The following is a transcript of Arizona Sen. John McCain's speech at the Republican National Convention on Aug. 29, 2012.
MCCAIN: Thank you, thank you.
Thank you. Thank you very much. It is an honor as always,
my fellow Republicans, to join you at our national convention
and add my voice to yours as we nominate the next president of
the United States, my friend, Governor Mitt Romney.
I had hopes once of addressing under different
circumstances, but our fellow Americans had another plan four
years ago and I accept their decision. I've been blessed for so
long to play a role in our nation's affairs and I am conscious
of the debt I owe America. And I thank you for the honor.
When we nominate Mitt Romney, we do so with a greater
purpose than winning an advantage for our party. We charged him
with the care of by a higher cause. His election represents the
best hopes for our country, and the world.
It is said that this election will turn on domestic and
economic issues. But what Mitt Romney knows, and what we know
is the success at home also depends on our leadership in the
world. It is our willingness to shape world events for the
better that has kept a safe, increased our prosperity, preserved
our liberty and transformed human history.
At our best, America has led. We have led by our example
as a shining city on a hill. We have lead in the direction of
patriots from both parties. We have led shoulder to shoulder
with steadfast friends and allies. We have led by giving voice
to the voiceless, insisting that every human life has dignity,
and aiding those brave souls who risk everything to secure the
inalienable rights that are endowed to all by our creator.
We have led with generous hearts, moved by an abiding love
of justice, to help others eradicate disease, lift themselves
from poverty, live under laws of their own making, and determine
their own destinies.
We have led when necessary with the armed might of
freedom's defenders, and always we have led from the front,
never from behind.
This is what makes America an exceptional nation. It's not
just a matter of who we are, it is the record of what we have
done. It is the responsibility that generations after
generations of Americans has a firm and carried forward. It is
a cause that many Americans have sacrificed everything,
absolutely everything to defend, and when they've gone into
battle as they do today, they have done so with the conviction
that the country that sent them there is worth their sacrifice,
that it stands for something more than the sum of our individual
May God bless all who have served, all who serve today as
He has blessed us with their service.
We are now being tested by an array of threats that are
more complex, more numerous, and just as deeply and deadly as I
can recall in my lifetime. We face a consequential choice, and
make no mistake, it is a choice. We can choose to follow a
declining path toward a future that is dimmer and more dangerous
than our past. Or we can choose to reform our failing
government, revitalize our ailing economy, and renew the
foundations of our power and leadership in the world.
That is what is at stake in this election.
Unfortunately, for four years -- for four years, we have
drifted away from our proudest traditions of global leadership.
Traditions that are truly bipartisan. We've let the challenges
we face at home and abroad become much harder to solve. We
can't afford to stay on that course any longer. We can't afford
to cause our friends and allies, from Latin America to Europe to
Asia to the Middle East, and especially in Israel, a nation
under existential threat, to doubt America's leadership.
We can't afford to give governments in Russia and China a
veto over how we defend our interests and the progress of our
values in the world.
We can't afford to have the security of our nation -- we
can't afford to have the security of our nation and those who
bravely defend it endangered because their government leaks the
secrets of their heroic operations to the media.
I believe we cannot afford to substitute a political
timetable to a military strategy. By committing to withdraw
from Afghanistan, the president has discouraged and emboldened
our enemies, which is why our commanders did not recommend these
decisions, and why they have said it puts our mission at much
greater risk. We can't afford another $500 billion in cuts in
our defense budget on top of the nearly $500 billion in cuts
that the president is already making.
His own secretary of defense has said that cutting our
military by nearly $1 trillion would be devastating. And yet,
the president is playing no leadership role in preventing this
crippling blow to our military. A wise congressman from
Wisconsin has said, ``Our fiscal policy and our foreign policy
are on a collision course.'' And that man is our next vice-
president, Paul Ryan.
But most of all, we can't afford to abandon the cause of
human freedom. When long suffering peoples demand liberation
from their jailers and torturers and tyrants, the leader of the
free world must stand with them. Unfortunately, this is not
happening. When Iranians rose up by the millions against their
repressive rulers, when day beseeched our president, chanting in
English, ``Are you with us or are you with them?'' When the
entire world watched as a brave young woman named Neda was shot
and bled to death in a street in Tehran, the president missed an
historic opportunity to throw America's full moral support
behind an Iranian revolution that shared one of our highest
interests: ridding Iran of a brutal dictatorship that terrorized
the Middle East and threatens the world.
The situation is far worse in Syria. What began as
peaceful protests has now become 18 months later a savage and
unfair fight. With the full backing of Iran and Hezbollah and
Russia, with tanks and helicopters and fighter jets, Bashir
Asaad is murdering men, women, and children. More than 20,000
people have perished, extremists are gaining ground, and the
conflict is becoming more dangerous by the day for our allies
and for us.
In other times, when other courageous people fought for
their freedom against sworn enemies of the United States,
American presidents, both Republicans and Democrats, have acted
to help them prevail.
Sadly -- sadly for the lonely voices of descent in Syria
and Iran and elsewhere in the world will feel forgotten in their
darkness and sadly for us, as well. Our president is not being
true to our values.
For the sake of the cause of freedom, for the sake of
people who are willing to give their lives so their fellow
citizens can determine their own futures and for the sake of our
nation, the nation founded on the idea that all people
everywhere have the right to freedom and justice. We must
return to our best traditions of American leadership and support
those who face down the brutal tyranny of their oppressors and
My (ph) across the world, people are seizing control of
their own destinies. They're liberating themselves from
oppressive rulers and they want America's support. They want
America's assistance as they struggle to live in peace and
security, to expand opportunity for themselves and their
children, to replace the injustices of despots with the
institutions of democracy and freedom. America must be on the
right side of history.
The demand for our leadership in the world has never been
greater. People don't want less of America, they want more.
Everywhere I go in the world, people tell me that they still
have faith in America. What they want to know is whether we
still faith in ourselves.
I trust that Mitt Romney has that faith and I trust him to
I -- I trust him to affirm our nation's exceptional
character and responsibilities.
I trust him to know that our security and economic
interests are inextricably tied to the progress of our values.
I trust him to know that if America doesn't lead, our
advisories will and the world will go darker, poorer and much
I trust him to know that an America president always,
always, always stands up for the rights and freedoms and justice
of all people.
I trust Mitt Romney to know that good can triumph over
evil, that justice can vanquish tyranny, that love can conquer
hate, that the desire for freedom is eternal and universal and
that America is still the best hope of mankind.
And now my fellow Americans, let's elect our next Commander
in Chief and the next leader of the free world, my friend,
Governor Mitt Romney.