The following is a transcript of vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's speech at the Republican National Convention on Aug. 29, 2012.
Hello, everybody. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you
Hey, Wisconsin. Thank you. Thank you.
Thanks so much. Thank you.
Mr. Chairman, delegates, and fellows citizens, I am honored
by the support of this convention for vice president of the
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.
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 prepared him for this moment. To meet
serious challenges in a serious way. Without excuses. After
four years of getting the runaround, America needs a turnaround
and the man for the job as Governor Mitt Romney.
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've got left. With all of their attack ads the president is
just throwing away money.
And he is pretty experienced at that.
You see, some people can't be dragged down by the usual
cheap tactics. Because their character, ability, and plain
decency are so obvious. These and deployment, that is Mitt
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
You know what?
I'm sure proud of him and where I come from, Janesville,
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.
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
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
It went to companies like Solyndra, with their
gold-plated connections, subsidized jobs and make believe
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
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.
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
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
You know, President Obama was asked not long ago to reflect
on any mistakes he might have made. He said, ``Well, I haven't
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
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
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.
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
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
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
We have a plan for a stronger middle class, with the goal
of generating 12 million new jobs over the next four years.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.