I'm still traveling, but here, for historical purposes, is the text of Michele Bachmann's announcement speech -- admirably heavy on reminders that she's the candidate who was born in Iowa and should have a claim on the state.
It's great to be in Iowa and evenbetter to be in Waterloo where I was born. It's fitting to be here at the Snowden House, the place that once served as the home of the WaterlooWomen's Club. I stand here today in front of many friends and family to formally announce my candidacy for President of the United States. I do sobecause I am grateful for the blessings God and this country have given to me, and not because of the position of the office, but because I amdetermined that every American deserves these blessings and that together we can once again strengthen America and restore the promise of the future. I want to bring a voice, your voice, to the White House, just as I have brought your voice to the halls of congress to secure the promise of thefuture for our generation and generations to come.
I often say that everything I needed to know I learned in Iowa. It was at Hawthorneand Valley Park Elementary Schools and my home, both a short distance from here, where those Iowan roots were firmly planted. It's those roots and myfaith in God that guide me today. I'm a descendent of generations Iowans. I know what it means to be from Iowa—what we value and what'simportant. Those are the values that helped make Iowa the breadbasket of the world and those are the values, the best of all of us that we mustrecapture to secure the promise of the future.
Waterloo was different five decades ago when I grew up here. That elementary schoolbuilding was a lot younger and for that matter so was I. Five decades ago when I went there to school the halls were teeming with young children who,like me, had dreams of their future. A future with promise and parents who wanted it to be filled with more opportunities than they had. Fivedecades ago America had less debt, in fact our national debt was less than 300 billion dollars. A gallon of gasoline was 31 cents, and owning a homewas part of living the American dream. Today our debt is over 14 trillion dollars, a gallon of gas is still outrageously high, millions of homes arein foreclosure, and those dreams are distant for many Americans.
Times have changed here in Waterloo, but the people still have the samespirit we Iowans have come to exemplify. We work hard, we live within our means and we expect to pass on a better life to our children. But ourgovernment keeps getting bigger making it tougher for us to pass on that life, causing our jobs to go overseas and spending more of the money we make,while we keep less of it.
Don't mistake my happy memories of growing up in Waterloo as pining for the past. I recognize it's impossibleto turn the clock back and go back to a different day. Instead, I want this moment to serve as a reminder about the best of who we are as a nation,what our values are, and what went in to making America great to capture its best for the promise of the future. I want my candidacy for thepresidency to stand for the moment when "we the people" reclaimed our independence from a government that has gotten too big, spends toomuch and has taken away too much of our liberty.
Americans have always confronted challenges. Ours is a history marked by struggles aswell as prosperity. My early days were difficult as they were for many Americans, especially during the time when my mother struggled to raise usafter divorce. But we made our own way. We depended on our neighbors and ourselves and not our government for help. We trusted in God and ourneighbors and not in Government. Americans still have that same spirit. But government keeps trying to erase it because government thinks it knowsbetter—that government can create jobs, and make a better life for all of us, even make us healthier! But that's NOT the case. We have torecapture our founders' vision of a constitutionally conservative government if we are to secure the promise of the future.
I'm alsohere because Waterloo laid the foundation for my own roots in politics. I never thought that I would end up in public life. I grew up here in Iowa. My grandparents are buried here. I remember how sad I was leaving Iowa to go to Minnesota in the sixth grade, because this part of Iowa was all Iknew—I remember telling my parents that we couldn't move to Minnesota because I hadn't even been to Des Moines to see the state capitol.
I grew up a democrat. My first involvement in politics was working for Jimmy Carter's election in 1976. But when I saw the directionPresident Carter took our country; how his big spending liberal majority grew government, weakened our standing in the world, and how they decreasedour liberties, I became a Republican. I remember standing in the kitchen of my grandma's house on Lafayette Street in Waterloo listening to my dad, aDemocrat debating the merits of the Great Society with my grandmother, a Republican. I remember her prophetic admonition to my father that the GreatSociety wouldn't work because it wouldn't be my father's generation who paid for it, but rather my brother, David and me. And now that prediction hascome true and neither my democrat father nor my republican grandmother would have condoned this spending and debt.
I hadn't planned ongetting into politics. I loved the law and went to law school. I went on to William and Mary to become a tax lawyer. Together with my husband westarted a successful small business.
When I saw the problems with our local school district and how academic excellence was beingeroded by federal government interference with the local schools, I decided to do more than just complain about it. One of those Iowa valuesinstilled in me was to always leave whatever you were involved with better than when you found it, so I decided to seek public office to make ourlocal school district better. I didn't seek public office for fortune or power, but simply to make life better in our community and education betterfor our children. And now I seek the presidency not for vanity, but because America is at a crucial moment and I believe that we must make a boldchoice if we are to secure the promise of the future.
We cannot continue to kick the can of our problems down the road, because theyare problems of today and not tomorrow.
- We cannot continue to rack up debt on the backs of future generations.
- We can't afford anunconstitutional health plan that costs too much and is worth so little.
