President Obama and Governor Romney are both loving husbands and devoted fathers. But they bring vastly different values and visions to the job. Tonight I’d like to focus on two crises--that show the character of the leadership each man will bring to the job. The first is the rescue of the automobile industry.
Let me tell you about how Barack saved more than 1 million American jobs. In our first days in office, General Motors and Chrysler were on the verge of liquidation. If the President didn’t act immediately, there wouldn’t be an industry left to save.
We listened to Senators, Congressmen, outside advisors, even some of our own advisors say--we shouldn’t step in, the risks were too high, the outcome too uncertain. The President patiently listened. But he didn’t see it their way. He understood something they didn’t. He understood that this wasn’t just about cars. It was about the Americans who built those cars and the America they built.
In those meetings, I often thought about my dad. My dad was an automobile man. He would have been one of those guys—all the way down the line—not in the factory—not along the supply chain—but one of those guys selling American cars to the American people. I thought about what this crisis would have meant for the mechanics, the secretaries, the sales people who he managed. And I know for certain, that if my dad were here today, he would be fighting for this President, who fought to save all those jobs, his job, and the jobs of all the people he cared about. He would respect Barack Obama for having the guts to stand up for the automobile industry, when others walked away.
When I look back now on the President’s decision, I also think of another son of an automobile man--Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney grew up in Detroit. His father ran American Motors. Yet he was willing to let Detroit go bankrupt. It’s not that he’s a bad guy. I’m sure he grew up loving cars as much as I did. I just don’t think he understood—I just don’t think he understood what saving the automobile industry meant-to all of America. I think he saw it the Bain way. Balance sheets. Write-offs.
Folks, the Bain way may bring your firm the highest profit. But it’s not the way to lead your country from its highest office.
When things hung in the balance, the President understood it was about a lot more than the automobile industry. It was about restoring America’s pride. He knew what it would mean to leave 1 million people without hope or work if we didn’t act. He knew the message it would have sent to the rest of the world if the United States of America gave up on the industry that helped put America on the map. Conviction. Resolve.
Barack Obama. This President has shown that same resolve, that same steady hand, in his role as Commander in Chief. Which brings me to the second crisis.
In 2008, Barack Obama made a promise to the American people. He said, “If we have Osama bin Laden in our sights, we will take him out. That has to be our biggest national security priority.” Barack understood that the search for bin Laden was about a lot more than taking a monstrous leader off the battlefield. It was about righting an unspeakable wrong, healing a nearly unbearable wound in America’s heart. He also knew the message we had to send to terrorists around the world—if you attack innocent Americans, we will follow you to the ends of the earth. Most of all, the President had faith in our special forces--the finest warriors the world has ever known.
We sat for days in the Situation Room. He listened to the risks and reservations about the raid. And he asked the tough questions. But when Admiral McRaven looked him in the eye and said-- “Sir, we can get this done,” I knew at that moment Barack had made his decision. His response was decisive. He said do it. And justice was done.
But Governor Romney didn’t see things that way. When he was asked about bin Laden in 2007, he said, and I quote, “it’s not worth moving heaven and earth, and spending billions of dollars, just trying to catch one person.”
He was wrong. If you understood that America’s heart had to be healed, you would have done exactly what the President did. And you too would have moved heaven and earth--to hunt down bin Laden, and bring him to justice.
Four years ago, when my mom was still with us, sitting in the stadium in Denver, I quoted one of her favorite expressions. She used to say, Joey, bravery resides in every heart, and the time will come, when it must be summoned.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m here to tell you, bravery resides in the heart of Barack Obama. And time and time again, I witnessed him summon it. This man has courage in his soul, compassion in his heart, and steel in his spine. And because of all the actions he took, because of the calls he made--and because of the grit and determination of American workers--and the unparalled bravery of our special forces--we can now proudly say—