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Text of Arnold Schwarzenegger's speech

Thank you.

What a greeting!

This is like winning an Oscar! ...As if I would know! Speaking of acting, one of my movies was called "True Lies." It's what the Democrats should have called their convention.

My fellow Americans, this is an amazing moment for me. To think that a once scrawny boy from Austria could grow up to become governor of California and stand in Madison Square Garden to speak on behalf of the president of the United States. That is an immigrant's dream. It is the American dream.

I was born in Europe ...and I've traveled all over the world. I can tell you that there is no place, no country, more compassionate, more generous, more accepting and more welcoming than the United States of America.

As long as I live, I will never forget that day 21 years ago when I raised my hand and took the oath of citizenship.

Do you know how proud I was? I was so proud that I walked around with an American flag around my shoulders all day long.

Tonight, I want to talk about why I'm even more proud to be an American -- why I'm proud to be a Republican and why I believe this country is in good hands.

When I was a boy, the Soviets occupied part of Austria. I saw their tanks in the streets. I saw communism with my own eyes. I remember the fear we had when we had to cross into the Soviet sector. Growing up, we were told, "Don't look the soldiers in the eye. Look straight ahead." It was a common belief that Soviet soldiers could take a man out of his own car and ship him off to the Soviet Union as slave labor.

My family didn't have a car -- but one day we were in my uncle's car. It was near dark as we came to a Soviet checkpoint. I was a little boy, I wasn't an action hero back then, and I remember how scared I was that the soldiers would pull my father or my uncle out of the car and I'd never see him again. My family and so many others lived in fear of the Soviet boot. Today, the world no longer fears the Soviet Union and it is because of the United States of America!

As a kid I saw the socialist country that Austria became after the Soviets left. I love Austria and I love the Austrian people -- but I always knew America was the place for me. In school, when the teacher would talk about America, I would daydream about coming here. I would sit for hours watching American movies transfixed by my heroes like John Wayne. Everything about America seemed so big to me so open, so possible.   Continued...

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