Published August 29, 2012
The following is a transcript of a speech given by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul at the Republican National Convention on Aug. 29, 2012.
PAUL: Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank
Thank you, Kentucky. Thank you.
You know, when the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare, the
first words out of my mouth were, ``I still think it's
The left wing blogs were merciless. Even my wife said,
``could you please just count to 10 before you speak?'' So, I've
had time to count to 10. And you know what? I still think it
Do you think Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas have changed
PAUL: I think if James Madison himself, the father of
Constitution, he were here today, he would agree, the whole damn
thing is still unconstitutional.
This debate is not new. And it's not over. Hamilton and
Madison fought, from the beginning, about how the government
would be limited by the enumerated powers. Madison was
unequivocal, ``the powers of the federal government are few and
The power to tax and spend is restricted by the enumerated
powers. So how do we fix this travesty of justice? There is
only one option left, we have to have a new president.
When I heard the current president say, ``you didn't build
that'', I was first insulted, then I was angered, and then I was
saddened that anyone in our country, much less the president of
the United States, believes that roads create business success
and not the other way around.
Anyone who so fundamentally misunderstanding of American
greatness is uniquely unqualified to lead this great nation.
The great and abiding lesson of American history,
particularly the cold war, is that the engine of capitalism, the
individual, is mightier than any collective.
American inventiveness and the desire to build a developed
because we were guaranteed the right to own our success. For
most of our history, no one dared to tell Americans, you don't
In bowling green, Kentucky, the Tang (ph) family owns the
-- a doughnut shop. Their family fled war-torn Cambodia to come
to this country. My kids and I love doughnuts, so we go there
frequently. The Tang's (ph) work long hours. Mrs. Tang (ph)
told us they worked through the night to make the donuts. The
Tang (ph) family have become valedictorians and national merit
scholars. The Tangs (ph) from Cambodia are an American success
story, so Mr. President, don't go telling the Tang (ph) family
that they didn't build that.
When you say -- when you say they don't build it, you
insult each and every American who ever got up at the crack of
dawn. You insult any American who ever put on overalls or a
suit. You insult any American who ever studied late into the
night to become a doctor or a lawyer. You insult the
dishwasher, the cook, the waitress. You insult anyone who has
ever drag themselves out of bed to try -- to strive for
something better for themselves and their children.
My great-grandfather, like many, came to this country in
search of the American dream. No sooner had he stepped off the
boat than his father died. He arrived in Pittsburgh as a
teenager with nothing, not a penny. He found the American
dream. Not great wealth, but a bit of property in a new land
that gave him hope for his children.
In America, as opposed to the old country, success
was based on merit. Probably America's greatest asset was that,
for the first time, success was not based on who you were, but
what you did.
My grandfather would live to see his children become
doctors and ministers, accounts and professors. He would even
live to see one of his sons, a certain Congressman from Texas...
... a certain Congressman from Texas run for the presidency
of the United States.
Immigrants - -immigrants have flocked to our shores seeking
freedom. Our -- our forbearers came full of hopes and dreams so
consistent and prevalent were these aspirations that they
crystallized into a national yearning we call the American
Dream. No other country has a dream so inextricably associated
with the spirit of its people.
In 1982, an American sailor, John Mooney, wrote a letter to
his parents that captures the essence of the American Dream. He
wrote, Dear Mom and Dad, Today we spotted a boat in the water
and we rendered assistance. We picked up 65 Vietnamese
refugees. As they approached the ship, they were all waving and
trying as best they could to say, ``Hello American sailor, hello
It's hard to see a boat full of people like that and not
get a lump somewhere between chin and belly button and it really
makes one proud and glad to be an American. It reminds us of
all what America's been, a place a man or a woman can come to
Hung and Twan Tratrin (ph) are brothers and friends of
mine. They came to America on one of those leaky boats. They
were attacked at sea by pirates, their family's wealth was
stolen, Twan (ph) spent a year on a South Pacific island
existing on a cup of rice and water until he was allowed to come
to America. Now both of these men and their family are proud
Americans. Hung (ph) owns his own business and Twan (ph)
manages a large company. They are the American Dream.
So Mr. President, don't go telling the Tratrin (ph) family
you didn't build that...
When the president says you didn't build that, he's flat
out wrong. Businessmen and women did build that. Businessmen
and women did earn their success without the success of American
business, we wouldn't have any roads, bridges or schools.
Mr. President, you say the rich must pay their fair share.
But when you seek to punish the rich, the jobs that are lost are
those of the poor and the middleclass.
When you seek to punish Mr. Exxon Mobile you punish the
secretary who owns Exxon Mobile stock.
When you block the Keystone Pipeline, you punish the welder
who works on the pipeline.
Our nation faces a crisis, America waivers. Unfortunately,
we're one of a select group of countries whose debt now equals
their Gross Domestic Product.
The Republic of Washington in Jefferson is now in danger of
becoming the democracy of debt and despair.
Our great nation is coming apart at the seams and the
president just seems to point fingers and blame others.
President Obama's Administration will add nearly $6 trillion to
our national debt in just one term and I'm hoping it's just one
This explosion of debt is unconscionable and unsustainable.
Mr. President, we will not let you bankrupt this great nation.
Republicans and Democrats alike though, must slay their
sacred cows. Republicans must acknowledge that not every dollar
spent on the military is necessary or well spent.
Democrats -- Democrats must admit that domestic welfare and
entitlements must be reformed.
Republicans and Democrats must replace fear with
confidence. Confidence that no terrorist and no country will
ever conquer us if we remain steadfast to the principles of our
We have nothing to fear except our own unwillingness to
defend what is naturally ours, our god-given rights.
We have nothing to fear that should cause us to forget or
relinquish our rights as free men and women.
To thrive, we must believe in ourselves again, and we must
never, never trade our liberty for any fleeting promise of
Author Paul Kengor (ph) writes of a brisk evening in a
small town in Illinois. Returning home from a basketball game
at the YMCA, an 11 year- old boy is stunned by the sight of his
father, sprawled out on the snow in the front porch. He was
drunk, his son would later remember, dead to the world,
The dad's hair was soaked with melted snow matted against
his reddened face. The boy stood over his father for a minute
or two. He simply wanted to let himself in the door and pretend
his dad wasn't there. Instead, he grabbed a fistful of overcoat
and he heaved his dad into the bedroom, away from the weather's
harm and the neighbors attention. This young boy would become
the man, Ronald Reagan.
The man we know as Ronald Reagan, whose sunny optimism and
charisma shine so brightly that it toured the malaise of the
late 1970s, a confidence that's been so broadly that it pulled
us through a serious recession, and a faith that tugged so
happily at the hearts of all that a generation of Democrats
The American dream is that any among us can become the next
Thomas Edison, the next Henry Ford, the next Ronald Reagan, but
to lead us forward away from this looming debt crisis, it will
take someone who believes in America's greatness, who believes
in and can articulate the American dream, someone who has
created jobs, someone who understands and appreciates what makes
America great. Someone who will lead our party and our nation
forward. I believe that someone is our nominee, Governor Mitt
As Reagan said, our freedom is never more than a generation
away from extinction. If our freedom is taken, the American
dream will wither and die. To lead, we must transform the
coldness of austerity into the warm vibrant embrace of
prosperity. To overcome the current crisis, we must appreciate
and applaud American success. We must step forward, unabashedly
and proclaim, you did build that. You earned that. You worked
hard. You studied. You labored. You did build that.
And you deserve America's undying gratitude, for you, the
individual, are the engine of America's greatness. Thank you.