Transcript: Michael Williams

The following are remarks by Michael Williams as prepared for delivery on September 2 at the 2004 Republican National Convention:

Ladies and gentlemen, the story I'm going to share goes back nearly a quarter of a century.

It's the story of an unlikely friendship between an African-American man from the other side of the tracks in Midland, Texas, and a Harvard graduate building his career in the energy business.

I'm speaking about the friendship between me and a man named George W. Bush. From the time we first met, it was evident to me that George saw America as a land of opportunity. And more than that, he felt a personal stake in creating opportunity not just for some, but for everyone.

He was willing to work against the odds to help somebody realize the promise of this great country - somebody who could do nothing for him.

You see, twenty years ago, Midland had never had an African-American elected to office.

When I decided to run, George W. Bush didn't just agree to vote for me. He agreed to be my campaign manager.

I have to admit, he's proved himself a far better President than campaign manager. We got stomped!

But with that defeat, he didn't lose faith in me. He also didn't lose faith in his vision of America.

After he appointed me to the energy commission in 1998, I became the highest ranking African-American elected official in Texas state government.

Today, President Bush has one of the most diverse cabinets in American history.

I'm here to tell you first-hand that his commitment to inclusion goes back to a time when nobody was watching.

It goes back to a time when we drove around Midland in his Oldsmobile, baby seats in the back, scattered with toys for the twins.

It goes back to a time when he did everything he could to avoid the dance floor at my wedding reception.

It goes back to a time when we rolled up our sleeves, grabbed our hammers, and put up the walls of a home for a Christmas in April project.

And to a time when we chewed on sunflower seeds and visited with folks at the ballpark in the hot Texas sun. America has been a land of opportunity for me because George Bush believed in me a quarter of a century ago.

And you know what? I believe in him, too.