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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Ann Romney, Chris Christie Speak at Republican National Convention

Aired August 28, 2012 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And we are here in Tampa at the Republican National Convention.

You are looking at these live pictures of the skyline of Tampa.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This Republican National Convention here in now fully under way. And we're only minutes away from one of the highlights of the evening, Ann Romney's speech.

And Mitt Romney is at convention hall, along with his wife.

I'm Wolf Blitzer, along with my CNN colleague Erin Burnett. We're watching all of us this unfold. We're here on the convention floor.

This is what the delegates, Erin, have been waiting for.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: This is, waiting to hear Ann Romney and of course how and will Mitt Romney walk out? What will he do? A big question for a lot of people here.

In just a few moments, Ann Romney is going to be introduced. And here is what we can tell you. Her speech will paint a very personal portrait of her husband, the man that she loves, father of her children. She will give that view that so many have been waiting to see. And right after that will come the keynote address, a very different type of person giving it. That would be one way to say it. The man who will be delivering that, of course, is New Jersey's governor, Chris Christie, who has become a hero to some in the Republican Party for taking on the unions in New Jersey.

This will be a very exciting hour for the delegates.

BLITZER: And we're going to listen to both of speeches coming up this hour.

But Nikki Haley, the governor of South Carolina, clearly a rising star in the Republican Party, she is speaking, so let's listen.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: A few months ago, I sat on the tarmac at the Boeing facility in North Charleston and watched as the new mac daddy plane rolled on to the runway sporting a "Made with pride in South Carolina" decal and surrounded by, get ready for it, 6,000 non-union employees, cheering, smiling and so proud of what they had built.

We deserve a president who won't sacrifice American jobs and American workers to pacify the bullying union bosses he counts as his political allies. American businesses deserve a federal government that doesn't stand in their way, not one that tries to chase them overseas.

Slighting American ingenuity and innovation, that's what this president has meant to South Carolina. That's what this president has meant to this governor. And that's why this governor will not stop fighting until we send him home, back to Chicago, and send Mitt and Ann Romney to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HALEY: I have had the pleasure of knowing Mitt Romney for several years now, and there is so much to appreciate about him.

He fixes things. He's results-driven. He's taken broken companies and made them successful. He took a failing Olympics and made it a source of pride for our country. He went into a Democratic state, cut taxes, brought in jobs, and improved education.

Oh, and, by the way, he actually balanced his budget.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HALEY: This is a man at peace with who he is, with the challenges he faces, and with what he intends to accomplish. This is a man, not just a candidate looking to win an election, but a leader yearning to return our nation to its greatest potential.

And this is a man who has a silver bullet, his greatest asset by far, the next first lady of the United States, Ann Romney. Ann is the perfect combination of strength and grace. She does what so many women in America do. She balances in an exceptional way.

She raised five amazing boys, battled M.S., is a breast cancer survivor, and through it all, was a true partner to Mitt. Ann Romney makes all women proud by the way she has conducted her life, as a strong woman of faith, as a mother, as a wife, and as a true patriot.

She's an amazing inspiration for me and for so many women across the country.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HALEY: Not too long ago, I traveled to Michigan to campaign for the Romneys. Towards the end of the day, two self-described independents came up to me and said, we like what we hear about Governor Romney. And although we don't know everything about him, what we do know, without a doubt, is that we deserve better than what we have today.

They are so right. We deserve a president who will turn our economy around. We deserve a president who will balance our budget. We deserve a president who will reform and protect our retirement programs for future generations. We deserve a president who will fight for American companies, not against them.

We deserve a president who will strengthen our military, not destabilize them. America deserves better than what we have today. We deserve a president Mitt Romney.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HALEY: Thank you. God bless you. And may he continue to bless the United States of America.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please welcome to the stage...

BLITZER: Nikki Haley, the Republican governor of South Carolina. So there she is.

Candy Crowley is up on the podium. And we are awaiting Ann Romney and she is about to be introduced, Candy, so give us a little sense of what we are about to hear.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: We are about to hear a wife introduce her husband to a bigger audience than either one of them has ever had before, not the folks in this room, but the folks on the other side of the camera sitting in their living rooms.

She is the kickoff testifier for who this man is. And, obviously, you can always say, well, it is his wife and what do you expect her to say? The fact of the matter is that wives are so important certainly for so many years, and now in a much more visible way. And if you look back at the roles some of the wives have played in framing who their husbands are, I think of Tipper Gore, who enlivened her husband. And she was around, he was really much looser.

