Published August 29, 2012
The following is a transcript of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's speech at the Republican National Convention on Aug. 29, 2012.
Thank you. Thank you very much. I was so very
honored to be asked to address one of this weeks themes, ``We Can
Do Better.'' Then I was backstage and I heard some folks say
that after hearing me speak, the delegates are going to say, ``We
sure can do better than Huckabee.'' And that's when they will
unanimously nominate Mitt Romney to be the next president of the
United States of America.
I want to say that Tampa has been a wonderful and
hospitable city. And I'm grateful for all that they've done for
us. But the only hitch in an otherwise perfect week, was the
awful noise coming from the hotel room next door to mine. Turns
out it was just Debbie Wasserman Schultz, practicing her speech
for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte next week.
Bless her heart.
Four years ago, Mitt Romney and I were opponents. We still
are, but we're not opposing each other. No, we are mutual
opponents of the miserably failed experiments that have put this
country in a downward spiral. The United States of America was
originally an experiment. But it was an experiment in
recognizing God-given individual liberty and creating a
government in which we no one is deemed better than another.
And in which all of us are equal.
Not equal in abilities, but equal in intrinsic worth and
value. It is the essence, not just of who we are, but what we
are. Now let me just say to those who question how once rivals
can be now united, it's quite simple, we have Barack Obama to
It was Barack Obama who said, ``You didn't build it.''
Translation, ``It doesn't belong to you.'' Well no small
differences among us in our party approximate the vast
differences between the liberty limiting, radical left wing,
anti-business, reckless spending, tax hiking party of Barack
Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, versus an energized America
who knows we can do better.
For four years, we've given a chance to a man with very
limited experience in governing, no experience in business
whatsoever and since taking office, mostly interested in
campaigning, blaming and aiming excuses at his predecessor, the
Republicans and people in business. Or as Republicans like to
call them, ``employers.'' We've stagnated into an economy that
has taken all that hope right down the slope and has left
millions without jobs.
Forced out of their homes by foreclosure. Herded into
dependency upon a government that promises us candy, but gives
us cavities. Barack Obama seems intent on enrolling more people
on food-stamps. Mitt Romney's focus is going to be on generating
more jobs that will make food-stamps unnecessary for them. We
know full well, we can do better.
Mitt Romney turned around companies that were on the skids.
He turned around a scandal-ridden Olympics that was deep in the
red into a high point of profit and patriotic pride. And he
turned around a very liberal state when he erased the deficit
and replaced it with a surplus. Do you remember when Barack
Obama said that if he couldn't turn things around in three
years, it would be a one term proposition?
Well it's been almost four years. I say let's make him a
proposition he can't refuse. Let's vote him out.
I understand that the job of the president is admittedly
tougher than running a company, an Olympic contest or a
commonwealth. But when one sees what even Bill Clinton noted as
a sterling record of problem-solving that has marked the life of
Mitt Romney, we are confident that we will do better.
I am thrilled to say Mitt Romney has been loyal to his
lovely wife who knocked it out of the park last night in this
He -- he's been loyal to his sons, to his country, to his
employees and to his church. Well I'm sure now that the press
is going to tell you he isn't perfect. Now my friends for the
past four years, we've tried the one that the press thought was
perfect and that hasn't worked out all that well for us.
That's why tonight I tell you, we can do better. Our
founding fathers left taxation and tyranny seeking religious
liberty and a society of meritocracy rather than aristocracy.
What they created was a bold experiment in government believing
that God gave us unalienable rights. And that the role of the
government is simply to make sure that those rights are
protected. So fearful were they that the government would grow
beyond their intention, that even after crafting our magnificent
Constitution, they said, we can do even better.
They added amendments. We call them The Bill of Rights.
Those Bill of Rights limit what the government can do and they
guarantee what we, the people have the unimpeded right to do.
Whether to speak, assemble, worship, pray, publish, or even
refuse intrusions into our homes. Many of those founders died
to pass on that heritage. They had lived under the boot of big
government And what they said was, we can do better.
