Des Moines Register - Strengthen American Family, Economy, Security
I want my children and grandchildren - and yours - to live in an America that is safe and prosperous and free. Ten years ago, there wasn't much question about that: We had won the Cold War, our "new economy" was outpacing our rivals, the dollar was strong and markets were surging.
A lot has changed since then. But Washington hasn't. Washington is consumed with partisan battles and score settling. Driven by power and politics, Washington has been incapable of solving the challenges of a changing world. Oil prices soar, the dollar tumbles, schools fall behind those of other nations, health insurance eludes 47 million citizens, illegal immigration continues unabated, jobs migrate to Asia, and the specter of terrorism and Jihadism grows.
The challenges seem daunting, but Americans always rise to the occasion - we will overcome these as we have many others before. But for our children to inherit from us the great and hopeful America that was bequeathed to us by our parents, we must change Washington.
But what will be the direction of that change? Sens. Clinton, Obama and Edwards call for big government, big brother and big taxes.
The source of America's strength isn't government; it's the American people. Hard-working, opportunity-seeking, risk-taking, family-oriented, God-fearing, education-minded, freedom-loving American people have always been the source of our strength, and they always will be. The right way to overcome our challenges isn't to strengthen government, it is to strengthen the American people.
To do that, we must first strengthen the American family. I want our children to learn that before they have babies, they should get married: Every child deserves a mother and a father. I want to protect marriage as the union of a man and a woman. I will work to improve our schools, with better pay for better teachers, with higher standards, and with school choice that allows every child to have the opportunity for a good education. I will help every American obtain health insurance, not government-run socialized medicine, but free-market insurance that is affordable and portable.
I will work to strengthen our economy to provide good jobs for us and for our children. I will keep taxes down, killing the death tax and letting middle-income families save their money tax free. We must finally end our dependence on foreign oil by investing in new energy sources and new levels of energy efficiency. We must open foreign markets to American goods and assure that trade agreements provide a level playing field. And we must stop illegal immigration: The sanctuary state of mind must be replaced by the rule of law.
We must also strengthen our national security. I will add more troops to our military, with better equipment and armament and with better care for our veterans. I will invest in intelligence capabilities - by far the most effective way to prevent terror in the homeland. And we must win the war in Iraq and Afghanistan to make sure that neither becomes a safe haven for al-Qaida or other terror groups.
The best ally peace has ever known is a strong America. The aim of our foreign and domestic policies must be to keep America strong, to remain the world's economic and military leader. For our children to live safe and abundant lives, we must strengthen the family, strengthen the economy and strengthen our military.
I am optimistic about America's future. I have seen the goodness and resolve of the American people. Challenges make us strong. I will draw on my experience, my values and this vision of American strength to keep America the hope of the world, and the promise of a bright future for our children.