ROMNEY: Hello! What a welcome.
Thank you. And thank you, Luce. I cannot wait to see what we are going to all do together. This is going to be so exciting!
Just so you all know, the hurricane has hit landfall and I think we should 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.
Well, I want to talk to you tonight not about politics and not about party. And while there are many important issues that we will hear discussed in this convention and throughout this campaign tonight, I want to talk to you from my heart about our hearts.
I want to talk about not 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 that 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 is 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 is 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. And I have seen and heard stories of how hard it is to get ahead now. You know what? I have heard your voices. They have said to me, I am running in place and we just cannot 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 are just aren't sure how. And if you listen carefully, you'll 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 mom's of this nation, single, married, widowed, who really hold the 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. Those are my favorite fans down there.
You are the ones that have to do a little bit more and you know what it is like to earn a little bit harder earn the respect you deserve at work and then you come home to 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 those long weekend drives just to see how they're doing.
You know the fastest route to the local emergency room and which doctors actually answers the phone call when you call at night, and by the way, I know all about that. You know what it is like to sit in that graduation ceremony and wonder how it was that so many long days turned into years that went by so quickly. You are the best of America. You... You are the hope of America. There would not be an America without you. Tonight, we salute you and sing your praises! I am not sure if men really understand this, but I don't think there is 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 is all the little things, the price of the pump you could not believe and 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 become the big things. And the big things, the good jobs, the chance at college and the home you want to buy just get harder. Everything has become harder. We're too smart and know that there are no easy answers, but we're not dumb enough to accept that there are not better answers.
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. 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 the guy's a little intimidated. He was nice to my parents, but he was also really glad when they were not around.
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 six years old in a little village in Wales called (inaudible). Cleaning bottles at the (inaudible).
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. Michigan!
There he started a business, one he built by himself, by the way.
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 anyplace 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 line the streets in downtown, there were a lot of 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. Mitt's dad never graduated from college. Instead, he became a carpenter. He worked hard and then he became the head of the 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 a way of our future. I was 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. We got married and moved into a basement apartment.
We walked to class together, shared the housekeeping, ate a lot of pasta and Tuna fish. Our just was a door propped up on saw horses, 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, a 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. Well that was 42 years ago. I survived. We now have five sons and 18 beautiful grandchildren.
I am still in love with that boy that I met at a high school dance and he still makes me laugh.
I read somewhere that Mitt and I have a storybook marriage. Well, let me tell you something. In the storybooks I read, there never were long, long rainy winter afternoons in a house with five boys screaming at once, and those storybooks never seemed to have chapter's called M. S. or breast cancer. A storybook marriage? Nope, not at all. What Mitt Romney and I have is a real marriage. 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 fellow man. From the time we were first married, I have 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 come from a member of our church whose child has been taken to the hospital.
You may not agree on Mitt's decisions 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. But -- 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.
It's true -- it's true that Mitt's 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? (AUDIENCE MEMBER): No.
As a mom of five boys, do we want to to raise our children to be afraid of success?
Do we send our children out in the world with the advice try to do OK?
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?
Of course not. Mitt would 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. 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 had a small group of friends talking about starting a new company. I was there when they struggled and wondered if the whole idea was just not going to work. Mitt's reaction was to work harder and press on.
Today, the 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 a chance at good educations and made those long hours of the 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 am going to say. Mitt does not like to talk about how he has helped others because he sees it as a privilege, not a political talking point.
We are 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.
But because this is America, that small company which grew has helped so many lead better lives, the jobs that grew from the risk they took have become college educations and first homes. That success has helped scholarships, pensions and retirement funds. This is the genius of America. Dreams fulfilled, help others launch new dreams.
At every turn in his life, this man that 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 the state from economic crisis to unemployment at just 4.7 percent. Under Mitt, Massachusetts' school for the best in the nation. The best. He started something that I really love. He started the John and Abigail Adams scholarship which gives the top 25 percent of high- school graduates a four-year tuition-free scholarship. This is the man America needs.
This is a man who will wake up every day with the determination to solve the problems that others say cannot 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, an American, and make you this solemn commitment. This man will not fail.