When you talk about George and Laura Bush, when she was around, sort of the excesses of his persona personality calmed down. She was a calming force to him. Ann Romney wants to serve as a sort of humanizing force for Mitt Romney.

She has suffered through some major tragedies, a miscarriage, breast cancer, M.S., all thing things that when she talks about them, she does very effectively, because what does it do? It brings people in to say, oh, I can relate to that, and I know what it is like to face real trouble.

And in doing that and in talking about her husband's role in all of that, she kind of brings -- give him a pulse, and really kind of humanizes him in a way that he has been unable to do for himself, because, frankly, he is just not that kind of guy. So she really is the kickoff witness here for what they hope will be three days of policy, which you will get from Chris Christie, the governor, who is the keynote speaker after Ann Romney, but she is the kickoff speaker for who is this guy, because that is what this convention is about, who is this guy in both personality, humanity and policy.

And she's the one that can begin to bring that home, and sort of reaching into those living rooms and say, take a second look here, because that's really what they need when they want to kind of close that gap when you see that the people think -- at least when you compare President Obama to Mitt Romney in the polling, they see President Obama as far more compassionate when it comes to women, the middle class and people in general, so she's the person that is going to begin, they hope, to begin this transformation in public perception, Wolf.

BLITZER: Candy, thank you.

Gloria Borger recently spent some quality time with Ann Romney and she did an amazing documentary for CNN.

BURNETT: Yes, she did.

BLITZER: Gloria, give us a thought or two before we hear Ann Romney.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think Ann Romney is somebody who is her husband's best friend, as she described to me.

And I'm going to show you a little bit of an outtake, Wolf, very clearly from that interview that you haven't seen before.

Oh, OK. They don't have it. They don't have it cued up yet. Let me tell you a little bit about this. She calls herself the Mitt stabilizer, that her children say that when Mitt Romney gets kind of wound up, which happens an awful lot, she is the one who kind of sends him back down to earth. And she also said to me that in fact, they...

BLITZER: All right, hold on a second.

Ann Romney is now walking out. So let's listen in. She is getting a rousing, rousing reception. I'm anxious to see where Mitt Romney, her husband, is. I know he is here someplace, and we will soon find out, Erin, where he is, but this is what so many of these Republicans have been waiting for.

Ann Romney, she has been working really, really hard on this speech, and her five sons told us that today. So, I assume she is ready to go.

BURNETT: And she looks absolutely amazing. I mean, she is ready for her moment in every way, wearing her red, all the signs out here, everyone saying, we love Ann, getting the biggest ovation so far, so here she is. BLITZER: She clearly is moved. This is a woman who has an aspiring story on her own. Let's see if she gets into some of that.

She suffers from M.S. She had breast cancer, but she is amazing, I think everyone agrees. So let's listen in.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ANN ROMNEY, WIFE OF MITT ROMNEY: Thank you. And thank you, Luce (ph).

I can't wait to see what we're going to all do together. This is going to be so exciting.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: Just so you all know, the hurricane has hit landfall. And I think we should all take this moment and recognize that fellow Americans are in its path and just hope and pray that all remain safe and no life is lost and no property is lost.

So we should all be thankful for this great country and grateful for our first-responders and all that keep us safe in this wonderful country.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: Well, I want to talk to you tonight not about politics and not about party.

And while there are many important issues we will hear discussed in this convention and throughout this campaign, tonight, I want to talk to you from my heart about our hearts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We love you, Ann!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We love you, Ann!

ROMNEY: I want to talk not about what divides us, but what holds us together as an American family.

I want to talk to you tonight about that one great thing that unites us, that one great thing that brings us our greatest joy when times are good and the deepest solace in our dark hours. Tonight, I want to talk to you about love.

I want to talk to you about the deep and abiding love I have for a man I met at a dance many years ago. And the profound love I have, and I know we share, for this country. I want to talk to you about that love so deep, only a mother can fathom it, the love we have for our children and our children's children.

And I want us to think tonight about the love we share for those Americans, our brothers and our sisters, who are going through difficult times, whose days are never easy, nights are always long, and whose work never seems done. They're here among us tonight in this hall. They are here in neighborhoods across Tampa and all across America, the parents who lie awake at night, side by side, wondering how they will be able to pay the mortgage or make the rent, the single dad who's working extra hours tonight so that his kids can buy some new clothes to go back to school, can take a school trip or play a sport, so his kids can feel, you know, just like other kids, and the working moms who love their jobs, but would like to work just a little less to spend more time with the kids.