- And we can't afford four more years of failed leadership at home andabroad.
- We can't afford four more years of millions of Americans out of work or in jobs that pay too little to support their families.
- We can't afford four more years of a housing crisis that is devaluing our homes and making home ownership impossible for many Americans.
- We can't afford four more years of a foreign policy that leads from behind and doesn't stand up for our friends and stand up to our enemies.
- We can't afford four more years of Barack Obama.
We've started another campaign season, almost when it seemed like the last onejust ended. Through all of the rancor of the campaign, let us always remember that there is much more that unites us than divides us. Our problemsdon't have an identity of party, they are problems created by both parties.
Americans agree that our country is in peril today and wemust act with urgency to save it. And Americans aren't interested in affiliation; they are interested in solutions, and leadership that will tell thetruth. And the truth is that Americans ARE the solution and not the government!
This election is about big issues, not petty ones. When all is said and done, we cannot be about big government as usual. Then America will lose.
In Washington I am bringing a voice tothe halls of congress that has been missing for a long time. It is the voice of the people I love and learned from growing up in Waterloo. It is thevoice of reasonable, fair-minded people who love this country, who are patriotic, and who see the United States as the indispensable nation of theworld.
My voice is part of a movement to take back our country, and now I want to take that voice to the White House. It is the voiceof constitutional conservatives who want our government to do its job and not ours and who want our government to live within its means and not ourchildren's and grandchildren's.
I am here in Waterloo, Iowa to announce today: We can win in 2012 and we will. Our voice has beengrowing louder and stronger. And it is made up of Americans from all walks of life like a three-legged stool. It's the peace through strengthRepublicans, and I'm one of them, it's fiscal conservatives, and I'm one of them, and it's social conservatives, and I'm one of them. It's the TeaParty movement and I'm one of them.
The liberals, and to be clear I'm NOT one of them, want you to think the Tea Party is the Right Wingof the Republican Party. But it's not. It's made up of disaffected Democrats, independents, people who've never been political a day in their life,libertarians, Republicans. We're people who simply want America back on the right track again.
We're practical people who want thecountry to work again. This is a powerful coalition the left fears, and they should because, Make no mistake about it, President Obama is a one-termpresident!
In February 2009 President Obama was very confident that his economic policies would turn the country around within a year. He said, "A year from now, I think people are going to see that we're starting to make some progress. If I don't have this done in three years,then there's going to be a one-term proposition." Well Mr. President, your policies haven't worked. Spending our way out of this recessionhasn't worked. And so Mr. President We Take You at Your Word!
Waterloo holds a special place for me, but also holds a special place forour country. You sent and still do send your sons and daughters off to fight for America and to protect the freedoms that allow us to gather heretoday. I honor my dad who served in the United States Air Force. I honor my step dad who served in the United States Army. And I honor mystepbrother who retired full United States Navy. We will never forget those sacrifices; it is part of our past we must remember to secure the promiseof the future. It is those values that make our country unique and make us the most powerful force for good on this planet. I believe the UnitedStates of America is THE indispensible nation. It is that spirit that separates us from those who would give their own life for others from those whosacrifice others, like terrorists who use little children as human shields.
Perhaps the valor of our American fighting heroes was nevercaptured better than in the sacrifice made by the Sullivan brothers from right here in Waterloo. The Sullivan family was much like other families inAmerica during the depression. They were fortunate to get by. Most of the family worked here in Waterloo at the local meat packing plant. When aclose friend of the family died at Pearl Harbor, the five Sullivan brothers enlisted in the Navy, but under the condition that they be allowed toserve together. One of the brothers wrote, "We will make a team together that can't be beat." Born and raised here in Waterloo, the fiveSullivan brothers had always stuck together. However, one fateful morning after a long night of intense battle, a Japanese torpedo struck the USSJuneau, the ship on which they served killing most of the crew and launching the rest into the water. The oldest of the Sullivans, George, searchedtirelessly for his brothers, but they were not to be found. He had survived the attack, but later perished at sea. All but 10 of the 697 brave menof the Juneau, gave their lives for their country. In spite of the intense pain of losing their five sons all at once, the parents of the Sullivansbecame an inspiration to America speaking to millions on behalf of the war effort. To honor the Sullivans two ships were named for them. The mottoof the last ship—We Stick Together!
Theirs was a demonstration of the Holy Scriptures that says: "Greater love hath noman than this, but that he lay down his life for his friend."
That is the kind of love we Americans have for our country. WeAmericans stick together. We triumph together. In the words of Daniel Webster, we are, "One cause, one country, one heart." That is thekind of commitment it will take to face the great challenges of today. The people of this great country have that level of courage and they arelonging for a President who will listen to them, who will lead from the front, and not from behind.
I'm Michele Bachmann and I'mrunning for President of the United States.
Together, we can do this. Together we can reign in all the corruption and waste that hasbecome Washington and instead leave a better America for future generations.
Together we can make a team that can't be beat!
Together we can secure the promise of the future.
Together we can - and together we will!
God bless you and God blessthe United States of America!