On Friday morning, Aug. 31, after the convention was over, amidst all the confetti on the floor of the Tampa Bay Times Forum, Convention Daily came across excerpts from Mitt Romney’s Thursday-night acceptance speech that were rejected by advisers because they were deemed too risky. By virtue of a time warp, these documents, heretofore known as “The Mittens Papers,” are printed here.
Now that I’ve praised America, the troops, freedom, family, and liberty and gratefully accepted your nomination, let’s get a few things on the table: Yes, I grew up rich. My dad ran a car company, for gosh sakes, and was governor in Michigan, where, if you haven’t heard, cars are kind of big—plus, I’m handsome, so that made me basically the coolest guy at my prep school.
So I’m really lucky in the way that Presidents Bush and Kennedy were. I had money and an awesome jawline. But Dad couldn’t take my law school exams for me, and he didn’t build Bain Capital for me either.
What is Bain Capital? It’s a private-equity firm, which is a fancy way of saying we got money from investors to buy companies and try to fix them. Who are the investors? I haven’t talked about this much because it would have been awkward in the primaries, but a lot of it comes from union pension funds—no boos, please—that want a good financial return for their members. So I’m not antiunion, and unions shouldn’t be anti-private-equity.
Bain helped build businesses—Staples, the office-supply company, for one. A lot of times, though, we laid people off. Sometimes, we dismantled a company, when the tax code encouraged that. Those aren’t my proudest moments, but I can’t keep every job from going offshore. I don’t think we can even try. But I want to keep the best-paying ones here, and I think I know how. You want to design a secure safe? Hire a safecracker.
Aside from being a voracious capitalist, being a Mormon is an essential part of who I am, just like being African-American helps define Barack Obama or being cocky helps make George W. Bush. (I kid. I kid.) You can raise an eyebrow at a tenet of anyone’s religion—say, the Immaculate Conception or wearing a yarmulke—but that’s why they call it faith. You believe in things other people think are, well, odd. I can only say that my faith made me a better man who tithes and puts his family first.
I’ll tell you a story. You’ve probably seen Mormon missionaries or at least the play The Book of Mormon. I nearly died in France in a car accident when I was there in the late ’60s spreading the Word. If I believe enough in my faith to try to convert the cigarette-smoking, wine-loving French, you should know I’m not kidding. I love my church.
Look, President Obama is a good man, born in America. No boos! No boos! But even if he’s a fellow Harvard smarty-pants, I think he’s in over his head. He’s done some good things, including taking a risk to get Osama bin Laden, and we should applaud that. But I don’t think his stimulus plan worked. I don’t think he’s done much to restrain entitlement growth. And I don’t like the idea of raising taxes on anyone right now—including rich people like him and me.
His health care plan is a lot like the one I passed in Massachusetts—in some ways, but not in others. Both have a mandate that everyone has to buy health insurance. But Obama’s plan includes a lot of regulations that mine doesn’t. Republicans who call “Obamacare” a socialist takeover are exaggerating. It’s not. But so are Democrats who say it’s the same as my plan. It’s not.
Oh, and putting the dog on the car roof? The truth is, I lied when I said he liked it. He didn’t. The good news is, even if I wanted to do it again, the Secret Service wouldn’t let me.”
This article appears in the August 30, 2012, edition of NJ Convention Daily.