TOPICS > Politics

Sen. Marco Rubio: ‘Hope and Change Has Become Divide and Conquer’

August 30, 2012 at 12:00 AM EST
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida spoke at the Republican National Convention Thursday night, addressing goals for the nation and introducing presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

TRANSCRIPT

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-Fla.: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I think I just drank Clint Eastwood’s water. Thank you.

(LAUGHTER)

MARCO RUBIO: Thank you so much.

Why, thank you so much, thank you so much for having me here today and thank you so much for doing this convention here in Florida.

Before I begin — thank you. Before I begin, this is such an important night for our country. I want to take just — with your permission, just a few seconds to talk about another country, a country located just a few hundred miles away from this city, the country of my parents’ birth.

There is no freedom or liberty in Cuba. And, tonight, I ask for your prayers that soon freedom and liberty will be theirs as well.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MARCO RUBIO: This is a big honor for me.

Not so long ago, I was just a deep underdog candidate. The only people that thought I could win all lived in my house.

(LAUGHTER)

MARCO RUBIO: Four of them were under the age of 10. But this is incredible. When I was asked to introduce Governor Mitt Romney, who we will hear from in just a moment. I promise you, he is backstage ready to go.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MARCO RUBIO: So, I called a few people and I asked them, what should I say? And they had a lot of different opinions. But the one thing they all said is: Don’t mess it up.

So I thought the best way to introduce Mitt Romney tonight, the next president of the United States… 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MARCO RUBIO: …is to talk about what this election is about.

And I am so honored to be able to do it here in Florida at the Republican National Convention, in front of all you patriots.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MARCO RUBIO: I watched my first convention in 1980 with my grandfather.

My grandfather was born to a farming family in rural Cuba. Childhood polio left him permanently disabled. Because he couldn’t work the farm, his family sent him to school. He was the only one in the family that knew how to read.

He was a huge influence on me growing up. As a boy, I used to sit on the porch of our house and listen to his stories about history, and politics and baseball, as he would puff on one of his three daily Padron cigars.

I don’t remember — it’s been three decades since we last sat on that porch. And I don’t remember all the things he talked to me about, but the one thing I remember is the one thing he wanted me never to forget, that the dreams he had when he was young became impossible to achieve. But there was no limit how far I could go because I was an American.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MARCO RUBIO: Now, for those of us — here’s why I say that. Here’s why I say that, because for those of us who were born and raised in this country, sometimes, it becomes easy to forget how special America is.

But my grandfather understood how different America was from the rest of the world, because he knew life outside America. Tonight, you will hear from another man who understands what makes America exceptional.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MARCO RUBIO: Mitt Romney knows America’s prosperity didn’t happen because our government simply spent more money. It happened because our people used their own money to open a business.

And when they succeed, they hire more people, who invest or spend their money in the economy, helping others start a business or create jobs.

Now, tonight, we have heard for a long time now about Mitt Romney’s success in business. It is well known. But we have also learned that he’s so much more than that.

Mitt Romney is a devoted husband, a father, a grandfather. A generous member of his community and church, a role model for younger Americans like myself.

Everywhere he’s been, he’s volunteered his time and talent to make things better for those around him.

And we are blessed a man like this will soon be the president of these United States.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MARCO RUBIO: Now, let me be clear so no one misunderstands.

Our problem with President Obama isn’t that he’s a bad person. By all accounts, he too is a good husband, and a good father — and thanks to lots of practice, a good golfer.

(LAUGHTER)

MARCO RUBIO: Our problem is not that he’s a bad person. Our problem is that he’s a bad president.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MARCO RUBIO: You think he’s watching tonight?

(LAUGHTER)

MARCO RUBIO: Because his new slogan for his campaign is the word forward.

Forward? A government that spends $1 trillion more than it takes in?

An $800 billion stimulus that created more debt than jobs?

A government intervention into health care paid for with higher taxes and cuts to Medicare.

Scores of new rules and regulations.

These ideas don’t move us forward. These ideas move us backwards.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MARCO RUBIO: These are tired and old big government ideas that have failed every time and everywhere they have been tried.

These are ideas that people come to America to get away from.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MARCO RUBIO: These are ideas that threaten to make America more like the rest of the world, instead of helping the rest of the world become more like America.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MARCO RUBIO: As for his old slogan, under Barack Obama, the only change is that hope is hard to find.

(LAUGHTER)

MARCO RUBIO: Now, sadly, millions of Americans are insecure about their future. But instead of inspiring us by reminding us of what makes us special, he divides us against each other. He tells Americans that they’re worse off because others are better off, that rich people got rich by making other people poor.

Hope and change has become divide and conquer.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MARCO RUBIO: But in the end, this election, it doesn’t matter about how you feel about President Obama, because this election is about your future, not about his.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MARCO RUBIO: And this election is not simply a choice between a Democrat and a Republican. It’s a choice about what kind of country we want America to be.

As we prepare to make this choice, we should remember what made us special. You see, for most of human history, almost everybody was poor. Power and wealth only belonged to a few, your right to whatever your rulers allowed you to have. Your future was determined by your past.

If your parents were poor, so would you be. If you were born without opportunities, so were your children. But America was founded on the principle that every person has God-given rights…

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MARCO RUBIO: … founded on the belief that power belongs to the people, that government exists to protect our rights and serve our interests and that no one should be trapped in the circumstances of their birth.

We should be free to go as far as our talents and our work can take us.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MARCO RUBIO: And we are special — we are special because we are united not as a common race or a common ethnicity. We are bound together by common values, that family’s the most important institution in society…

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MARCO RUBIO: … and that almighty God is the source of all we have.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MARCO RUBIO: We are special — we are special because we have never made the mistake of believing that we are so smart that we can rely solely on our leaders or on our government.

