medicare is Obamacare, and we’re going to stop it.

In Congress, when they take out the heavy books and wall charts about Medicare, my thoughts go back to a house on Garfield Street in Janesville. My wonderful grandma, Janet, had Alzheimer’s and moved in with Mom and me. Though she felt lost at times, we did all the little things that made her feel loved.

We had help from Medicare, and it was there, just like it’s there for my Mom today. Medicare is a promise, and we will honor it. A Romney-Ryan administration will protect and strengthen Medicare, for my Mom’s generation, for my generation, and for my kids and yours.

So our opponents can consider themselves on notice. In this election, on this issue, the usual posturing on the Left isn’t going to work. Mitt Romney and I know the difference between protecting a program, and raiding it. Ladies and gentlemen, our nation needs this debate. We want this debate. We will win this debate.

Obamacare, as much as anything else, explains why a presidency that began with such anticipation now comes to such a disappointing close.

It began with a financial crisis; it ends with a job crisis.

It began with a housing crisis they alone didn’t cause; it ends with a housing crisis they didn’t correct.

It began with a perfect Triple-A credit rating for the United States; it ends with a downgraded America.

It all started off with stirring speeches, Greek columns, the thrill of something new. Now all that’s left is a presidency adrift, surviving on slogans that already seem tired, grasping at a moment that has already passed, like a ship trying to sail on yesterday’s wind.

President Obama was asked not long ago to reflect on any mistakes he might have made. He said, well, “I haven’t communicated enough.” He said his job is to “tell a story to the American people” – as if that’s the whole problem here? He needs to talk more, and we need to be better listeners?

Ladies and gentlemen, these past four years we have suffered no shortage of words in the White House. What’s missing is leadership in the White House. And the story that Barack Obama does tell, forever shifting blame to the last administration, is getting old. The man assumed office almost four years ago – isn’t it about time he assumed responsibility?

In this generation, a defining responsibility of government is to steer our nation clear of a debt crisis while there is still time. Back in 2008, candidate Obama called a $10 trillion national debt “unpatriotic” – serious talk from what looked to be a serious reformer.

Yet by his own decisions, President Obama has added more debt than any other president before him, and more than all the troubled governments of Europe combined. One president, one term, $5 trillion in new debt.

He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.

Republicans stepped up with good-faith reforms and solutions equal to the problems. How did the president respond? By doing nothing – nothing except to dodge and demagogue the issue.

So here we are, $16 trillion in debt and still he does nothing. In Europe, massive debts have put entire governments at risk of collapse, and still he does nothing. And all we have heard from this president and his team are attacks on anyone who dares to point out the obvious.

They have no answer to this simple reality: We need to stop spending money we don’t have.

My Dad used to say to me: “Son. You have a choice: You can be part of the problem, or you can be part of the solution.” The present administration has made its choices. And Mitt Romney and I have made ours: Before the math and the momentum overwhelm us all, we are going to solve this nation’s economic problems.

And I’m going to level with you: We don’t have that much time. But if we are serious, and smart, and we lead, we can do this.

After four years of government trying to divide up the wealth, we will get America creating wealth again. With tax fairness and regulatory reform, we’ll put government back on the side of the men and women who create jobs, and the men and women who need jobs.

My Mom started a small business, and I’ve seen what it takes. Mom was 50 when my Dad died. She got on a bus every weekday for years, and rode 40 miles each morning to Madison. She earned a new degree and learned new skills to start her small business. It wasn’t just a new livelihood. It was a new life. And it transformed my Mom from a widow in grief to a small businesswoman whose happiness wasn’t just in the past. Her work gave her hope. It made our family proud. And to this day, my Mom is my role model.

Behind every small business, there’s a story worth knowing. All the corner shops in our towns and cities, the restaurants, cleaners, gyms, hair salons, hardware stores – these didn’t come out of nowhere. A lot of heart goes into each one. And if small businesspeople say they made it on their own, all they are saying is that nobody else worked seven days a week in their place. Nobody showed up in their place to open the door at five in the morning. Nobody did their thinking, and worrying, and sweating for them. After all that work, and in a bad economy, it sure doesn’t help to hear from their president that government gets the credit. What they deserve to hear is the truth: Yes, you did build that.

We have a plan for a stronger middle class, with the goal of generating 12 million new jobs over the next four years.

In a clean break from the Obama years, and frankly from the years before this president, we will keep federal spending at 20 percent of GDP, or less. That is enough. The choice is whether to put hard limits on economic growth, or hard limits on the size of government, and we choose to limit government.

