Return to Transcripts main page


Paul Ryan Speaks at Republican National Convention

Aired August 29, 2012 - 22:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: From the state of New Mexico, the first Hispanic female governor in the history of the United States.

Please welcome Governor Susana Martinez.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. So we just heard Condoleezza Rice.

If there was any doubt that she could whip up this crowd, I think that doubt went away. She says she has no great political ambitions down the road. She's very happy in academia.

But if she changes her mind, she will do well.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: She will. She really got a rousing -- everyone was standing. People were very moved by what she had to say.

And she added to what Rand Paul tried to do, I thought, was try to portray a party that was compassionate on immigration as opposed to closed-minded on that topic, along with other things.

Candy Crowley, what do you think?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, for a woman who says she has no passion for politics, she's pretty darn good at it.

So obviously she's here in front of a friendly crowd. But just interestingly, no prompter used in that, not in the one that is far away that I can see from here, not in the panels in front of her. She did have a script with her, but the words changed around.

I don't know if you watched her, but she was connecting with this crowd all over the place. So I have heard a lot of these things from Condi Rice before in other speeches. But it was a whale of speech. They really like her here. And I don't know. I always used to believe the fact when she would say I don't have the heart for politics. I don't have that fire for politics.

But I don't know. I think, after this speech, she has people talking -- Erin.

BURNETT: It certainly seems that way.

What's interesting, Wolf, we sit here and sometimes we have everyone -- pre-copies which we get right before the speech and we follow along. And on hers, we noticed that. There was a lot of ad- libbing, completely deviating. The themes were the same.

BLITZER: But pretty much she stuck to the speech. She knew the speech. She had written the speech. Clearly she knew what she wanted to say. There were words here and there she deviated from. But basically the whole structure and the speech was there, whether or not she was reading it.


BURNETT: Right, some flowery, some passion.

BLITZER: We had the advance text.

I will say so far the women at this Republican Convention have given better speeches than the men. Ann Romney gave a terrific speech last night, Condoleezza Rice. Some of the men, maybe not so much.

BURNETT: Does this surprise you, Wolf?

BLITZER: No. It doesn't surprise me at all.


BLITZER: We will see how Paul Ryan does. He's the Republican vice presidential nominee. We're getting ready. Within a few minutes, we will hear from Paul Ryan.


BLITZER: We're back at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

The first female governor of New Mexico, the first female Hispanic governor IN the United States, Susana Martinez, is introducing Paul Ryan, Erin, to this crowd. And she's doing so far a pretty good job.

BURNETT: So far, pretty good.

We're going to listen to the rest of it, but for those who missed the top of it, she began by talking about carrying a gun. It's important to her. She carries a Magnum .357. Let's listen to the rest of her speech.

GOV. SUSANA MARTINEZ (R), NEW MEXICO: We got in the car, and I looked over at Chuck and said, I will be damned, we're Republicans.


MARTINEZ: This election should not be about political parties.

Too many Americans are out of work, and our debt is out of control. This election needs to be about those issues. And it is the responsibility of both parties to offer up real solutions and have an honest debate.

In New Mexico, I inherited the largest structural deficit in state history. And our legislature is controlled by Democrats. We don't always agree, but we came together in a bipartisan manner and turned that deficit into a surplus.


MARTINEZ: And we did it without raising taxes.


MARTINEZ: But that's not the kind of leadership that we are seeing from President Obama.

He promised to bring us all together, to cut unemployment, to pass immigration reform in his first year and even promised to cut the deficit in half in his first term.

Do you remember that?


MARTINEZ: But he hasn't come close.

They haven't even passed a budget in Washington, D.C., in three years!


MARTINEZ: If he can take credit for government building small businesses, then he can accept responsibility for breaking his promise and adding $5 trillion to the national debt.


MARTINEZ: Because he did build that.


MARTINEZ: As the first Hispanic female governor in history, little girls, they often come up to me in the grocery store or in the mall. They look and they point, and when they get the courage to come, they ask, are you Susana? And they run up and they give me a hug.

And I wonder, how do you know who I am?

But they do. And these are little girls.

It's in moments like these when I'm reminded that we each pave a path. And for me, it's about paving a path for those little girls to follow.

They need to know, no more barriers.


MARTINEZ: In many ways, Mitt Romney and I are very different. Different starts in life. Different paths to leadership. Different cultures.

But we've each shared in the promise of America, and we share a core belief that the promise of America must be kept for the next generation.

El sueno Americanos es tener exito.


MARTINEZ: It's success. It is success.

And success is the American dream.

And that success is not something to be ashamed of or to demonize.

There is one candidate in this election who will protect that dream, one leader who will fight hard to keep the promise of America for the next generation.

And that's why we must stand up and make Mitt Romney the next president of the United States.


MARTINEZ: Thank you!


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Today, we take another step forward in helping restore the promise of America. And his leadership begins with character and values.

