On Thursday, the final day of the Republican National Convention, three of the speakers were from Florida. Florida looms large in November and the party that takes the state will take the White House. The three speakers were: candidate for the U.S. Senate Connie Mack, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Senator Marco Rubio. Senator Rubio was given the honor of introducing Mitt Romney.
Here is the video and transcript of each speech.
Representative Connie Mack, candidate for U.S. Senate:
Once again, it’s morning in America.
There are new leaders on the horizon – Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan – America’s comeback team.
Growing up, I had a plaque on my wall that read:
“Life’s battles don’t always go to the fastest or the strongest, sooner or later those who win are those who think they can.”
We’ve always been a people with big dreams and limitless potential.
After all, this is America.
Our success is built on our values and our principles, but so many of them are under attack. Our commitment to freedom and liberty, and to everything that makes our country great, seems to embarrass the blame-America-first crowd.
They penalize individual achievement while praising the power of government. But they have not, cannot and will not destroy our spirit.
We are proud to be Americans. We are proud of our nation, of our heritage and of our success.
And it is our commitment to the American story. It’s our athletes in London who brought home more medals than any other country. It’s our best and brightest who landed an extraordinary rover on Mars.
It’s the Nobel Prize winners, scientists, writers and artists, second-to-none, who inspire us all.
These are the achievements that are brought about by a free society that honors individual effort.
We owe it to those who have given so much to regain our strength, and remain one of the strongest forces for freedom the world has ever seen.
Our allies deserve our unwavering support and our enemies need to know, we stand to defend freedom at all costs.
America was built on the belief in free enterprise, hard work, passion and faith.
We have the awesome responsibility to make that dream a reality.
That dream is not an impossible dream. It’s the American dream. It’s sure, it’s strong and it’s steady.
Mitt Romney’s plans to restore America’s promise and purpose will be realized and the American dream will once again be available to all her children.
We are a nation of dreamers – Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, the Wright brothers. Dreamers like Neil Armstrong who sought new lands and took giant leaps into American exceptionalism. And dreamers like my friend, Kiko Villiaon.
You know the story of the others; now let me tell you the story of Kiko.
In 1960, Kiko fled Castro’s Cuba. He came to New York. He became a taxi driver. He worked hard and saved his money. He became a citizen. He moved to Florida. He started a business building boats. He raised a family. He put his children through school. He sold his business. Now he worries about what opportunities lie ahead for his children and their children.
Kiko has lived the American dream, as have so many others. That’s what this election is all about – making the American dream a reality again.
It’s not about the past. It’s not about what was done wrong. It’s not about blaming America. It’s quite the opposite.
Tonight we embark on a renewal of the American dream.
Tonight we honor those who have come before us and done so much. Many even giving their lives.
And tonight we honor our children and their children to ensure their dreams – whether it’s playing under the lights, or starting a business, or being a doctor or a nurse, or a soldier or a sailor, or even a president or a vice president – dreams can become realities.
After all, this is America. And it’s morning once again.
Thank you, God bless the United States of America.
Former Governor Jeb Bush:
“Welcome to Florida! Bienvenido a Florida!
This election is about the future of this nation. We can shape that future with what we do here, with what we do November 6.
We can restore America’s greatness.
That starts with a strong economy, a smart energy policy, lower deficits, and a president who puts America’s workers and job-creators first.
But to have a great future – a secure future – a future that is equal to our potential as a nation, we need to do something else.
We must make sure that our children and grandchildren are ready for the world we are shaping today.
It starts in our homes, in our communities, and especially in our schools.
As a candidate and Governor, I visited over 400 schools. I saw children read their first sentences. Solve their first long-division problems. Explore the miracles of chemistry and physics.
That’s the essence of education – students getting a chance at a future.
There are many reasons to believe America’s future is bright, but also reasons to worry.
Of 34 advanced nations in the world, American students rank 17th in science, 25th in math.
Only one-fourth of high school graduates are ready for their next steps.
China and India produce eight times more engineering students each year than the United States.
There is a moral cost to our failing schools.
We say that every child in America has an equal opportunity. Tell that to a kid in whose classroom learning isn’t respected.
Tell that to a parent stuck in a school where there is no leadership. Tell that to a young, talented teacher who just got laid off because she didn’t have tenure.
