The prepared texts of the speeches Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan gave today in Norfolk, Va., as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee introduced his choice for vice president.
In one humorous deviation, Romney introduced Ryan as “the next president of the United States.’’
As the Wisconsin congressman began speaking, Romney returned to the microphone to correct himself and quip, “Every now and then I’m known to make a mistake – but I did not make a mistake with this guy.’’
The texts were provided by the Romney-Ryan campaign.
“Ladies and gentlemen:
“It’s great to be back in Virginia and here in Norfolk. Your city’s beauty is only matched by its proud heritage as a defender of freedom. Today we take another step forward in helping restore the promise of America. As we move forward in this campaign and on to help lead the nation to better days, it is an honor to announce my running mate and the next vice president of the United States: Paul Ryan.
“Paul Ryan is a leader.
“His leadership begins with character and values. And Paul is a man of tremendous character, shaped in large part by his early life.
“Paul’s father died when he was in high school. That forced him to grow up earlier than any young man should. But Paul did, with the help of his devoted mother, his brothers and sister, and a supportive community. And as he did, he internalized the virtues and hard-working ethic of the Midwest.
“Paul Ryan works in Washington – but his beliefs remain firmly rooted in Janesville, Wis. He is a person of great steadiness, whose integrity is unquestioned and whose word is good.
“Paul’s upbringing is obvious in how he has conducted himself throughout his life, including his leadership in Washington.
“In a city that is far too often characterized by pettiness and personal attacks, Paul Ryan is a shining exception. He does not demonize his opponents. He understands that honorable people can have honest differences. And he appeals to the better angels of our nature. There are a lot of people in the other party who might disagree with Paul Ryan; I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t respect his character and judgment.
“Paul is in public life for all the right reasons – not to advance his personal ambitions but to advance the ideals of freedom and justice; and to increase opportunity and prosperity to people of every class and faith, every age and ethnic background. A faithful Catholic, Paul believes in the worth and dignity of every human life.
“With energy and vision, Paul Ryan has become an intellectual leader of the Republican Party. He understands the fiscal challenges facing America: our exploding deficits and crushing debt – and the fiscal catastrophe that awaits us if we don’t change course.
“Paul Ryan combines a profound sense of responsibility for what we owe the next generation with an unbounded optimism in America’s future and an understanding of all the wonderful things the American people can do.
“Paul also combines firm principles with a practical concern for getting things done. He has never been content to simply curse the darkness; he would rather light candles. And throughout his legislative career he’s shown the ability to work with members of both parties to find common ground on some of the hardest issues confronting the American people.
“Paul and I are beginning on a journey that will take us to every corner of America. We are offering a positive, governing agenda that will lead to economic growth, to widespread and shared prosperity, and that will improve the lives of our fellow citizens. Our Plan to Strengthen The Middle Class will get America back to work and get our country back on track.
“We offer solutions that are bold, specific, and achievable. We offer our commitment to help create 12 million new jobs and to bring better take home pay to middle class families.
“To strengthen the middle class, we will provide our workers and our children with the skills to succeed. We’ll cut the deficit, have trade that works for America, and champion small business. And finally, we will unleash our energy resources to achieve North American energy independence.
“We will help care for those who cannot care for themselves, and we will return work to welfare. As poverty has risen to historic and tragic levels, with nearly one out of six Americans now having fallen into poverty, we will act to bring these families into the middle class. Unlike the current president who has cut Medicare funding by $700 billion, we will preserve and protect Medicare and Social Security. Under the current president, healthcare has only become more expensive. We will reform healthcare so that more Americans have access to affordable healthcare, and we will get that started by repealing and replacing Obamacare.
“And at a time when the President’s campaign is taking American politics to new lows, we are going to do things differently. We are going to talk about aspirations and American ideals; about bringing people together to solve the urgent problems facing our nation. And when that message wins in America, it will be a victory for every American.
“Today is a good day for America. And there are better days ahead. Join me in welcoming the next vice president of the United States – Paul Ryan.’’
“Thank you Governor Romney, Ann. I am deeply honored and excited to join you as your running mate.
“Mitt Romney is a leader with the skills, the background and the character that our country needs at a crucial time in its history. Following four years of failed leadership, the hopes of our country, which have inspired the world, are growing dim; and they need someone to revive them. Governor Romney is the man for this moment; and he and I share one commitment: we will restore the dreams and greatness of this country.
“I want you to meet my family. My wife Janna, our daughter Liza, and our sons, Charlie and Sam.
“I am surrounded by the people I love, and I have been asked by Governor Romney to serve the country I love.
“Janesville, Wis. is where I was born and raised, and I never really left it. It’s our home now.
“For the last 14 years, I have proudly represented Wisconsin in Congress. There, I have focused on solving the problems that confront our country, and turning ideas into action; and action into solutions.
