On Saturday, Mitt Romney will deliver the commencement address at Liberty University, the evangelical Christian school founded by the late televangelist Jerry Falwell.
Liberty has been a frequent setting for Republican presidential hopefuls looking to shore up their credentials with Christian conservatives. John McCain addressed the graduates there in 2006.
While Romney's appearance has been interpreted as an overt appeal to social conservatives, it's still unclear if the presumptive Republican nominee will use the speech to address concerns about his Mormon faith or emphasize his stance on social issues, like his opposition to same sex marriage.
In excerpts released by the Romney campaign Friday, the candidate appears to be sticking to two familiar themes from his usual stump speech, emphasizing his family life and slamming President Obama's handling of the country--although he doesn't appear to mention the president by name.
You can read the excerpts after the jump.
I'm not sure quite why, but lately I've found myself thinking about life in four-year stretches. And let's just say that not everybody has filled these past four years with as much achievement as you have.
That's a theme for another day, except for this reminder to you and other graduates across our country: Although opportunities seem scarce in this economy, it is not for nothing that you have spent this time preparing. America needs your talent and your energy, all the more now that our country's in a tough spot. For you and so many young Americans, our current troubles can be discouraging. You are ready for jobs that were supposed to be ready for you. Millions wait on the day when there are jobs for everyone willing to work, and opportunities to match your hopes and your goals. But don't lose heart, because that day is coming.
In the most practical, everyday terms, the best cultural assets are values as basic as personal responsibility, the dignity of hard work, and, above all, the commitments of family. Take those away, or take them for granted, and so many things can go wrong in a life. Keep them strong, and so many things will go right.
According to his campaign, Romney will also say:
In this life, of course, the commitments that come closest to forever are those of family. Maybe you've heard that Ann and I have a pretty large family, and I'm sure glad I like having grandchildren because every time I turn around there's more of them. Two more arrived last week, twin boys David and William, which brings us to eighteen grandchildren we have welcomed into the world.
Their great-grandfather, my Dad George Romney, was successful by any measure you'd care to apply. I asked him once, "What was your greatest accomplishment?" Without a moment's pause, his answer was, "Raising you four kids." I had his example to follow, and I have never once regretted missing any experience or opportunity in business in order to be with my wife and five sons. Regrets usually come the other way around, from missing moments with your children that don't come again. The same holds true for time with your parents as the years fall away. Among the things in life that can be put off, being there when it matters most isn't one of them.
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