But that's just out of the question with this economy. Or how about that couple who would like to have another child, but wonder how they will afford it? I have been all across this country and I know a lot of you guys.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: And I have seen and heard stories of how hard it is to get ahead now. Do you know what? I have heard your voices.

They have said to me, I'm running in place and we just can't get ahead. Sometimes, I think that late at night, if we were all silent for just a few moments and listened carefully, we could hear a collective sigh from the moms and dads across America who made it through another day, and know that they will make it through another one tomorrow.

But in the end of that day moment, they just aren't sure how. And if you listen carefully, you will hear the women sighing a little bit more than the men.

It's how it is, isn't it? It's the moms who have always had to work a little harder to make everything right. It's the moms of this nation, single, married, widowed, who really hold this country together. We're the mothers. We're the wives. We're the grandmothers. We're the big sisters. We're the little sisters and we are the daughters.

You know it's true, don't you? I love you women. And I hear your voices.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: Those are my favorite fans down there.

You are the ones that have to do a little bit more, and you know what it's like to work a little harder during the day to earn the respect you deserve at work. And then you come home at night and help with the book report, just because it has to be done.

You know what those late-night phone calls with an elderly parent are like, and the long weekend drives just to see how they're doing. You know the fastest route to the local emergency room and which doctors actually answer the phone call when you call at night.

By the way, I know all about that. You know what it's like to sit in that graduation ceremony and wonder how it was that so many long days turned to years that went by so quickly. You are the best of America. You are the hope of America. There would not be an America without you.

Tonight, we salute you and sing your praises. I'm not sure if men really understand this, but I don't think there's a woman in America who really expects her life to be easy. In our own ways, we all know better.

You know what? And that's fine. We don't want easy. But the last few years have been harder than they needed to be. It's all the little things, the price at the pump you just can't believe, the grocery bills that just get bigger. All those things that used to be free, like school sports, are now one more bill to pay.

It's all the little things that pile up to become big things. And the big things, the good jobs, the chance at college, that home you want to buy, just get harder. Everything has become harder.

We're too smart to know there aren't easy answers, but we're not dumb enough to accept that there aren't better answers.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: And that is where this boy I met at a high school dance comes in. His name is Mitt Romney. And you should really get to know him.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: I could tell you why I fell in love with him. He was tall, laughed a lot. He was nervous. Girls like that. It shows a guy's a little intimidated.

He was nice to my parents, but he was also really glad when they weren't around.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMNEY: I don't mind that. But more than anything, he made me laugh.

Some of you might not know this, but I am the granddaughter of a Welsh coal miner. He was determined -- he was determined that his kids get out of the mines. My dad got his first job when he was 6 years old in a little village in Wales called Nantyffyllon cleaning bottles at the Colliers Arms.

When he was 15, dad came to America. In our country, he saw hope and an opportunity to escape from poverty. He moved to a small town in the great state of Michigan. There, he started a business, one he built by himself, by the way.

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) ROMNEY: He raised a family. And he became mayor of our town.

My dad would often remind my brothers and me how fortunate we were to grow up in a place like America. He wanted us to have every opportunity that came with life in this country -- and so he pushed us to be our best and give our all.

Inside the houses that lined the streets of our town, there were a lot of good fathers teaching their sons and daughters those same values. I didn't know it at the time, but one of those dads was my future father-in-law, George Romney.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: Mitt's dad never graduated from college. Instead, he became a carpenter.

He worked hard, he became the head of a car company, and then the governor of Michigan.

When Mitt and I met and fell in love, we were determined not to let anything stand in the way of our life together. I was an Episcopalian. He was a Mormon.

We were very young, both still in college. There were many reasons to delay marriage, and you know what? We just didn't care.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMNEY: We got married and moved into a basement apartment.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: We walked to class together, shared the housekeeping, ate a lot of pasta and tuna fish. Our desk was a door propped up on sawhorses. Our dining room table was a fold-down ironing board in the kitchen. But those were the best days.