I learned a good deal about economics, and about America, from the author of the Reagan tax reforms – the great Jack Kemp. What gave Jack that incredible enthusiasm was his belief in the possibilities of free people, in the power of free enterprise and strong communities to overcome poverty and despair. We need that same optimism right now.

And in our dealings with other nations, a Romney-Ryan administration will speak with confidence and clarity. Wherever men and women rise up for their own freedom, they will know that the American president is on their side. Instead of managing American decline, leaving allies to doubt us and adversaries to test us, we will act in the conviction that the United States is still the greatest force for peace and liberty that this world has ever known.

President Obama is the kind of politician who puts promises on the record, and then calls that the record. But we are four years into this presidency. The issue is not the economy as Barack Obama inherited it, not the economy as he envisions it, but this economy as we are living it.

College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life. Everyone who feels stuck in the Obama economy is right to focus on the here and now. And I hope you understand this too, if you’re feeling left out or passed by: You have not failed, your leaders have failed you.

None of us have to settle for the best this administration offers – a dull, adventureless journey from one entitlement to the next, a government-planned life, a country where everything is free but us.

Listen to the way we’re spoken to already, as if everyone is stuck in some class or station in life, victims of circumstances beyond our control, with government there to help us cope with our fate.

It’s the exact opposite of everything I learned growing up in Wisconsin, or at college in Ohio. When I was waiting tables, washing dishes, or mowing lawns for money, I never thought of myself as stuck in some station in life. I was on my own path, my own journey, an American journey where I could think for myself, decide for myself, define happiness for myself. That’s what we do in this country. That’s the American Dream. That’s freedom, and I’ll take it any day over the supervision and sanctimony of the central planners.

By themselves, the failures of one administration are not a mandate for a new administration. A challenger must stand on his own merits. He must be ready and worthy to serve in the office of president.

We’re a full generation apart, Governor Romney and I. And, in some ways, we’re a little different. There are the songs on his iPod, which I’ve heard on the campaign bus and on many hotel elevators. He actually urged me to play some of these songs at campaign rallies. I said, I hope it’s not a deal-breaker Mitt, but my playlist starts with AC/DC, and ends with Zeppelin.

A generation apart. That makes us different, but not in any of the things that matter. Mitt Romney and I both grew up in the heartland, and we know what places like Wisconsin and Michigan look like when times are good, when people are working, when families are doing more than just getting by. And we both know it can be that way again.

We’ve had very different careers – mine mainly in public service, his mostly in the private sector. He helped start businesses and turn around failing ones. By the way, being successful in business – that’s a good thing.

Mitt has not only succeeded, but succeeded where others could not. He turned around the Olympics at a time when a great institution was collapsing under the weight of bad management, overspending, and corruption – sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

He was the Republican governor of a state where almost nine in ten legislators are Democrats, and yet he balanced the budget without raising taxes. Unemployment went down, household incomes went up, and Massachusetts, under Mitt Romney, saw its credit rating upgraded.

Mitt and I also go to different churches. But in any church, the best kind of preaching is done by example. And I’ve been watching that example. The man who will accept your nomination tomorrow is prayerful and faithful and honorable. Not only a defender of marriage, he offers an example of marriage at its best. Not only a fine businessman, he’s a fine man, worthy of leading this optimistic and good-hearted country.

Our different faiths come together in the same moral creed. We believe that in every life there is goodness; for every person, there is hope. Each one of us was made for a reason, bearing the image and likeness of the Lord of Life.

We have responsibilities, one to another – we do not each face the world alone. And the greatest of all responsibilities, is that of the strong to protect the weak. The truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves.

Each of these great moral ideas is essential to democratic government – to the rule of law, to life in a humane and decent society. They are the moral creed of our country, as powerful in our time, as on the day of America’s founding. They are self-evident and unchanging, and sometimes, even presidents need reminding, that our rights come from nature and God, not from government.

The founding generation secured those rights for us, and in every generation since, the best among us have defended our freedoms. They are protecting us right now. We honor them and all our veterans, and we thank them.

The right that makes all the difference now, is the right to choose our own leaders. And you are entitled to the clearest possible choice, because the time for choosing is drawing near. So here is our pledge.

We will not duck the tough issues, we will lead.

We will not spend four years blaming others, we will take responsibility.

We will not try to replace our founding principles, we will reapply our founding principles.

The work ahead will be hard. These times demand the best of us – all of us, but we can do this. Together, we can do this.

We can get this country working again. We can get this economy growing again. We can make the safety net safe again. We can do this.

