Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a former GOP presidential hopeful, addressed the Republican Party in St. Paul, urging listeners to usher in 'change' in Washington by voting for Sen. John McCain. Following is the text of his speech.
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For decades, the Washington sun has been rising in the east – Washington has been looking to the eastern elites, to the editorial pages of the Times and the Post, and to the broadcasters from the coast.
If America really wants change, it's time to look for the sun in the west, cause it's about to rise and shine from Arizona and Alaska!
Last week, the Democrats talked about change. But let me ask you – what do you think Washington is right now, liberal or conservative? Is a Supreme Court liberal or conservative that awards Guantanamo terrorists with constitution rights? It's liberal!
Is a government liberal or conservative that puts the interests of the teachers union ahead of the needs of our children? It's liberal!
Is a Congress liberal or conservative that stops nuclear power plants and offshore drilling, making us more and more dependent on Middle East tyrants? It's liberal!
Is government spending – excluding inflation – liberal or conservative if it doubles since 1980? It's liberal!
We need change all right – change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington! We have a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington – throw out the big government liberals and elect John McCain!
It's the same prescription for a stronger economy. I spent 25 years in the private sector. I've done business in many foreign countries. I know why jobs come and why they go away. And I know that liberals don't have a clue.
They think we have the biggest and strongest economy in the world because of our government. They're wrong. America is strong because of the ingenuity and entrepreneurship and hard work of the American people.
The American people have always been the source of our nation's strength and they always will be!
We strengthen our people and our economy when we preserve and promote opportunity. Opportunity is what lets hope become reality.
Opportunity expands when there is excellence and choice in education, when taxes are lowered, when every citizen has affordable, portable health insurance, and when constitutional freedoms are preserved.
Opportunity rises when children are raised in homes and schools that are free from pornography, promiscuity and drugs; in homes that are blessed with family values and the presence of a father and a mother.
America cannot long lead the family of nations if we fail the family here at home!
Liberals would replace opportunity with dependency on government largesse. They grow government and raise taxes to put more people on Medicaid, to take work requirements out of welfare, and to grow the ranks of those who pay no taxes at all. Dependency is death to initiative, risk-taking and opportunity.
It is time to stop the spread of government dependency to fight it like the poison it is!
It's time for the party of big ideas, not the party of Big Brother!
Our economy is under attack. China is acting like Adam Smith on steroids, buying oil from the world's worst, and selling nuclear technology. Russia and the oil states are siphoning more than 500 billion dollars a year from us in what could become the greatest transfer of economic wealth in history. This is no time for timid, liberal empty gestures.
Our economy has slowed down this year and a lot of people are hurting. What happened? Mortgage money was handed out like candy, speculators bought homes for free – when this mortgage mania finally broke, it slammed the economy. And stratospheric gas prices made things even worse.
Democrats want to use the slowdown as an excuse to do what their special interests are always begging for: higher taxes, bigger government and less trade with other nations.
It's the same path Europe took a few decades ago. It leads to moribund growth and double-digit unemployment.
The right course is the one championed by Ronald Reagan 30 years ago, and by John McCain today. It is to rein in government spending and to lower taxes, for taking a weed whacker to excessive regulation and mandates, for putting a stop to tort windfalls, and to stand up to the tyrannosaurus appetite of government unions!
It is to pursue every source of energy security, from new efficiencies to renewables, from clean coal to non-CO2 producing nuclear, and the immediate drilling for more oil off of our shores!
And I have one more recommendation for energy conservation – let's keep Al Gore's private jet on the ground!
Did you hear any Democrats talk last week about the threat from radical, violent Jihad? Republicans believe that there is good and evil in the world. Ronald Reagan called-out the Evil Empire.
George Bush labeled the terror-sponsor states the Axis of Evil.
And at Saddleback, after Barack Obama dodged and ducked every direct question, John McCain hit the nail on the head: radical violent Islam is evil, and he will defeat it!
Republicans prefer straight talk to politically correct talk!
Republicans, led by John McCain and Sarah Palin, will fight to preserve the values that have preserved the nation. We will strengthen our economy and keep us from being held hostage by Putin, Chavez and Ahmadinejad.
And we will never allow America to retreat in the face of evil extremism!
Just like you, there has never been a day when I was not proud to be an American. We inherited the greatest nation in the history of the earth.
It is our burden and privilege to preserve it, to renew its spirit so that its noble past is prologue to its glorious future.
To this we are all dedicated and I firmly believe, by the providence of the Almighty, that we will succeed.
President McCain and Vice President Palin will keep America as it has always been – the hope of the world.
Remarks as prepared for delivery and distributed to media outlets.