“I am committed, in heart and mind, to putting that experience to work in a Romney Administration. This is a crucial moment in the life of our nation; and it is absolutely vital that we select the right man to lead America back to prosperity and greatness.
“That man is standing next to me. His name is Mitt Romney. And he will be the next president of the United States
“My dad died when I was young. He was a good and decent man. I still remember a couple of things he would say that have really stuck with me. “Son you are either part of the problem or part of the solution.’’
“Regrettably, President Obama has become part of the problem … and Mitt Romney is the solution.
“The other thing my dad would say is that every generation of Americans leaves their children better off. That’s the American legacy.
“Sadly, for the first time in our history, we are on a path which will undo that legacy. That is why we need new leadership to become part of the solution – new leadership to restore prosperity, economic growth, and jobs.
“It is our duty to save the American Dream for our children, and theirs.
“And I believe there is no person in America who is better prepared – because of his experience; because of the principles he holds; and because of his achievements and excellence in so many different arenas – to lead America at this point in its history.
“Let me say a word about the man Mitt Romney will replace. No one disputes President Obama inherited a difficult situation. And, in his first 2 years, with his party in complete control of Washington, he passed nearly every item on his agenda. But that didn’t make things better.
“In fact, we find ourselves in a nation facing debt, doubt, and despair.
“This is the worst economic recovery in 70 years. Unemployment has been above 8 percent for more than three years, the longest run since the Great Depression. Families are hurting.
“We have the largest deficits and the biggest federal government since World War II.
“Nearly one out of six Americans are in poverty – the worst rate in a generation. Moms and dads are struggling to make ends meet.
“Household incomes have dropped by more than $4,000 over the past four years.
“Whatever the explanations, whatever the excuses, this is a record of failure.
“President Obama, and too many like him in Washington, have refused to make difficult decisions because they are more worried about their next election than they are about the next generation. We might have been able to get away with that before, but not now. We’re in a different, and dangerous, moment. We’re running out of time – and we can’t afford 4 more years of this.
“Politicians from both parties have made empty promises which will soon become broken promises – with painful consequences – if we fail to act now.
“I represent a part of America that includes inner cities, rural areas, suburbs, and factory towns. Over the years I have seen and heard from a lot from families, from those running small businesses, and from people who are in need. But what I have heard lately troubles me the most. There is something different in their voice and in their words. What I hear from them are diminished dreams, lowered expectations, uncertain futures.
“I hear some people say that this is just “the new normal.’’ High unemployment, declining incomes and crushing debt is not a new normal. It’s the result of misguided policies. And next January, our economy will begin a comeback with the Romney Plan for a Stronger Middle Class that will lead to more jobs and more take home pay for working Americans.
“America is on the wrong track; but Mitt Romney and I will take the right steps, in the right time, to get us back on the right track!
“I believe my record of getting things done in Congress will be a very helpful complement to Governor Romney’s executive and private sector success outside Washington. I have worked closely with Republicans as well as Democrats to advance an agenda of economic growth, fiscal discipline, and job creation.
“I’m proud to stand with a man who understands what it takes to foster job creation in our economy, someone who knows from experience, that if you have a small business—you did build that.
“At Bain Capital, he launched new businesses and he turned around failing ones – companies like Staples, Bright Horizons and Sports Authority, just to name a few. Mitt Romney created jobs and showed he knows how a free economy works.
“At the Olympics, he took a failing enterprise and made it the pride of our entire nation.
“As governor of Massachusetts, he worked with Democrats and Republicans to balance budgets with no tax increases, lower unemployment, increase income and improve people’s lives.
“In all of these things, Mitt Romney has shown himself to be a man of achievement, excellence and integrity.
“Janna and I tell Liza, Charlie, and Sam that America is a place where, if you work hard and play by the rules, you can get ahead.
“We Americans look at one another’s success with pride, not resentment, because we know, as more Americans work hard, take risks, and succeed, more people will prosper, our communities will benefit, and individual lives will be improved and uplifted.
“But America is more than just a place … it’s an idea. It’s the only country founded on an idea. Our rights come from nature and God, not government. We promise equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.
“This idea is founded on the principles of liberty, freedom, free enterprise, self-determination and government by consent of the governed.
“This idea is under assault. So, we have a critical decision to make as a nation.
“We are on an unsustainable path that is robbing America of our freedom and security. It doesn’t have to be this way.
“The commitment Mitt Romney and I make to you is this:
“We won’t duck the tough issues … we will lead!
“We won’t blame others … we will take responsibility!
“We won’t replace our founding principles … we will reapply them!
“We will honor you, our fellow citizens, by giving you the right and opportunity to make the choice:
“What kind of country do we want to have?
“What kind of people do we want to be?
“We can turn this thing around. Real solutions can be delivered. But, it will take leadership. And the courage to tell you the truth.
“Mitt Romney is this kind of leader. I’m excited for what lies ahead and I’m thrilled to be a part of America’s Comeback Team. And together, we will unite America and get this done.