Our national motto, “In God we trust,” reminding us that faith in our creator is the most important American value of them all.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MARCO RUBIO: And we are special — we are special because we have always understood the scriptural admonition that for everyone to whom much is given, from him, much will be required.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MARCO RUBIO: Well, my fellow Americans, we are a uniquely blessed people. And we have honored those blessings with the enduring example of an exceptional America.

I know for many of you watching at home tonight, the last few years have tested your faith in the promise of America. Maybe you are at an age when you thought you would be entering retirement, but now because your savings and investments are wiped out, your future’s uncertain.

Maybe after years of hard work, this was the time you expected to be your prime earning years, but instead, you have been laid off and your house is worth less than your mortgage.

Maybe you did everything you were told you needed to do to get ahead, you studied hard and finished school. But now you owe thousands of dollars in student loans. You can’t find a job in your field. And you’ve had to move back in with your parents.

You want to believe that we’re still that place where anything is possible. But things just don’t seem to be getting any better. And you wonder if things will ever be the same again.

Yes, we live in a troubled time. But the story of those who came before us reminds us that America has always been about new beginnings.

And Mitt Romney is running for president because he knows that if we are willing to do for our children what our parents did for us, life in America can be better than it has ever been.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MARCO RUBIO: My mother was one of seven girls whose parents often went to bed hungry so their children wouldn’t. My father lost his mother when he was 9. He had to leave school and go to work. And he would work for the next 70 years of his life.

They emigrated to America with little more than the hope of a better life.

My dad was a bartender. My mom was a cashier, a hotel maid, a stock clerk at K-Mart. They never made it big. They were never rich. And yet they were successful, because just a few decades removed from hopelessness, they made possible for us all the things that had been impossible for them.

Many nights growing up, I would hear my father’s keys jingling at the door as he came home after another 16-hour day. Many mornings, I woke up just as my mother got home from the overnight shift at K-Mart.

When you’re young, and you’re in a hurry, the meaning of moments like these escape you. But now, as my own children get older, I understand it better.

My dad used to tell us: “En este pais, ustedes van a poder lograr todas las cosas que nosotros no pudimos.”

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MARCO RUBIO: “In this country, you are going to be able to accomplish all the things we never could.”

A few years ago, during a speech, I noticed a bartender behind a portable bar in the back of the ballroom. I remembered my father who worked for many years as a banquet bartender.

He was grateful for the work he had, but that’s not the life he wanted for us.

You see he stood behind a bar in the back of the room all those years, so one day I could stand behind a podium in the front of a room.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MARCO RUBIO: That journey, from behind that bar to behind this podium, goes to the essence of the American miracle — that we’re exceptional not because we have more rich people here.

We’re special because dreams that are impossible anywhere else, they come true here.

But that’s not just my story. That’s your story. That’s our story.

That’s the story of your mothers who struggled to give you what they never had.

That’s the story of your fathers who worked two jobs so that the doors that had been closed for them would open for you.

That’s the story of that teacher or that coach that taught you the lessons that made who you are today.

And it’s the story of a man who was born into an uncertain future in a foreign country. His family came to America to escape revolution.

They struggled through poverty and the Great Depression. And yet he rose to be an admired businessman and public servant.

And, in November, his son, Mitt Romney, will be elected president of these United States.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MARCO RUBIO: In America — in America, we are all just a generation or two removed from someone who made our future the purpose of their lives.

America is the story of everyday people who did extraordinary things. A story woven deep into the fabric of our society. Their stories may never be famous, but in the lives they live, you will find the essence of America’s greatness.

And to make sure that America is still a place where tomorrow is always better than yesterday, that is what our politics should be about, and that is what we are deciding this election.

We decide: do we want our children to inherit our hopes and dreams or do we want them to inherit our problems? Because Mitt Romney believes if we succeed in changing the direction of the country, our children and grandchildren will be the most prosperous generation ever, and their achievements will astonish the world.

The story of our time will be written by Americans who haven’t yet even been born. Let us make sure they write that we did our part. That in the early years of this new century, we lived in an uncertain time, but we did not allow fear to cause us to abandon what made us special.

We chose more government instead of more freedom.

We chose the principles of our founding to solve the challenges of the time. We chose a special man to lead us in a special time.

We chose Mitt Romney to lead our nation, and because we did, the American miracle lived on for another generation to inherit.

My fellow Republicans, my fellow Americans, I am proud to introduce to you the next president of the United States of America, Mitt Romney.

And so as Mitt Romney is walking into the aisle of the convention floor, it sort of reminds me of a State of the Union address where the president walks on to the floor in the House of Representatives before a joint session of Congress.

He’s being received by all of his friends, all of the supporters shaking hands. They are thrilled. They’re getting ready for this acceptance speech by Mitt Romney.

Excellent introductory set of remarks by the senator from Florida, Anderson Cooper, Marco Rubio. He did his job. I]m not sure that Clint Eastwood did much in setting the stage for this, but that will be a subject for debate down the road to be sure.

That video, I believe, that excellent ten-minute video probably should have gone right into the Marco Rubio speech.

All right. So let’s listen in with a little bit of the nat sound as we like to say with Mitt Romney walking in to deliver the most important speech of his political life. He’s got a lot of potential undecided voters there who will have to make a decision by November 6, do they vote for him, or do they vote to keep President Obama in the White House for another four years.

Here he is. He’s on the stage. You know what? Let’s just get ready to listen to Mitt Romney deliver the speech.