There were so many great speeches and moments at the convention last night that we couldn’t get to them all. One of the speakers will be no stranger to grassroots activists in conservative circles… Ted Cruz, the man who will almost certainly be the next Senator from Texas. But for all the fame and following that Cruz earned over the last two years among conservative activists, for the rest of the country who don’t obsess over politics 24/7 they may have gotten their first chance to take the measure of the man. And without a doubt Ted Cruz seized the opportunity and delivered.
The video and transcript follow, but Cruz really captured the crowd, taking the opportunity to tell the story of what’s best about America. And interwoven with that, he shared his own story and that of his family as well. He told tales of his father’s escape from Cuba and working his way up from being poorer than dirt to being a success in business. He spoke of the lessons he learned from that story and how it shaped his own life, just as it did for so many other Americans.
And Cruz was well rewarded for his efforts. He pretty much brought the house down. If any voters across the country were getting their first look at Cruz yesterday, they got an eyeful. And it was probably hard to come away from it unimpressed.
Good evening. I have the honor of standing before you this evening for one reason, because thousands upon thousands of grassroots activists stood united, not for a candidate, but for the sake of restoring liberty. Accountability, quite rightly, rests firmly in the hands of “We the People.”
Since 2010, something extraordinary has been happening, something that has dumbfounded the chattering class.
It began here in Florida in 2010. In Utah, Kentucky, Pennsylvania.
Was repeated this summer in Indiana. Nebraska. Wisconsin.
And this past month, in the Lone Star State, Texas.
What is happening all across America is a Great Awakening.
A response to career politicians in both parties who’ve gotten us into this mess.
This national movement is fueled by what unites us: a love of liberty, a belief in the unlimited potential of free men and women.
I want to tell you a love story. It’s the story of all of us, a love story of freedom.
It’s the story of our Founding Fathers, who fought and bled for freedom and then crafted the most miraculous political document ever conceived, our Constitution. The Framers understood that our rights come, not from monarchs, but from God-and that those rights are secure only when government power is restrained.
This love story is the story of the brave Texans in the City of Gonzales. When General Santa Anna demanded that they give up their guns and the cannon that guarded the city, they responded with the immortal cry “Come and take it.”
It’s the story of the greatest generation of Americans, who rose up to confront the grotesque evil that was the Nazis, and ushered in the greatest era of peace and prosperity the world has ever seen.
It’s the story of civil-rights heroes, like Dr. Martin Luther King, who stood strong against the scourge of discrimination, and bravely championed that every man and woman should be judged, not by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character.
It’s the story of President Ronald Reagan, who turned back the creeping growth of government and restored Morning in America. Who spoke out against the oppressive evil of communism and demanded “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”
It’s the story of my Mom. Irish and Italian, working class, the first in her family to go to college – a pioneering mathematician and computer programmer in the 1950s.
It’s the story of my Dad, who was imprisoned and tortured in Cuba, beaten nearly to death. He fled to Texas in 1957, not speaking English, with $100 sewn into his underwear. He washed dishes making 50 cents an hour to pay his way through the University of Texas, and to start a small business in the oil and gas industry.
My father is here tonight. When he came to America, él no tenía nada, pero tenía corazón. He had nothing, but he had heart. A heart for freedom. Thank you, Dad.
It’s the story of each and every one of you. We are all sons and daughters of those who risked everything for freedom, and we have the duty to pass that same opportunity to the generations to follow.
And yet today, many in Washington seem content to saddle our children with a financial debt larger than our nation has ever seen.
Government is out of control, and we’re going broke.
But I’m here with a word of encouragement. Millions of Americans are standing up, saying we want our country back. Republicans, Democrats, and independents. We will not follow the path of Greece; we will not go quietly into the night.
This election presents a stark choice. Two visions: we can continue down the road of the Obama Democrats, towards more and more spending, debt and government control of the economy and our lives. Or we can return to the founding principles of our nation-free markets, fiscal responsibility, and individual liberty.
Unfortunately, President Obama’s campaign is going to try to divide America. They’re going to try to separate us into little groups, and try to scare everybody. They’re going to tell seniors that Medicare will be taken away, tell Hispanics that we’re not welcome here and send the Vice President to preach a message of division.
It’s sad, how far we’ve come from hope and change.
All of this is designed to distract from the real issues that matter. Twenty-three million Americans struggling for work. Sixteen trillion dollars in national debt. Government takeovers of healthcare, of financial services and many aspects of our economy.
Imagine, for a moment, if someone surreptitiously charged hundreds of thousands of dollars on your credit cards, saddling your kids with debts they could never escape.
That’s exactly the impact of this administration’s misguided policies. Heidi and I are blessed with two little girls, Caroline and Catherine, 4 and 1. When Caroline was born, our national debt was $10 trillion. Today, as the debt clock shows, it’s $16 trillion, larger than our gross domestic product.
How do we turn things around? How do we get America back to work? President Obama thinks the answer is more and more government.
Government is not the answer. You are not doing anyone a favor by creating dependency, destroying individual responsibility.
Fifty-five years ago, when my dad was a penniless teenage immigrant, thank God some well-meaning bureaucrat didn’t put his arm around him and say let me take care of you. Let me give you a government check and make you dependent on government. And by the way, don’t bother learning English. That would have been the most destructive thing anyone could have done.
Instead, my parents worked together to start a small business, to provide for their family and to chart their own future. That’s the American dream, and Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan understand that.
Under President Obama, 23 million Americans are struggling for work. Hispanic unemployment has risen to over 10 percent; African-American unemployment is over 14 percent. This is tragic.
And here I want to say something especially to the Democrats who are listening tonight. You can send a wake-up message to your party-the party that was once proud to be the party of working people. Obama’s policies have failed.
Jobs don’t come from government; they come from entrepreneurs and small businesses. Two thirds of all new jobs come from small business, and 2.3 million Hispanics own small businesses and yet this Administration has imposed higher taxes and crushing regulations on small businesses across our nation.
To restore America, to get Americans back to work, we must rein in the leviathan. We must stop spending money we don’t have and turn around our crushing debt.
Each of you comprises the fabric of our nation. Together, we must revive our many-century love story with liberty and restore that shining City on a Hill that is America.
I’d like to close with asking you a few questions, with apologies to Barack Obama.
Can we restore the Constitution?
Yes we can.
Can we retake the U.S. Senate?
Can we repeal ObamaCare?
And can we defeat President Barack Obama?
That, my friends, is change we can believe in.
Thank you, and God bless America.