Then our first son came along. All at once, I'm 22 years old, with a baby and a husband who's going to business school and law school at the same time, and I can tell you, probably like every other girl who finds herself in a new life far from family and friends, with a new baby and a new husband, that it dawned on me that I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMNEY: Well, that was 42 years ago. I survived. We now have five sons and 18 beautiful grandchildren.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: I'm still in love with that boy I met at a high school dance, and he still makes me laugh.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) ROMNEY: I read somewhere that Mitt and I have a storybook marriage. Well, let me tell you something. In the storybooks I read, there were never long, long, rainy winter afternoons in a house with five boys screaming at once. And those storybooks never seemed to have chapters called M.S. or breast cancer.

A storybook marriage? No, not at all. What Mitt Romney and I have is a real marriage.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: I know this good and decent man for what he is -- he's warm and loving and patient.

He has tried to live his life with a set of values centered on family, faith, and love of one's fellow man. From the time we were first married, I've seen him spend countless hours helping others. I've seen him drop everything to help a friend in trouble, and been there when late-night calls of panic came from a member of our church whose child has been taken to the hospital.

You may not agree with Mitt's positions on issues or his politics. By the way, Massachusetts is only 13 percent Republican, so it's not like it's a shock to me.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMNEY: But let me say this to every American who is thinking about who should be our next president.

No one will work harder.

No one will care more.

And no one will move heaven and earth like Mitt Romney to make this country a better place to live.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: It's true that Mitt has been successful at each new challenge he has taken on. You know what? It actually amazes me to see his history of success being attacked. Are those really the values that made our country great?

CROWD: No!

ROMNEY: As a mom of five boys, do we want to raise our children to be afraid of success?

CROWD: No!

ROMNEY: Do we send our children out in the world with the advice, try to do OK?

CROWD: No! ROMNEY: And let's be honest. If the last four years had been more successful, do we really think there would be this attack on Mitt Romney's success?

CROWD: No!

ROMNEY: Of course not.

Mitt will be the first to tell you that he is the most fortunate man in the world. He had two loving parents who gave him strong values and taught him the value of work. He had the chance to get the education his father never had.

But as his partner on this amazing journey, I can tell you Mitt Romney was not handed success.

He built it.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: He stayed in Massachusetts after graduate school and got a job. I saw the long hours that started with that first job. I was there when he and a small group of friends talking about starting a new company. I was there when they struggled and wondered if the whole idea just wasn't going to work. Mitt's reaction was to work harder and press on.

Today, that company has become another great American success story.

Has it made those who started the company successful -- made them successful beyond their dreams?

Yes, it has.

It allowed us to give our sons the chance at good educations and made all those long hours of book reports and homework worth every minute. It's given us the deep satisfaction of being able to help others in ways that we could never have imagined.

This is important. I want you to hear what I'm going to say. Mitt doesn't like to talk about how he has helped others because he sees it as a privilege, not a political talking point.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: We're no different than the millions of Americans who quietly help their neighbors, their churches and their communities. They don't do it so that others will think more of them.

They do it because there is no greater joy.

Give and it shall be given unto you.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) ROMNEY: But because this is America, that small company which grew has helped so many others lead better lives. The jobs that grew from the risks they took have become college educations and first homes. That success has helped fund scholarships, pensions, and retirement funds. This is the genius of America. Dreams fulfilled help others launch new dreams.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: At every turn in his life, this man I met at a high school dance has helped lift up others. He did it with the Olympics, when many wanted to give up.

He did it in Massachusetts, where he guided a state from economic crisis to unemployment of just 4.7 percent.

Under Mitt, Massachusetts' schools were the best in the nation, the best. He started something that I really love. He started the John and Abigail Adams scholarship, which give the top 25 percent of high school graduates a four-year tuition-free scholarship.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: This is the man America needs.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: This is the man who will wake up every day with the determination to solve the problems that others say can't be solved, to fix what others say is beyond repair. This is the man who will work harder than anyone so that we can work a little less hard.

I can't tell you what will happen over the next four years. But I can only stand here tonight, as a wife, and a mother, and a grandmother, and an American, and make you this solemn commitment.

This man will not fail.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

A. ROMNEY: This man will not let us down. This man will lift up America.

It has been 47 years since that tall kind of charming young man brought me home from our first dance. Not every day since has been easy, but he still makes me laugh, and never once did I have a single reason to doubt that I was the luckiest woman in the world tonight.

I said tonight, I wanted to talk to you about love. Look into your hearts. This is our country. This is our future. These are our children and grandchildren. You can trust Mitt. He loves America. He will take us to a better place, just as he took me home safely from that dance. Give him that chance. Give America that chance.

