MR. ROMNEY: Almost, but not quite. You guys are my heroes. You took this campaign from nowhere to the very top tier. You worked your hearts out and you made me a contender. And for that, Ann and I and our family will be forever grateful. Thank you so very much. (Cheers, applause.)
Now, I just got off the phone with Senator McCain and I offered him my congratulations. And I'm sure that you are excited here this evening, but a little disappointed as well. And, you know, my guess is when you left your home this evening, you put a son or a daughter to bed, and probably that's happening across the country. Moms and dads are putting kids to bed, or already have, and they're sleeping peacefully. They're probably a bit like my grandkids, full of big dreams and plans, excited about every tomorrow.
I remember when I was growing up. I always knew that America was the greatest nation on earth -- first nation to the moon. Our cars and movies and technology were the envy of the entire world. And freedom and opportunity was just like the air. It was everywhere I went. I believed there was nothing I couldn't do, and I knew there was nothing that America couldn't do, because we led the world.
Now, America's leadership didn't come without cost. It was won by the greatest generation in the history of the world. They defeated fascism and they built the world's strongest economy. Mom and dad are gone, as maybe yours are as well. What they and their generation left us is the greatest nation in the history of the entire planet.
And now it's our turn. What kind of nation will we leave our children and our grandchildren? We can leave future generations a nation that's even greater than that which we inherited. But to do that, we're going to have to overcome a new generation of challenges.
Our world is under attack from violent radical jihadists. Our jobs are being sought by new competitors, countries like Asia and India. And here at home, our government is spending too much. We're using too much oil. Our health care system leaves a lot of people behind, and our schools are failing way too many. And even our values are under attack.
We've looked to Washington for leadership, but Washington has failed us. We've asked them to fix illegal immigration. They haven't. We've asked them to get the tax burden off our families and businesses. They haven't. We asked them to end our dependence on foreign oil. They haven't. We asked them to maintain high ethical standards. They haven't. We asked them to fix Social Security. They haven't. We asked them to stop spending money on pork-barrel projects. We asked them to balance our budget. They haven't. We asked them time and time and time again, and they just haven't gotten the job done.
You see, Washington is fundamentally broken. And we're not going to change Washington by sending the same people back just to sit in different chairs. (Cheers, applause.) I think it's time for the politicians to leave Washington and for the citizens to take over. (Cheers, applause.)
It is time for a change in Washington, and here are some of the things we're going to do. First, we're going to strengthen our families. We'll make sure that every citizen in our country has affordable health insurance that they can't lose -- private, free- market insurance, not socialized medicine, not Hillary care. (Cheers, applause.)
We'll make sure our kids have great schools. We'll treat teachers like the professionals they are. And we'll put our kids first and (the unions ?) behind. (Cheers, applause.)
And to build strong families, we'll teach our kids that before they have babies, they should get married. (Cheers, applause.) So we'll strengthen our families and we'll strengthen our military. We need more troops. We need better funding. We need better equipment, and we need better care for our veterans. (Cheers, applause.) And let's point out to all those who criticize President Bush that it's thanks to him that we've been safe these last six years. (Cheers, applause.)
So strengthen our families and strengthen our military. And finally, we need to strengthen our economy. I spent my entire life in the real economy. I know why jobs come. I know why they go. I've been doing business in 20 countries around the world. I've run small business and large business. The economy is in my DNA.
Many of the people across our country are worried about their retirement accounts. They wonder if they can pay for the college education of their child. They see their largest asset, their home value, dropping. Some wonder if their job is going to be secure in a new global economy. Americans wonder how they can afford the rising cost of health care and gasoline and taxes.
These are real challenges. At a time like this, America needs a president in the White House who has actually had a job in the real economy. (Cheers, applause.) You see, at a time like this, knowing how America works is more important than knowing how Washington works.
The Democrats think that America's greatness flows from our government. They're wrong. The source of America's greatness is the American people. (Cheers, applause.) Hard-working, innovative, risk- taking, family-oriented, God-fearing, freedom-loving American people have always been the source of America's greatness, and they always will be. (Cheers, applause.)
And so the right course for America isn't to strengthen our government but to strengthen our people. And to do that, we're going to have to change Washington. And change will begin with us. (Cheers, applause.) This presidential election in November of '08 is not about yesterday. It's about tomorrow. It's not about refighting the battles of the past. It's about winning the future for our children and their children and for America.
When you go home tonight and you go and kiss your son or your daughter before you go to sleep, you can promise them that this generation will meet the challenges of our time, that we'll leave them a stronger America. And you can tell them to dream big, because for the children of America, every dream will be possible.
Thank you so much. Thank you. (Cheers, applause.) Thank you.