Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said that America’s backbone of family, community and faith will be reinforced by initiatives to boost the economy and ease unemployment.
“My promise is to help you and your family,” the former Massachusetts governor said as he formally accepted his party’s nomination for president.
Romney’s Aug. 30 address concluded the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. His speech dealt largely with the poor economy and high national rates of unemployment, while also touching on the importance of families and local communities, as well as his Mormon faith.
Americans are not better off now than they were when President Obama took office, Romney argued, pointing to high levels of poverty and unemployment as an indication that the president’s policies have been unsuccessful.
He criticized Obama for turning to government as the solution to the nation’s problems, such as the current job crisis, saying that “the bedrock of what makes America” is not found in government but in families, local communities and faith.
“The strength and power and goodness of America has always been based on the strength and power and goodness of our communities, our families, our faiths,” he said.
Romney's speech was preceded by comments from several individuals who knew him during his time as an unpaid lay pastor for his Mormon church. They recalled how he donated up to 20 hours of his time per week to help out with volunteer projects and aid those in the community struggling with unemployment, illness and family problems.
One couple described how Romney regularly visited their 14-year-old son in the hospital after he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. Romney cheered the boy up by buying him fireworks and ultimately helped him write his will, touching his life so profoundly that the boy requested that he deliver the eulogy at his funeral.
Reflecting on his own life, Romney recounted how his church community greeted him when he moved to a new city and how he later found joy in welcoming and helping out other members who were in need.
He also stressed the importance of family as he described the love that he experienced from his parents growing up and the love that he now shares with his wife and five sons.
“All the laws and legislation in the world will never heal this world like the loving hearts and arms of mothers and fathers,” he said.
Romney also touched on religious liberty – which has become a key issue in the presidential campaign – by saying that the freedom of religion helps make up “the essence of the American experience.”
“As president, I will protect the sanctity of life. I will honor the institution of marriage. And I will guarantee America's first liberty: the freedom of religion,” he said.
The GOP candidate also defended his business success -- explaining that it had given him valuable experience -- and touted his support for women on his staff as governor and in business.
He said that he would begin his presidency with “a jobs tour” and vowed that he would not raise taxes on the middle class. He also called for president’s health care overhaul, the Affordable Care Act, to be repealed and replaced.
Focusing on the national problem of unemployment, Romney presented a five-point plan to create 12 million new jobs.
The Romney plan involves energy independence by 2020, greater school choice to give children the skills they need for available jobs, building and enforcing new trade agreements, cutting the deficit and moving towards a balance budget, and promoting job growth through small businesses by reducing taxes on them and modernizing regulations.
Romney capped off his speech by highlighting the American potential for achievement and pledging to work with all his “energy and soul” to restore America as a nation and build “a better future.”