The following is a copy of a speech, as prepared for delivery by The Honorable Brian Schweitzer, Governor of Montana, at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, September 6, 2012.
Settle down! We've got work to do! I know Mitt Romney. We were governors at the same time. Both elected straight from the business world. We've travelled together, to Iraq and Afghanistan. Spend a week in a war zone with a guy and you really get to know him. We've traded stories about our early years—his as a missionary in France, mine as a soil scientist in Libya and Saudi Arabia. We've talked about family and religion, business and energy, war and peace, the future of America.
And I'll tell you this: Mitt's a good family man and a loyal American. But—and you knew there was a "but"—he brought the wrong agenda to Massachusetts. And he is the wrong guy to be president of the United States. Governor Mitt Romney saddled Massachusetts taxpayers with an additional $2.6 billion in debt, and left 'em with the most debt per capita of any state in America.
In Montana, that dog don't hunt. Governor Mitt Romney cut higher education by 14 percent in his first year, which meant the cost of college skyrocketed for students in Massachusetts. Guess that's okay if you can afford it, but for the rest of us, that dog don't hunt.
Governor Mitt Romney raised taxes and fees by $750 million per year. I'll let you in on a little secret: when a politician doesn't want to be honest about a tax hike, he calls it a fee. Mitt raised taxes—uh, fees—on driver's licenses, on school bus rides, on mental health services and even on milk. And here's the one that got a burr under my saddle: he quadrupled the fee for a gun license! Maybe that's okay for a guy who hunts "varmints." But for the rest of us, that dog don't hunt.
Mitt, you can't Etch-A-Sketch away your record. Taxes: up. Cost of college: up. Debt: up. New business starts: down. Manufacturing: down. Median household income: down. Economic growth: down. If private equity Mitt Romney met Governor Mitt Romney, he'd do what he says he likes to do. He'd fire 'um, and outsource the job!
Let me tell you how we get 'er done in Montana. We've had record budget surpluses every year I've been governor, averaging over $400 million in surplus even during the great recession. We've invested more new money for education than ever before, frozen tuition at our colleges for the longest period ever, and get this: we increased the percentage of adults with college degrees faster than any other state. We cut more taxes, for more people, than any governor in Montana history and our bond rating was upgraded. Montana is moving in the right direction. So is America.
When President Obama took office, the economy was in free fall, losing more than 800,000 jobs a month. Since then, he's helped create 4.5 million private sector jobs, 29 straight months of job growth.
Stock market has doubled. Energy production is up. Imports from foreign countries are down. The number of rigs drilling for oil in the United States has more than quadrupled. Manufacturing jobs are coming back, not just because we're producing a record amount of natural gas that's lowering electricity prices, but because we have the best-trained, hardest-working labor force in the history of the world.
We are demanding more from our schools, but we're backing up that demand by investing more in teachers, increasing financial aid and doubling funding for Pell Grants. While he was doing all that, President Obama cut our taxes. He cut taxes 18 times for small businesses. He cut taxes by $3,600 for the typical middle-class family. Now that dog does hunt.
Governor Romney said that finding Osama bin Laden was "not worth moving heaven and earth." Tonight, bin Laden isn't on earth, and he sure isn't in heaven. Thanks to the courage of American Special Forces and the bold leadership of our president, Osama bin Laden is at the bottom of the ocean.
All four of my grandparents were immigrants. They homesteaded the Montana prairie with nothing but the clothes on their backs, faith in God, and hope in their hearts that their kids and grandkids would have a better future. They delivered on that hope. And so has President Obama. Now it's our turn to deliver, not just for the president, but for our kids, and our grandkids.
This election is about their education, their jobs, their health care, their freedom, their dignity, their hope and their futures. Are we going to deliver? Are we going to keep America moving forward? Are we gonna hire the right guy to finish the job for four more years?
How many years?
You got it! Let's get to work America... God bless you and God bless the United States of America!