The sad truth is that equality of opportunity doesn’t exist in many of our schools. We give some kids a chance, but not all.
That failure is the great moral and economic issue of our time. And it’s hurting all of America.
I believe we can meet this challenge.
We need to set high standards for students and teachers and provide students and their parents the choices they deserve.
The first step is a simple one.
We must stop pre-judging children based on their race, ethnicity or household income.
We must stop excusing failure in our schools and start rewarding improvement and success.
We must have high academic standards that are benchmarked to the best in the world.
All kids can learn. Governor Romney believes it, and the data proves it. While he was governor, Massachusetts raised standards and today their students lead the nation in academic performance.
Here in Florida in 1999, we were at the bottom of the nation in education.
For the last decade, this state has been on a path of reform. Under the leadership of Governor Rick Scott and local leaders, our focus every day is whether students are learning. That’s it.
Today, more students are reading on grade level, passing rigorous college prep courses and graduating from high school.
And perhaps most exciting, those traditionally left behind are showing the greatest gains.
Among African-American students, Florida is ranked fourth in the nation for academic improvement.
Among low-income students, we’re ranked third for our gains.
Among students with disabilities, we’re ranked first.
And among Latino students, the gains were so big, they required a new metric. Right now, Florida’s fourth grade Hispanic students read as well or better than the average of all students in 21 states and the District of Columbia.
These kids were once written off. But today thanks to teachers like Sean Duffy we’re changing that.
We need more great teachers like you. Teachers who don’t give up on a kid, who recognize that every child can learn, and don’t waste a precious year of a student’s life.
If you’re a great teacher and your students are mastering their subjects, no matter your age or years of experience, you should have a job.
Education is hard work, but if you follow some core principles, and you challenge the status quo, you get great results.
So here’s another thing we can do: Let’s give every parent in America a choice about where their child attends school.
Everywhere in our lives, we get the chance to choose.
Go down any supermarket aisle – you’ll find an incredible selection of milk.
You can get whole milk, 2% milk, low-fat milk or skim milk. Organic milk, and milk with extra Vitamin D.
There’s flavored milk— chocolate, strawberry or vanilla – and it doesn’t even taste like milk.
They even make milk for people who can’t drink milk.
Shouldn’t parents have that kind of choice in schools?
Governor Romney gets it. He believes parents – regardless of zip code or income – should be able to send their child to the school that fits them best.
That has set him against some entrenched interests.
There are many people who say they support strong schools but draw the line at school choice.
“Sorry, kid. Giving you equal opportunity would be too risky. And it will upset powerful political forces that we need to win elections.”
I have a simple message for these masters of delay and deferral: Choose. You can either help the politically powerful unions. Or you can help the kids.
Now, I know it’s hard to take on the unions. They fund campaigns. They’re well-organized. Election day? They’ll show up.
Meanwhile, the kids aren’t old enough to vote.
But you and I know who deserves a choice. Governor Romney knows it, too.
Let me introduce you to Frantz Placide. Because we gave him a choice, he got a great education.
I grew up in the inner city of Miami. In a place where your zip code determined your chances of success, my only option was an unproductive and failing school.
I knew that could lead to an unproductive and failing future. Thanks to Governor Bush’s school choice program, I got the chance to choose a better school.
Making my education my priority, I enrolled at one of the toughest private schools in Miami – Archbishop Curley Notre Dame.
I’m sure like a lot of us, it was my mother, Carlette, who really pushed for a choice in my education.
I’m glad she did. Her devotion to my future has given me a chance to succeed.
I’ve graduated from Wagner College, and am looking forward to a life of learning, and serving my community.
Who knows what the future would have held, if there hadn’t been a choice in my education?
But I do know the numbers for failure, and I probably wouldn’t have had a very good chance.
Governor Bush’s school choice program gave me the chance to achieve academic success, in the school that was the best fit for me.
I took it from there.
Thank you Frantz, it’s been an honor to see you grow up. Your story is driving powerful change across this nation. And some of the biggest reformers are Republicans.
Governor Mitch Daniels in Indiana and Governor Jindal in Louisiana have expanded school choice beyond what we have in Florida.
Governor Martinez in New Mexico is raising expectations – holding schools accountable for students gaining critical reading skills.
Governor LePage in Maine and Deal in Georgia are transforming education by pushing schools to harness the power of technology and digital learning.