Whatever your political party, let’s come together for the sake of our country. Join Mitt Romney and me. Let’s give this effort everything we have. Let’s see this through all the way. Let’s get this done.

Thank you, and God bless.


Filed under: 2012 • Paul Ryan • Republican National Convention
soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. S Sheppard

    Ryan's speech is nothing but lies. (1) GM plant closed BEFORE Obama became POTUS. (2) The stimulus did nothing for the American people?...gave many unemployment benefits, payroll tax cuts..and more. (3) It is the Repulicans that caused our credit rating to be degraded. I could go on...but these GOP gullibles will believe anything Ryan says. Even though they (GOP) spent like greedy hogs for eight years, everything is all Obama's fault. What a load of CRAP!

    August 29, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  2. Tired of republican lies

    Yeah standing up their lying like the rest of them...

    August 29, 2012 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  3. LouAZ

    No substance of who or what they are. He spent most of the time defining (incorrectly) Obama. I know all about Obama and what he has or has not done and the do nothing Congress that you Ryan are part of. Give me some boundaries, some definitive plans . . . 20% of GDP is not a plan. C'mon, quit waisting my time about what you don't like about Obama.
    Tell me something besides Mom and Apple Pie and the 4th of July. We're waiting !

    August 29, 2012 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  4. Name

    There is no detail just talking points

    August 29, 2012 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  5. BostonianNTheWoodlandsTX

    Watching this guy at the RNC......I don't think he can be any more smug than what he is.

    Whats with the deep sigh and shrug of the shoulders after every comment ?

    A courious observation. I noticed he said he and Romney know what cities in the midwest look like when times are good.

    But perhaps because of his background and both of them having millionaire fathers, I noticed Ryan never touched that he and Mitt knew what these towns look like when times are bad.

    Just a observation.

    Overall....very arrogant and smug guy.

    August 29, 2012 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  6. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    At the end of the speech, Ryan brough far too much religion into the speech. I don't like that because we are to have a seperation. This seems to be a party that has religion as its center which isn't how it should be.

    August 29, 2012 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  7. Susan G.

    I am a 68 y. old white woman and was a registered Repulican all my life until I changed my party to Democat to elect President Obama. Listening to the GOP speeches I am going to remain a Democrat and a stonger than ever Obama supporter. The late night hosts and SNL are going to have two months of great comedy material from the GOP convention. It is the whitest and oldest crowd of people I have ever seen gathered. I was embarassed for Christie, Ann Romney, and McCain. Paul Ryan looks like a clone of Mitt Romney and is yet another power hungry politian. GOP SPEECHES WERE A JOKE!

    August 29, 2012 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  8. Chip Douglas

    He still wants to waste time, trying to repeal ObamaCare. Um, Paul, the Supreme Court of the United States has upheld it. Did you not get that email or see this news on CNN? And let the back-peddling begin on Medicare. Vouchers- schmouchers.

    August 29, 2012 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  9. Warren

    Paul Ryan is very dangerous to Americans....

    August 29, 2012 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  10. Thomas

    It is laughable that someone who wants to basically shutter Medicare and Medicaid, slash education spending would use the famous quote, given by many in many forms, regarding the "character of a nation judged by how it deals with least able to fend for themselves" paraphrased obviously. How can he possibly believe the actions they want to take would help the many many Americans who unfortunately are in that catergory?

    August 29, 2012 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  11. Warren

    Lets get to the real problem... Corruption in government and stop that....

    *Congressional Reform Act of 2013*
    1. No Tenure / No Pension.
    A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.
    2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.
    All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.
    3. Congress will receive 3 weeks' vacation a year.
    4. Congress work week Monday 9am thru Friday Noon.
    5. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
    6. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%. IF, no raise for Social Security there would be no raise for Congress.
    7. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
    8. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
    9. Congress may not accept gifts, kick backs, bribes or special interest money.
    A Congressman caught accepting will face 5 years imprisonment, fine of amount of gift plus $250,000.00
    10. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/13.
    The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

    August 29, 2012 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  12. Brandy

    I can't believe that Ryan mentions his mother and everyone goes gaga! A single mother (as I am) will get no help from the Republican party.

    August 29, 2012 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  13. Romney/Ryan = Bought & Paid For All Along

    Ryan is a career politician who Romney wants to sell as a "regular guy". When I see what they did to Ron Paul I realize the Republican Party is dead. Billionaires now control Romney and Ryan because they are both men without any real ideology. The billionaires never even listened to Dr. Paul because they knew he was honest and had true convictions. He wasn't a good man to manipulate. The whole primary was a scam and we got screwed.

