Ladies and gentlemen, thank you and welcome.
We begin tonight with a fundamental question: can we do better?
The answer, in my view, is obvious: you bet we can.
The American people are still asking 'where are the jobs,' but President Obama only offers excuses instead of answers. His record is a shadow of his rhetoric. Yet he has the nerve to say that he's moving us forward, and the audacity to hope that we'll believe him.
Allow me to illustrate.
I'm what you'd call a regular guy with a big job. I've got 11 brothers and sisters. My dad and my uncles owned a bar outside of Cincinnati. I worked there growing up, mopping floors, waiting tables.
Believe me when I say I learned how to deal with every character who walked in the door...
So let's say right now, a guy walked into our bar - full of guys looking for work, having a tough go of it - and said, "the private sector is doing fine."
Well, do you know what we'd do? That's right: we'd throw him out.
If a guy walked into our bar - full of people paying more for health care, more for gas, more for everything - and said, "we're better off than we would have been."
Do you know what we'd do? Throw him out.
If a guy walked into our bar - full of folks who couldn't tell you the last time they got a raise or their house was above water - and said, "we tried our economic plan, and it worked.
Do you know what we'd do? Throw him out.
Now let's say a guy walked into our bar, and before he could say anything, he overheard a regular telling his story. Turns out this man runs a small business. Got involved with it while he was still working his way through school. Then, out of nowhere, his business partner died. They had just one customer at the time. So he fought like hell, through sleepless nights and close calls. They made it, thank God, paid their dues, proud of what they managed to do.
Now if a guy walked into our bar, heard all that, and said, "if you've got a business, you didn't build that.
You know what we'd do. Throw him out.
By the way, that small business guy at the bar: that was my story. That was our business. We DID build that.
It could just as easily have been the story of anyone who's built something from nothing. No guarantees. No government there to hold your hand. Just a dream and the desire to do better.
President Obama just doesn't get this. He can't fix the economy because he doesn't know how it was built.
So in 70 days... when the American people walk into the voting booth, what should we do? Throw him out.
Because we can do better. We can do a lot better. It starts with throwing out the politician who doesn't get it, and electing a new president who does.
Mitt Romney comes from a family of builders. His father built houses, built businesses, built industry. George Romney was a can-do kind of guy. He was fond of the old saying that when things are at their worst, 'that's just the place and time that the tide will turn.'
Delegates, this is that time and this is that place. We're here to preserve this country the same way we built it: by exercising our God-given right to set a new course.
Who better to turn this tide than a man who has dedicated his career to doing just that - for states, for businesses, for the Olympic Games.
President Romney will keep his word and his courage, too. He'll keep faith with the idea that government exists to serve the people, and the people build the economy.
Mitt's jobs plan will build a stronger middle class through energy independence ... schools where our kids - not the teachers unions - come first ... free trade ... the path to a balanced budget ... and an end to the uncertainty - and the tax hikes - that threaten small businesses.
It's a big job, so we're fortunate that Mitt has chosen as his running mate a leader who is second to none when it comes to rooting out and fixing Washington's worst habits.
When I met Paul Ryan 22 years ago, he was a student at Miami of Ohio volunteering on my campaign. Soon, he will be our party's nominee for Vice President of the United States. Who says this isn't the greatest country on Earth?
They call this 'America's comeback team.' Well, any good comeback needs some true believers.
So if you believe we can do better, if you want to leave our children a stronger, more prosperous America, then Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan need your help.
Because we can turn this tide, but only if all of us are all-in, all the way to the Sixth of November.
It starts here with a convention that will lead to victory for our party - and more importantly, victory for our people and the great cause of freedom.