Idaho’s Governor Otter and Superintendent Luna are raising up the best teachers and separating out the ineffective ones. That earned some enemies. Some of them slashed the superintendent’s tires. But he didn’t back down.
Governor Walker in Wisconsin led his state to adopt reforms that promote early literacy and require that teacher evaluations incorporate student achievement.
In Nevada, Governor Sandoval pushed for reforms to end the damaging practice of “last in, first out” – where teachers are hired or fired based on their years in the system, not on their impact in the classroom.
Governor Haslam in Tennessee is making sure every classroom has an effective teacher.
Because he is a former governor, Mitt Romney understands that states must lead this national movement. In Massachusetts, Governor Romney narrowed the gap between students of different races, raised testing standards, and put into place a merit scholarship, the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship that gives students four tuition free years, at any Massachusetts public institution of higher learning.
He’s a champion for bringing hope to education.
And he intends to be a champion for equality of opportunity, a president who always puts students first.
So in this election, remember this: Our future as a nation is at stake.
Fact is, this election is not about just one office. It is about one nation. If we want to continue to be the greatest nation on the planet, we must give our kids what we promise them:
An equal opportunity. That starts in the classroom. It starts in our communities. It starts where you live.
And it starts with electing Mitt Romney the next President of the United States.
Thank you. God bless you, God bless our excellent teachers and God bless the United States of America.”
Senator Marco Rubio:
“In 1980, I watched my first Republican convention with my grandfather.
He was born to a farming family in rural Cuba. Childhood polio left him permanently disabled.
Because he couldn’t work the farm, his family sent him to school, and he became the only one in the family who could read.
As a boy, I would sit on our porch and listen to his stories about history, politics and baseball while he puffed on one of his three daily Padron cigars.
I don’t recall everything we talked about, but the one thing I remember, is the one thing he wanted me to never forget. The dreams he had when he was young became impossible to achieve.
But there was no limit to how far I could go, because I was an American.
For those of us who were born and raised in this country, it’s easy to forget how special America is. But my grandfather understood how different America is from the rest of the world, because he knew what life was like outside America.
Tonight, you’ll hear from another man who understands what makes America exceptional.
Mitt Romney knows America’s prosperity didn’t happen because our government simply spent more. It happened because our people used their own money to open a business. And when they succeed, they hire more people, who then invest or spend their money in the economy, helping others start a business and create jobs.
Mitt Romney’s success in business is well known. But he’s more than that.
He’s a devoted husband, father and grandfather. A generous member of his community and church.
Everywhere he’s been, he’s volunteered his time and talent to make things better for those around him.
We are blessed that soon, he will be the president of the United States.
Our problem with President Obama isn’t that he’s a bad person. By all accounts, he too is a good husband, and a good father — and thanks to lots of practice, a pretty good golfer.
Our problem is he’s a bad president.
The new slogan for the president’s campaign is “Forward.”
A government that spends $1 trillion more than it takes in.
An $800 billion stimulus that created more debt than jobs.
A government intervention into health care paid for with higher taxes and cuts to Medicare.
Scores of new rules and regulations.
These ideas don’t move us “Forward,” they take us “Backwards.”
These are tired and old big government ideas. Ideas that people come to America to get away from. Ideas that threaten to make America more like the rest of the world, instead of helping the world become more like America.
Under Barack Obama, the only “Change” is that “Hope” has been hard to find.
Now millions of Americans are insecure about their future. But instead of inspiring us by reminding us of what makes us special, he divides us against each other.
He tells Americans they’re worse off because others are better off. That people got rich by making others poor.
Hope and Change has become Divide and Conquer.
No matter how you feel about President Obama, this election is about your future, not his. And it’s not simply a choice between a Democrat and a Republican.
It’s a choice about what kind of country we want America to be.
As we prepare to make this choice, we should remember what made us special. For most of history almost everyone was poor. Power and wealth belonged to only a few.
Your rights were whatever your rulers allowed you to have. Your future was determined by your past.
If your parents were poor, so would you be. If you were born without opportunities, so were your children.
But America was founded on the principle that every person has God-given rights. That power belongs to the people. That government exists to protect our rights and serve our interests.
That we shouldn’t be trapped in the circumstances of our birth. That we should be free to go as far as our talents and work can take us.