    It's my first vote ever for President and I will vote for President Obama. I wanted a more libertarian-leaning President but I can't vote for a person like Romney. I want my vote to help Americans and not just the wealthy. At least President Obama cares about senior citizens and the middle-class workers. My very first vote will go for Obama/Biden.

    August 29, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  14. deeb

    This guy is not VP material....any more than Mitt is presidential. It's sad that lies, deceit & fear are their only trump card. Pathetic.

    August 29, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  15. Craig Walter

    The high sound rhetoric and evoking God in the name of freedom does nothing to address the dogmas of economics where capitalism is made synonymous with democracy and entrepreneurship. The Communist system failed because of dogma and yes a society that is ruled by government is very wrong. However it is capitalism and greed 'The Root of All Evil' that if not addressed with the principle of progressive utilization – will lead to massive disappointment and ongoing suffering for The USA and the world if the Republicans take power. There belief is just like the dogma of Religions and leaders who don't believe in evolution that is a function of creation. Those who purport to be the champions of freedom and say nothing about the extreme concentration of wealth brought about by capitalism are once again issuing gasconades to befool the public just as Hitler raised the patriot fevour of a suppressed people. These are the most dangerous people of all.

    August 29, 2012 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  16. The Unsub

    Good speech, although it was full of lies!

    August 29, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  17. Joan

    Paul Ryan rocked the house ! Face it Liberals!

    August 29, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Really sad in today's politics..and thats why very afriad if Ryan -Romney get power..so many lies from Ryan ..so far from Auto bailout to medicare ..he lies through his teeth ..and he says it with so much confidence..I wonder if he says he goes to church and he is conservative ..doesnt he know that one should not lie..and if this guy and Romney can hide things at this point..if they get elected ..God help America!

    August 29, 2012 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  19. Really?

    @Warren
    Why? Because he believes in personal responsibility, jobs for everyone, a prosperous nation and freedom? Oh, and you like the Obama plan better? We have been living with the Obama plan for almost 4 years and guess what: it was all talk and that's all it will ever be.

    August 29, 2012 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  20. Bo

    What a great speech, glad to see Ryan do such s great job. Obama has no chance.

    August 29, 2012 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  21. stevec

    Did Paul Ryan say in order to control debt spending he was changing his retirement healthcare plan to a $6000 a year voucher. I didn't hear him say that.

    August 29, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  22. Emerson

    "It’s the exact opposite of everything I learned growing up in Wisconsin, or at college in Ohio. When I was waiting tables, washing dishes, or mowing lawns for money, I never thought of myself as stuck in some station in life. I was on my own path, my own journey, an American journey where I could think for myself, decide for myself, define happiness for myself. That’s what we do in this country. That’s the American Dream. That’s freedom, and I’ll take it any day over the supervision and sanctimony of the central planners."

    The American Dream still exists Mr. Ryan, its just a lot harder to reach when college education is $50k-to 60k per year, we are in a global economy and our manufacturing base, and now even service jobs, are being shipped oversees. Your clumsy attempt at trying to portray the present adiminstration as some type of Big Brother is patheritic enough to rouse the knee jerk extreme right, but it makes no sense to the average American. What is clear is that you intend to gut Medicare and Social Security, which you in accurately refer to, with repect to hard working Americans pay into them, as "entitlement" programs ,and at the same time lower taxes for the wealthy, which wiil not reduce the deficit which I thought was your mantra. I wonder if the GOP has plans to bring back the poor houses and work houses of the earl 19th century? If your party wins, you will not have to worry about making it in the New America (which will look a lot like Venezuela) as you have curried favor with the big money guys and can always make a few more million as a lobbyist. And all this from a kid who benefited from social security Aid to Dependent Children. Shame on you.

    August 29, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  23. DD

    Great night! Great speeches! There is hope! Home run with this comment: "College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life." Have 2 in our family in that situation. Government need business to pay for programs. Only through strengthening business can you grow the economy and government programs. If you want more handouts, you better vote republican. If you want a job, you better vote republican. Obama has had his chance.

    August 29, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  24. Really?

    LouAZ – you evidently didn't hear or read the speech. He gave plans. Now, you know what Obama has done? What?

    August 29, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  25. Alan

    Let me boil this down to the pure essence:

    "Hand the reins of the country back to the party whose president gave you the Great Recession, from which you're still digging yourself. We will give you more of the same."

    August 29, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
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