God bless each and every one of you, and God bless the United States of America. (MUSIC: THE TEMPTATIONS, "MY GIRL")

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's your favorite thing about being governor?

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: My favorite thing about being governor is that every day I get a chance to...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: All right. There you heard the Temptations and "My Girl," wrapping it up for Ann Romney. What an exciting moment for her, for her family, certainly for Mitt Romney and all these Republicans who are here.

Let's take a quick break and when we come back, Chris Christie with a keynote address. Actually, he's getting ready to speak right now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Thank you.

BLITZER: And now the keynote address by the New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

CHRISTIE: Thank you very much. Thank you.

Well, this stage and this moment are very improbable for me. A New Jersey Republican delivering the keynote address to our national convention. From a state, from a state with 700,000 more Democrats than Republicans. A New Jersey Republican stands before you tonight, proud of my party, proud of my state and proud of my country.

Now, now I am the son of an Irish father and a Sicilian mother. My dad, who I'm blessed to have with me tonight, is gregarious, outgoing and lovable. My mom, who I lost eight years ago, was the enforcer. Now she made sure we all knew who set the rules. Tell it to you this way: in the automobile of life, dad was just a passenger, and mom was the driver.

They both lived hard lives. Dad grew up in poverty, and after returning from Army service, he worked at the Breyer's ice -cream plant in the 1950s. Now, with that job and the G.I. Bill, he put himself through Rutgers University at night to become the first in his family to earn a college degree.

And our first family picture, our first family picture was on his graduation day, with my mom beaming next to him, six months pregnant with me.

Now, mom also came from nothing. She was raised by a single mother who took three different buses every day to get to work. And Mom spent the time that she was supposed to be a kid actually raising children: her younger brother and younger sister. She was tough as nails and didn't suffer fools at all. And the truth is she couldn't afford to. She spoke the truth, bluntly, directly and without much varnish. I am her son.

I was her son -- I was her son as I listened to darkness on the edge of town with my high-school friends on the Jersey shore. I was her son when I moved into that studio apartment with Mary Pat to start a marriage that's now 26 years old. I was her son as I coached our sons, Andrew and Patrick, on the fields of Mendon (ph) and as I watched with pride as our daughters, Sarah and Bridget, marched with their soccer teams in the Labor Day parade, and I'm still her son today as governor, following the rules she taught me. To speak from the heart, and to fight for your principles.

You see, Mom never thought you'd get extra credit just for speaking the truth. And the greatest lesson that Mom ever taught me, though, was this one. She told me there will be times in your life when you have to choose between being loved and being respected. Now she said to always pick being respected. She told me that love without respect was always fleeting, but that respect could grow into real and lasting love.

Now, of course, she was talking about women. But I have learned over time that it applies just as much to leadership, and in fact, I think that advice applies to America more than ever today.

See -- see I believe we have become paralyzed, paralyzed by our desire to be loved. Now, our Founding Fathers had the wisdom to know that social acceptance and popularity were fleeting, and that this country's principles needed to be rooted in strengths greater than the passions and the emotions of the times.

But our leaders today have decided it's more important to be popular, be popular, to say and do what's easy and say yes rather than to say no when no is what is required.

And in recent years -- in recent years, we as a country have too often chosen same path. It's been easy for our leaders to say, not us, not now, in taking on the really tough issues. And unfortunately, we have stood silently by and let them get away with it.

But tonight, I say enough. Tonight -- tonight, I say together let's make a much different choice. Tonight, we are speaking up for ourselves and stepping up. Tonight, we are going to be beginning to do what is right and what is necessary to make America great again.

We are demanding that our leaders stop tearing each other down and work together to take action on the big things facing America. Tonight, we are going to do what my mother taught me. Tonight, we're going choose respect over love.

You see, we're not afraid. We are not afraid. We're taking our country back, because we are the great-grandchildren of the men and women who broke their backs in the names of American ingenuity; the grandchildren of the greatest generation; the sons and daughters of immigrants; the brothers and sisters of everyday heroes; the neighbors of entrepreneurs and firefighters, teachers and farmers, veterans and factory workers, and everyone in between who shows up, not just on the big days or the good days, but on the bad days and the hard days. Each and every day. All 365 of them. You see, we are the United States of America.

Now -- now it's up to us. We must lead the way our citizens live, to lead as my mother insisted I live: not by avoiding truths, especially the hard ones, but by facing up to them and being better for it. We can't afford to do anything less.