We are special because we’ve been united not by a common race or ethnicity. We’re bound together by common values. That family is the most important institution in society. That almighty God is the source of all we have.
Special, because we’ve never made the mistake of believing that we are so smart that we can rely solely on our leaders or our government.
Our national motto is “In God we Trust,” reminding us that faith in our Creator is the most important American value of all.
And special because we’ve always understood the scriptural admonition that “for everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required.”
We are a blessed people. And we have honored those blessings with the enduring example of an exceptional America.
I know that for so many of you, these last few years have tested your faith in the promise of America.
Maybe you are at an age when you thought you would be entering retirement. But now, because your savings and investments are wiped out, your future is uncertain.
Maybe, after years of hard work, this was the time you expected to be your prime earning years. But instead, you’ve been laid off, and your house is worth less than your mortgage.
Maybe you did everything you were told you needed to do to get ahead. You studied hard and finished school. But now, you owe thousands of dollars in student loans. You can’t find a job in your field. And you’ve moved back in with your parents.
You want to believe we’re still that place where anything is possible. But things just don’t seem to be getting better. And you are starting to wonder if things will ever be the same again.
Yes, we live in a troubled time. But the story of those who came before us reminds us that America has always been about new beginnings.
And Mitt Romney is running for president because he knows that if we are willing to do for our children what our parents did for us, life in America can be better than it has ever been.
My mother was one of seven girls whose parents went to bed hungry so their children wouldn’t. My father lost his mother when he was nine. He left school and went to work for the next 70 years.
They emigrated to America with little more than the hope of a better life.
My dad was a bartender. My mom was a cashier, a maid and a stock clerk at K-Mart. They never made it big. They were never rich. And yet they were successful. Because just a few decades removed from hopelessness, they made possible for us all the things that had been impossible for them.
Many nights I heard my father’s keys jingling at the door as he came home after another 16-hour day. Many mornings, I woke up just as my mother got home from the overnight shift at K-Mart
When you’re young, the meaning of moments like these escapes you. But now, as my own children get older, I understand it better.
My Dad used to tell us: “En este pais, ustedes van a poder lograr todas las cosas que nosotros no pudimos” “In this country, you will be able to accomplish all the things we never could.”
A few years ago during a speech, I noticed a bartender behind a portable bar at the back of the ballroom. I remembered my father who had worked for many years as a banquet bartender.
He was grateful for the work he had, but that’s not the life he wanted for us.
He stood behind a bar in the back of the room all those years, so one day I could stand behind a podium in the front of a room.
That journey, from behind that bar to behind this podium, goes to the essence of the American miracle — that we’re exceptional not because we have more rich people here.
We’re special because dreams that are impossible anywhere else, come true here.
That’s not just my story. That’s your story. That’s our story.
It’s the story of your mother who struggled to give you what she never had.
It’s the story of your father who worked two jobs so doors closed for him would open for you.
The story of that teacher or that coach who taught you the lessons that shaped who you are today.
And it’s the story of a man who was born into an uncertain future in a foreign country. His family came to America to escape revolution.
They struggled through poverty and the great depression. And yet he rose to be an admired businessman, and public servant.
And in November, his son, Mitt Romney, will be elected President of the United States.
We are all just a generation or two removed from someone who made our future the purpose of their lives.
America is the story of everyday people who did extraordinary things. A story woven deep into the fabric of our society.
Their stories may never be famous, but in the lives they lived, you find the living essence of America’s greatness. To make sure America is still a place where tomorrow is always better than yesterday, that is what our politics should be about.
And that is what we are deciding in this election.
Do we want our children to inherit our hopes and dreams, or do we want them to inherit our problems?
Mitt Romney believes that if we succeed in changing the direction of our country, our children and grandchildren will be the most prosperous generation ever, and their achievements will astonish the world.
The story of our time will be written by Americans who haven’t yet been born.
Let’s make sure they write that we did our part. That in the early years of this new century, we lived in an uncertain time. But we did not allow fear to cause us to abandon what made us special.
We chose more freedom instead of more government.
We chose the principles of our founding to solve the challenges of our time.
We chose a special man to lead us in a special time.
We chose Mitt Romney to lead our nation.
And because we did, the American Miracle lived on for another generation to inherit.”