Updated (originally published at 3:15 p.m.): Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell took the stage tonight in Tampa and launched into an attack on the president's handling of the economy over the past four years. Belowis the transcript from the Kentucky Republican's speech, provided by his staff.
"Ladies and Gentlemen--
"We're here this week for the simple reason that our nation is in desperate need of leadership. And we believe Mitt Romney is the man for the moment.
"That's the hopeful message coming from Tampa this week: after four long years, help is on the way.
"America is about to turn the page on Barack Obama's four-year experiment in big government.
"And it starts by renewing our belief that we're called to something better.
"Over the past four years Americans have been led to believe we're just like everybody else, that America isn't unique.
"But it's not true.
"We are different.
"Not because of where we were born, but because of who we are as a people.
"Because of what we have in here.
"The President scoffs at this idea. To him, this kind of thinking is the problem, not the solution.
"That's why he's spent the last four years lowering Americans' expectations instead of raising them.
"That's why he's been missing in action on the greatest challenges of the day.
"What this administration has in mind for America isn't a renewal, it's a great leveling out.
"It wants the kind of government-imposed equality that in a single generation transformed Western Europe from a place where for centuries high achievement and discovery and innovation were celebrated and prized, to a place where they have elections about whether people should have to work.
"Where they make promises they can't keep and write checks they can't cash.
"But that's not who we are.
"It just doesn't occur to an American that someone else will solve their problems.
"Americans take pride in solving problems for themselves.
"And if we fail, we get back up and try again.
"It's what we do. It's who we are.
"This President may want to give up on the problems we face, manage the decline.
"But the American people don't.
"And that's why this election is so important. It's a choice about who we are.
"Are we still a country that takes risks, that innovates, that believes anything is possible?
"Or are we a country that is resigned to whatever liberty the government decides to dish out?
"I tell students all the time the only way to fail in America is to quit.
"I truly believe that. And I know Mitt Romney does too.
"For four years, Barack Obama has been running from the nation's problems.
"He hasn't been working to earn reelection. He's been working to earn a spot on the PGA tour.
"Mitt Romney has spent his entire life finding ways to solve problems.
"Mitt Romney has never been resigned to what someone else said was possible.
"He cut his own path.
"That's why he believes in his heart that America has a future full of opportunity and hope.
"And that's why when Mitt Romney looks down the road, he sees a country that's ready for a comeback.
"I firmly believe he's the man to lead it.
"As we meet here tonight, America is suffering through an economic calamity of truly historic dimensions. Some are calling it the slowest recovery in our nation's entire 236-year history.
"To call this a recovery is an insult to recoveries.
"This is not the result of forces beyond our control. It is not the result of some sinister political plot; as some of the more paranoid inhabitants of the left-wing fever swamps would have you believe.
"It is the result of the policies that Barack Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress spent two full years carefully putting into place, and which they are determined to continue, if they win again.
"Policies that are meant to gently lull us into a state of lower expectations and diminished dreams.
"We've gotten a preview of this future over the past few years.
"We hear the stories every day now.
"...the father who puts on a suit every morning and leaves the house so his daughter doesn't know he lost his job
"...the recent college grad facing up to the painful reality that the only door that's open to her after four years of study and a pile of debt is her parents'
"These are the faces of the Obama economy.
"And this is America's future if we don't do something to change the course this President seems perfectly content to leave us on.
Think about it.
"On the same day we learned that unemployment went up in 44 out of 50 states last month, the President of the United States took to the airwaves to tell the people of Albuquerque ... that he enjoys green chilies, but prefers red.
"We know what the President's got on his iPod, but we don't know what he plans to do about a looming tax hike that could trigger yet another serious recession that would result in even more Americans losing their jobs.
"Ladies and Gentlemen: America cannot afford another four years of this.
"For four years, Americans have waited for the faintest light to flicker at the end of the tunnel.
"And this President has let them down again and again and again.
"It is time to move on.
"It is time for a leader who will lead.
"That leader is Mitt Romney.
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