Thank you, Colorado! I congratulate my fellow Republicans, and I look forward to the contests to come.
We will take our message of liberty and prosperity to every corner of the country. And when this primary season is over, we will stand united to defeat Barack Obama and restore the values that have made America the greatest nation on earth.
Three years ago, Barack Obama came to Colorado to accept his Party's nomination. He rented out a huge stadium. He hauled in some Styrofoam Greek columns and two giant screens to set the mood. On that big stage in Denver, he made some even bigger promises.
He said the "Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress."
Under his definition, progress would be measured by "how many people can find a job that pays a mortgage."
More Americans have lost their jobs during President Obama's term than during any other in modern history. And more Americans have lost their homes during President Obama's term than during any other in modern history. Under his own definition, President Obama has failed. We will succeed!
In that same speech in Denver, candidate Obama said progress would be determined by "whether the average American family saw its income go up instead of down." During the last four years, the median income has fallen by around 10%. Under his own definition, President Obama has failed. We will succeed!
Candidate Obama went on to say that we could measure progress by "whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a business." Have you seen what's happened to small business? Last year, under President Obama, there were almost 100,000 fewer new business start-ups than there were three years before. By his own definition, President Obama has failed. We will succeed!
Candidate Obama said we could see progress in "an economy that honors the dignity of work." Under President Obama, the average duration of unemployment has more than doubled and 14 million more people are on food stamps. By his own definition, President Obama has failed. We will succeed!
This week, President Obama said that he deserves a second term because, and I quote, "We've made progress." No, Mr. President, under the definition of progress you described here four years ago, you have not made progress.
Three years ago, President Obama said that if he couldn't turn the economy around in three years, he'd be looking at a one-term proposition. Truer words could not have been spoken.
This is a moment when our country cries out for fundamental change and reform. Washington cannot reform itself and Washington will never be reformed by those who have been compromised by the culture of Washington.
This is a clear choice. I am the only person in this race -- Republican or Democrat -- who has never served a day in Washington. In the world I come from, leadership is starting a business, not trying to get a bill out of a subcommittee.
I have said over and over that this campaign is about more than just replacing a President -- it's about saving the soul of America. We all know in our hearts that soul is corrupted by a Washington culture of reckless spending, voting to raise your own pay, and saying you support term limits but always running for re-election. It's that Washington that we must change.
This is not a moment when we can continue to do business as usual. This is not a moment when we can expect those in Washington to realize suddenly that they have been wrong and next time they will get it right.
I stand before you ready to lead this party and this nation. I have led businesses. I have led an Olympics. I have led a state.
President Obama says he is learning. We say, he is learning too little and too late. The presidency is not the place to learn how to lead. It is a place to exercise the judgment and leadership that has been learned over a lifetime.
I know that many of us are concerned about our future. Over the last thirty years, I can't tell you how many times I've heard a situation is hopeless or a long list of all the reasons something can't be done. But I've never been very good at listening to those people and I've always enjoyed proving them wrong.
It's one of the lessons I learned from dad.
My father never graduated from college. He apprenticed, as a lath and plaster carpenter, and he was darn good at it. He learned how to put a handful of nails in his mouth and spit them out, point forward. On his honeymoon, he and Mom drove across the country. Dad sold aluminum paint along the way, to pay for gas and hotels.
There were a lot reasons my father could have given up or set his sights lower. But Dad always believed in America; and in that America, a lath and plaster man could work his way up to running a little car company called American Motors and end up Governor of a state where he had once sold aluminum paint.
For my Dad, America was the land of opportunity, where the circumstances of birth are no barrier to achieving ones dreams. In Dad's America, small business and entrepreneurs were encouraged, and respected.
The spirit of enterprise, innovation, pioneering and derring-do propelled our standard of living and economy past every other nation on earth.
I refuse to believe that America is just another place on the map with a flag. We stand for freedom and opportunity and hope.
These last few years have not been the best of times. But while we've lost a few years, we have not lost our way. The principles that made us a great nation and leader of the world have notlost their meaning. They never will.
We know we can bring this country back.
I believe in America. And so do you.
This election, let's fight for the America we love. We believe in America.
Thank you. And God bless America.