And I know this because it was the challenge in New Jersey when I came into office. I could continue on the same path that led to wealth and jobs and people leaving our state or I could do the job people elected me to do, to do the big things.

Now, there were those who said it can't be done, that the problems were too big, too politically-charged and too broken to fix. But we were on a path we could no longer afford to follow.

Now, they said it was impossible -- this is what they told me -- to cut taxes in a state where taxes were raised 115 times in the eight years before I became governor. That it was impossible to balance the budget at the same time with an $11 billion deficit. But three years later, we have three balanced budgets in a row with lower taxes. We did it!

They said -- they said it was impossible to touch the third rail of politics, to take on the public-sector unions, and to reform a pension and health benefits system that was headed to bankruptcy, but with bipartisan leadership we saved taxpayers $132 billion over 30 years and saved retirees their pensions. We did it.

They said -- they said it was impossible to speak the truth to the teachers' union. They were just too powerful. The real teacher tenure reform that demands accountability and ends the guarantee of a job for life regardless of performance, they said it would never happen. But for the first time in 100 years with bipartisan support, you know the answer: we did it!

Now -- now, the disciples of yesterday's politics, they always underestimate the will of the people. They assumed our people were selfish. That when told of the difficult problem, the tough choices and the complicated solutions, that they would simply turn their backs, that they would decide it is every man for himself. They were wrong. The people of New Jersey stepped up. They shared in the sacrifice. And you know what else they did? They rewarded politicians who led instead of politicians who pandered.

But you know, we shouldn't be surprised. We shouldn't be surprised. We've never been a country to shy away from the truth. Our history shows that we stand up when it counts, and it's this quality that has defined America's character and our significance in the world.

Now I know this simple truth, and I am not afraid to say it. Our ideas are right for America, and their ideas have failed America. Let me be clear with the American people tonight. Here's what we believe as Republicans and what they believe as Democrats.

We believe in telling hard-working families the truth about our country's fiscal realities, telling them what they already know: the math of federal spending does not add up. With $5 trillion in debt added up over to the last four years, we have no option but to make the hard choices: cut federal spending and fundamentally reduce the size of this government.

You want to know what they believe? They believe that the American people don't want to hear the truth about the extent of our fiscal difficulties. They believe the American people need to be coddled by big government. They believe the American people are content to live the lie with them. They're wrong.

We believe in telling our seniors the truth about our overburdened entitlement. We know seniors not only want these programs to survive, but they just as badly want them secured for their grandchildren. Our seniors are not (AUDIO GAP).

Here's what they believe. They believe seniors will always put themselves ahead of their grandchildren, and here's what they do. They prey on their vulnerabilities and scare them with misinformation for the single cynical purpose of winning the next election. Here's their plan: whistle a happy tune while driving us off the fiscal cliff, as long as they are behind the wheel of power when we fall.

Now, we believe that the majority of teachers in America know that there must be reform to put the students first so that America can compete. Now, teachers don't teach to become rich or famous. They teach because they love children.

We believe -- we believe that we should honor and reward the good ones while doing what's best for our nation's future. Demanding accountability, demanding higher standards and demanding the best teacher in every classroom in America.

Get ready. Get ready: here's what they believe. They believe the educational establishment will always put themselves ahead of children, that self-interests will always trump common sense. They believe in pitting unions against teachers; educators against parents, lobbyists against children. They believe in teachers' unions. We believe in teachers.

We believe -- we believe that, if we tell the people the truth, that they will act bigger than the pettiness that we see in Washington, D.C. We believe it's possible to forge bipartisan compromise and stand up for our conservative principles. You see, because it's always been the power of our ideas, not our rhetoric, that attracts people to our party.

We win when we make it about what needs to be done. We lose when we play along with their game of scaring and dividing. For make no mistake about it, everybody, the problems are too big to let the American people lose. The slowest economic recovery in decades, a spiraling out-of-control deficit, and an education system that's failing to compete in the world.

It doesn't matter how we got here; there's enough blame to go around. What matters is what we do now. See, I know -- I know we can fix our problems. When there are people in the room who care more about doing the job they were elected to do than they worry about winning re-election, it's possible to work together, achieve principled compromise and get results for the people who gave us these jobs in the first place.

The people have no patience for any other way anymore. It's simple: we need politicians to care more about doing something and less about being something.