As a kid growing up in a household, my dad never finished
high school. I grew up in a family in which no male upstream
from me had ever finished high school, much less gone to
college. But I was taught that even though there was nothing I
could do about what was behind me, I could change everything
about what was in front of me. My working poor parents told me
that I could do better. They taught me that I was as good as
anybody else. And it never occurred to them to tell me that I
could just rest comfortably and wait for good old Uncle Sugar to
feed me, lead me and then bleed me.
They told me to get off my backside, work hard, take risks
and treat people honestly and honorably. And look at me today.
I have become as the press like to label me, a failed candidate.
Oh, it's true. I have fallen from the high perch of
politics and now I wallow in the mud of the media.
But I still know that as a country, we can do better. And
with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, we will do better.
I want to clear the air about something that has been said.
People wonder whether guys like me, an evangelical, would only
support a fellow evangelical? Well my friends I want to tell
you something, of the four people on the two tickets, the only
self-professed evangelical is Barack Obama. And he supports
changing the definition of marriage. Believes that human life
is disposable and expendable at any time in the wound, even
beyond the womb. And he tells people of faith that they have to
bow their knees to the God of government and violate their faith
and conscience in order to comply with what he calls, health
care. Friends I know we can do better.
Let me say it as clearly as possible, that the attack on my
Catholic brothers and sisters is an attack on me.
The Democrats have brought back that old dance, the limbo.
To see how low they can go in attempting to limit our ability to
practice our faith. But this isn't a battle about
contraceptives and Catholics, but about conscience and the
Creator. Let me say to you tonight, I care far less as to where
Mitt Romney takes his family to church, than I do about where he
takes this country.
Joe Biden -- Joe Biden said, ``Show me your budget and I'll
tell you what you value.'' Well in the Senate Joe's party hasn't
produced a budget in three years. What does that say about
their values? And by the way, speaking of budgets, Joe Biden's
budget shows that while he wants to be very generous with your
money through higher taxes and government spending, for years he
gave less than two-tenths of one percent of his own money to
charity. He just wants you to give the government more so he
and the Democrats can feel better about themselves.
Mitt Romney has given over 16 percent of his income to
church and charity.
And my friend, I feel a lot better about having a president
who will give generously of his own money instead of mine or
My concern is not Barack Obama's past, but my concern is
for the future. Not his future, but for the future of my
grandchildren, little Chandler and Scarlet. And under this
president we have burdened each of them with tens of thousands
of dollars of debt and a system that will collapse upon itself
because he thinks that we can prosper by punishing productivity
and rewarding reckless irresponsibility. The Democrats say we
ought to give Barack Obama credit for trying. Folks that sounds
like the nonsense of giving every kid a trophy for showing up.
Let's be clear, we're talking about leading the country.
Not playing on a third grade soccer team. Look, I realize this
is a man who got a Nobel Peace Prize for what he would
potentially do. But in the real world, you get the prize for
producing something, not just promising something.
Sometimes -- sometimes we get so close to the picture, we
really can't see it clearly. I've had the privilege of working
with Bono for the past few years in the One Campaign to fight
AIDS and hunger and disease around the world. Bono is an
Irishman and a great humanitarian. And I remember him telling
me of his admiration for America. He said, ``America's more than
just a country. We are an idea.'' And he reminded me that we
are an exceptional nation with an extraordinary history who owes
it to the generations who are coming after us to leave them with
an extraordinary legacy.
But if we don't change the direction of our nation now, our
bequest will be nothing but an extraordinary shame. But dear
friends, we can do better.
President Obama is out of gas and Americans are out of
patience. And our great republic is almost out of time. It's
time that we no longer lead from behind, but that we get off our
behinds and leave something lasting for those who came after us
instead of a mountain of debt and a pile of excuses. Tonight,
it's not because we're Republicans, it's because we are
Americans that we proudly stand with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan
and we say, ``We will do better.'' God bless you. Thank you.