Mitt Romney Returns at CPAC 2013

Former presidential candidate addresses Conservative Political Action Conference.
3:00 | 03/15/13

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Transcript for Mitt Romney Returns at CPAC 2013
-- -- -- What -- -- you are. What I what a privilege to be here with you again how much I appreciate your -- support and your help. Thank you -- governor Nikki Haley for her. Wonderful introduction she's a woman of uncommon courage and conviction. And her principles guide her governance we need more governors like Nikki Haley. And thank you for your support from the very beginning. You where you were there from the very start -- made a difference for me your campaign gave me that early boost you worked on the front lines promoting my campaign you made. Calls I hope to each of you and appreciate your support and help to that campaign. With. With a help with so many -- -- I had the honor of becoming the nominee of our party for the presidency the United States. I was given the. I was given the great privilege of experience in America in a way that and and I had never anticipated we would get to do. Our fellow citizens opened up their hearts and their homes to us. Course -- left the race disappointed that I didn't win but. But I also left honored. Humbled to have represented the values we believe -- and to speak for so many good and and decent people. We've lost -- before in the past. But those setbacks prepares for larger victories. It's up to us to make sure that we learn from our mistakes and my mistakes and that we take advantage of that learning to make sure that we take. Back the nation take back the White House get the senate and put in place conservative principles. It's fashionable in some circles to. -- pessimistic about American. About conservative solutions about the Republican Party. I -- utterly reject pessimism. We have. We may not have carried out November 7 but we have across the country we love and we have not lost our way. Our nation is full of aspirations and hungry for new solutions. We're a nation of invention. And reinventing. My optimism about America wasn't diminished by my campaign in fact it grew. It grew as I saw the people of America. And heard their stories. I've seen that American determination and people like Debbie Somers of Las Vegas she runs a furniture. Rental business for conventions there when 9/11 hit. And when the recession hit. Why that attacked her convention business but she didn't give up. To close down the business didn't layout for people instead she taught her people how to make furniture and -- business thrives I've seen. -- -- -- Harold Hamm drove a truck for ten years. So we can afford to go to college he -- majored in geology he was studies and geological surveys concluded there must -- oil the North Dakota. Let the North Dakota and and drill the well dry -- Told the cost two million dollars to -- -- not to drive home he drilled sixteen more they called that heralds folly up there to the seventy. The -- -- he discovered as estimated by some to have as many as seven -- -- as 500. Billion. Barrels of oil. I've seen -- taking. The -- Us and mounting losses convince the international paper corporation that they needed to shut down their mills and possible -- New Hampshire. Into the breach stepped Jim Smith and Kim -- the plant manager and sales manager. -- -- and invested everything they could find to buy the business. They save their jobs in the jobs at thirty other of their colleagues and they grew sales now from five million a year to fifty million a year. I -- people of great faith. Had the honor of being in the home of Billy Graham and the residents of cardinal Dolan and prayed with these men of god. I met heroes. In our armed forces. Men and women who resigning with the National Guard after multiple tumors of duty in Afghanistan knowing that -- they -- signed in all likelihood they would be yet another tour. In the future. I -- heroes in the homes. Of the nation. Single moms or working two jobs -- their kids could have the same katic kids other kids at school have. Dads who don't know what a weekend is because it taken on so many jobs to make sure they can keep the house. -- patriotic people. The heart of America. Is good. Our land is blessed by the hand of god. May we as a people. Always be worthy of his grace and his protection. Like you I I believe that a conservative vision it can attract the majority of Americans. And form a governing coalition of renewable. And reform. Now as someone who just lost the last election I'm probably not in the best position to chart the course -- excellent. But that -- said. Let me offer this advice. And perhaps because of my former governor. I would urge us all to learn lessons that come from some our greatest success stories. And that's thirty Republican governors across the country. That they're winning elections. But more importantly they're solving problems big problems important problems. Governor Nathan Deal -- and in Georgia secured a constitutional amendment to make sure they can -- charter schools. Governor Rick Snyder. Got a place right to -- legislation in Michigan. A number of these Republican governors were able to secure tort reform and a whole horde of Republican governors. It inherited budgets that were badly out of balance and have. Replaced deficits with surpluses. Like this think these. These governors have shown. That they're able to reach across the I'll offer innovative solutions. And then -- will -- take the heat that you have to take -- -- important things. What we need the leadership. And the ideas and the vision of these governors. We particularly need all the way to hear from the governors from the blue and purple states because those of this case we're gonna have to win to be able to get back. People like. Bob -- Scott Walker John -- Susanna Martinez Chris Christie Bryant fan -- on the eve of the people we gotta listen to make sure their messages. Now we can also learn from the examples of principal and passion and leadership we've seen during these last few weeks here in Washington DC by a Republican leaders. I may -- a little biased. But I applaud the clear and convincing voice of my friend Paul Ryan. Half hour to. Offer advice to any person. Who was -- became the president of the United States it would be this. Do what -- you can. To keep America strong. To keep America prosperous. And free and the most powerful nation are. It's no secret the last century it was an American century. And it's no secret that over the span of the coming century. That is not written in the stars. America's preeminent position does not guarantee. And the consequence. If America were to become surpassed by another nation. Would be devastating -- I say that it's because the other leading contenders. For world leadership China Russia at the jihadist. Not one of them except freedom. As we understand it. All only America -- American strike to preserve freedom. -- -- -- An American leadership depends on the military so strong so superior that no one would think to engage it. And -- military strike the Pentagon economy so strong. That it could support that kind of a military. At our economy depends on of people that are so strong so educated. So -- So -- hard working so invented. So focused on providing a better future for their children. That the rest of the world looks at America with admiration and respect. That's the America we grew up in. And that's the America our children deserve. About America. Just think about America what nation. But ours. Would've enjoyed it hegemonic military power for 25 years and never used it to seek revenge against its foes. Or deceased -- a precious natural resources. From the week. What nation has the most Philanthropic and the world the first to bind up the wounds. Of the injured from hurricanes and tsunamis and war. What nation as the largest contributor to the fight and Africa against states. Who came to the rescue of Europe. -- -- faced its darkest hour. And came to the rescue of others under the threat of tyranny. And career. Vietnam. Panama. Bosnia. Kuwait. Afghanistan. Iraq whatever you think -- these whatever you think of these interventions whatever. The impulse behind every single one of them was liberation. Not conquests. In all of human history. There's never been a great power. That is so often used that power. To liberate others. To free the captives. This we must teach our children and we must ourselves never forget. I'm inspired by a nation with people who live for something bigger than himself. To school their family their community their faith. The country. I marvel at the press yes. And the brilliance. And the sacrifices. Made by the founders. I'm proud of -- immigrant heritage. Proud that so many of us and of our ancestors came here because we wanted to be here. Because they wanted to raise their families here and have a better future because they wanted to worship their god here. According to the dictates of their own conscience. And I was at a campaign stop in San Antonio Texas I met a guy named see shots. C shot that came here in 1976 to escape the killing fields of Cambodia. His first job was picking fruit. That it was a cab driver New York City. 1976. I believe he a little later than that he joined the campaign of George Herbert Walker Bush -- a volunteer. Thirteen years after coming to this country. He was given a job to work in the White House than the State Department and that he was appointed as -- United States ambassador to the United Nations. He said that whenever he stood to speak. In behalf of this great country he would ask himself in one other country in the world. -- today impoverished Cambodian refugee. Become its ambassador. To the United Nations. This. This nation began with an idea. A noble one. The idea was that every person is endowed by their creator with on -- civil rights. Freedom. Flows. In American -- -- invigorate our enterprises. It inspires us to live beyond ourselves. It calls us to care for the suffering. And -- -- It is made us a great nation. The -- history and -- -- again. The country is imperiled by mounting debt. By failing institutions. By family stressed beyond the limits. By schools failing to make the grade. And by public servants who are more intent on. Scoring political points -- they are on national victories. Each of us in our own way is gonna have to step up and meet our responsibility. I'm sorry I will be here president but I will be your coworker and I'll work shoulder to shoulder alongside -- -- -- In the end. -- can't go ahead well -- for the same reason we've won before. Because our cause is just and it is right. Look I. I want to thank you again. For your support -- your help along the journey. And I are gonna treasure the memories we've had to auto -- God bless you. God bless this great nation we love you thank you -- very --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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