And believe me -- believe me, if we can do this in a blue state like New Jersey with a conservative Republican governor, Washington, D.C., is out of excuses. Leadership delivers. Leadership counts. Leadership matters.

And here's the great news I came here tonight to bring you. We have this leader for America. We have a nominee who will tell us the truth and who will lead with conviction. And now he has a running mate who will do the same. We have Governor Mitt Romney and Congressman Paul Ryan, and we need to make them the next president and vice president of the United States.

You see -- you see, because I know Mitt Romney. I know Mitt Romney, and Mitt Romney will tell us the hard truths we need to hear to put us back on a path to growth and create good-paying private- sector jobs again in America.

Mitt Romney will tell us the hard truths we need to hear to end the torrent of debt that is compromising our future and burying our economy. Mitt Romney will tell us the hard truths we need to hear to end the debacle of putting the world's greatest health-care system in the hands of federal bureaucrats and putting those bureaucrats between an American citizen and her doctor.

Now, we ended an era of absentee leadership without purpose or principle in New Jersey, and I'm here to tell you tonight, it is time to end this era of absentee leadership in the Oval Office and send real leaders back to the White House. America needs Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, and we need them right now.

Now, we've got to tell each other the truth, right? Listen, there is doubt and fear for our future in every corner of our country. I have traveled all over to country, and I have seen this myself. These feelings are real. This moment is real. It's a moment like this where some skeptics wonder if American greatness is over. They wonder how those who have come before us had the spirit and the tenacity to lead America to a new era of greatness in the face of challenge. Not to look around and say, "Not me," but to look around and say, "Yes, me."

Now, I have an answer tonight for the skeptics and the naysayers, the dividers and the defenders of the status quo: I have faith in us. I know -- I know we can be the men and women our country calls on us to be tonight. I believe in America and her history, and there's only one thing missing now: leadership. It takes leadership that you don't get from reading a poll.

You see, Mr. President, real leaders don't follow polls; real leaders change polls. That's what we need. That's what we need to do now. We need to change polls through the power of our principles. We need to change polls through the strength of our convictions. Tonight, our duty is to tell the American people the truth. Our problems are big and the solutions will not be painless. We all must share in the sacrifice, and any leader that tells us differently is simply not telling the truth.

Now I think tonight -- I think tonight of the greatest generation. We look back and marvel at their courage, overcoming the Great Depression, fighting Nazi tyranny, standing up for freedom around the world. Well, now it's our time to answer history's call. For make no mistake: every generation will be judged. So will we.

What will our children and grandchildren say of us? Will they say we buried ourselves in the sand; we assuaged ourselves with the creature comforts we've acquired, that our problems were too big and we were too small, that someone else should make a difference, because we can't?

Or will they say about us that we stood up and made the tough choices that needed to be made to preserve our way of life. You see, I don't know about you, but I don't want my children or grandchildren to have to read the history book, what it was like to live in American century. I don't want our only inheritance to be enormous government, that it's overtaxed, overspent and over-borrowed a great people into second-class citizenship.

I want them to live in a second American century. A second American century. A second American century of strong economic growth where those who are willing to work hard will have good-paying jobs to support their families and reach their dreams. A second American century where real American exceptionalism is not a political punchline, but is evident to everyone in the world just by watching the way our government conducts its business everyday and the way that Americans live their lives.

A second American century where the military is strong, our values are sure, our work ethic is unmatched, and our Constitution remains a model for anyone in the world struggling for liberty.

Let us choose a path that will be remembered for generations to come. Standing strong for freedom will make the next century as great an American century as the last one.

You see, this is the American way. We have never been victims of destiny. We have always been the masters of our own.

And I know, I know you agree with me on this. I will not be part of the generation that fails that test, and neither will you.

All right. It's now time for us to stand up. Everybody stand up. Everybody stand up. Stand up. Because there's no time left to waste. If you're willing to stand up with me for America's future, I will stand up with you. If you're willing to fight for with me for Mitt Romney, I will fight with you. If you're willing to hear the truth -- to hear the truth about the hard road ahead and the rewards for America that truth will bear, I'm here to begin with you this new era of truth-telling (AUDIO GAP) our nation's history.

Tonight we finally and firmly answer the call that so many generations have had the courage to answer before us. Tonight, we stand up for Mitt Romney as the next president of the United States, and together -- and together -- and together, everybody, together we will stand up once again for American greatness for our children and grandchildren.

God bless you and God bless America.