He's a person of great steadiness whose integrity is unquestioned and whose word is good. He understands the fiscal challenges facing America and the fiscal catastrophe that awaits us if we don't change course. Today is a good day for America, and there are better days ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I look at all he's done, his life, his wife, his family, I'm just so proud. I know his father would be as well, especially tonight.

JANNA RYAN, WIFE OF PAUL P. RYAN: I am so proud to introduce my husband, the next vice president of the United States, Paul Ryan.



Hello, everybody. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

P. RYAN: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Hey, Wisconsin. Thank you. Thank you.


P. RYAN: You guys are great. Thank you so much. Thank you.


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


P. RYAN: 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.


P. RYAN: 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, his whole life prepared him for this moment, to meet serious challenges in a serious way, without excuses and idle words.

After four years of getting the runaround, America needs a turnaround and the man for the job is Governor Mitt Romney.


P. RYAN: I'm the newcomer to this 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 have run out of ideas. Their moment came and went. Fear and division is all they have got left.

With all their attack ads, the president is just throwing away money. And he's pretty experienced at that.



P. RYAN: You see, some people can't be dragged down by the usual cheap tactics, because their character, ability, and plain decency are so obvious.

And, ladies and gentlemen, that is Mitt Romney.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 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 best friend and wife Janna, my 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'd like to think he'd be proud of me and my sister and brothers.


You know what?


I'm sure proud of him and 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. (APPLAUSE)

When Governor Romney asked me to join the ticket, I said let's get this done. And that is exactly what we are going to do.


President Barack Obama, came to office during an economic crisis, as he has reminded us a time or two. Those are very tough days. And any fair measure of his record has to take that into account. My own 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 G.M. 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 100 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 where the recovery that was promised is no where in sight. Right now, 23 million men and women are struggling to find work. 23 million people unemployed or underemployed. Nearly one in six Americans is 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. 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.

RYAN: 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 anachronism at their worst.


You -- you the American people of this country were cut out of the deal. What did 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.


Obama Care comes to more than 2,000 pages of rules, mandates, taxes, fees and fines that have no place in a free country.


That's right. That's right.

You know what? The president has declared that the debate over government controlled health care is over. That will come as news to the millions of American who will elect Mitt Romney so we can repeal Obama Care.

(APPLAUSE) And the biggest, coldest power play of all in Obama Care came at the expense of the elderly. You see, even with all the hidden taxes to pay for the health care takeover, even with the new law and 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, $716 billion 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 Obama Care and we're going to stop it.


In Congress, when they take out the heavy books and the wall charts about Medicare, my thoughts go back to a house on Garfield Street in Janesville. My wonderful grandma, Janet, had Alzheimer's and she 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 with 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 in 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 AAA credit rating for the United States. It ends with the 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 the moment that has already passed, like a ship trying to sail on yesterday's wind.

(APPLAUSE) You know, 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, quote, "tell a story to the American people". As if that is 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 is 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 like a serious reformer. 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 new bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report. He thanks them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.


RYAN: 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.

(APPLAUSE) Very simple. Not that hard.

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 business people 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.

(APPLAUSE) In a clean break -- 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. Because that is enough.


The choice -- 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. Whenever men and women rise up for their own freedom, they will know that the American president is on their side.


Instead -- 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 that Barack Obama inherited, not the economy as he envisions, but this economy that we are living.

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 -- 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 -- 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 already spoken to -- listen to the way we are 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.

RYAN: It's the exact opposite of everything I learned growing up in Wisconsin, or at college in Ohio.


Now 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 happen as for myself. That is what we do in this country. That is the American dream.


That's freedom and I will take it any day over the supervision and sanctimony of the central planners.


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 are a full generation apart, Governor Romney and I. And in some ways, we are different. There are the songs in his Ipod, which I have heard on the campaign bus...


... and I have heard it on many hotel elevators.


He actually urged me to play some of these songs at campaign rallies. I said, "look, I hope it is not a deal breaker Mitt, but my playlist starts with AC/DC and it ends with Zeppelin.


A generation apart -- a generation apart, but that does not matter. It makes us different but not in any of the things that matter. Mitt Romney and I both grew up in the Heartlands, and we know what places like Wisconsin and Michigan look like when times are good. (APPLAUSE) We know what these communities look like when times are good, when people are working, when families are doing more than just getting by, and we know it can be that way again. We have had very different careers, mainly in public service, his mostly in the private sector. He helped start businesses and turn around failing ones, and by the way being successful in business, that's a good thing.


Mitt -- Mitt has not only succeeded, but he has 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 kind of familiar, doesn't it?


He was the Republican governor of a state where almost nine in 10 legislators are Democrats and yet he balanced the budget without raising taxes. Unemployment went down. Household incomes went up, and Massachusetts under Governor 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 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 is a fine man, worthy of leading this optimistic and good-hearted country. Our 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.


RYAN: 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, and not from government. (APPLAUSE)

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 the next 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 all of us -- all of us, but we can do this -- 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 you all. Thank you.