I read somewhere that Mitt and I have a “storybook marriage.” Well, 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 MS or breast cancer. A storybook marriage? No, not at all. What Mitt Romney and I have is a real marriage.
I know this good and decent man for what he is — 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 had been taken to the hospital.
You may not agree with Mitt’s positions on issues or his politics. Massachusetts is only 13% Republican, so it’s not like that’s a shock. 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. No one will move heaven and earth like Mitt Romney to make this country a better place to live!
It’s true that Mitt has been successful at each new challenge he has taken on. It amazes me to see his history of success actually being attacked. Are those really the values that made our country great? As a mom of five boys, do we want to raise our children to be afraid of success? Do we send our children out in the world with the advice, “Try to do… okay?”
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 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.
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 talked 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 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. Mitt doesn’t like to talk about how he has helped others because he sees it as a privilege, not a political talking point. And 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.”
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, 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.
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%. Under Mitt, Massachusetts’s schools were the best in the nation. The best. He started the John and Abigail Adams scholarships, which give the top 25 percent of high school graduates a four-year tuition-free scholarship.
This is the man America needs.
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, a mother, a grandmother, an American, and make you this solemn commitment:
This man will not fail. 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.
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 of you and God Bless the United States of America.
(Ann Romney, August 28, 2012)