San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

DNC: The other speeches

Four ways of looking at the choice voters face in November


Alex Halperin
September 5, 2012 3:58PM (UTC)

Day one of the Democratic National Convention showcased hopeful and unapologetic defenses of government's role in job creation, building a more equitable society and protecting the rights of women. The combination might be called Obamaism. By contrast, descriptions of Mitt Romney ranged from out-of-touch rich guy to greedy, scheming cipher. These four videos, paired with highlights from their prepared remarks, capture the tone.

Ted Strickland, former governor of Ohio

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Now, Mitt Romney, he lives by a different code. To him, American workers are just numbers on a spreadsheet.

To him, all profits are created equal, whether made on our shores or off. That's why companies Romney invested in were dubbed "outsourcing pioneers." Our nation was built by pioneers—pioneers who accepted untold risks in pursuit of freedom, not by pioneers seeking offshore profits at the expense of American workers here at home.

Mitt Romney proudly wrote an op-ed entitled, "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt." If he had had his way, devastation would have cascaded from Michigan to Ohio and across the nation. Mitt Romney never saw the point of building something when he could profit from tearing it down. If Mitt was Santa Claus, he'd fire the reindeer and outsource the elves.

Mitt Romney has so little economic patriotism that even his money needs a passport. It summers on the beaches of the Cayman Islands and winters on the slopes of the Swiss Alps. In Matthew, chapter 6, verse 21, the scriptures teach us that where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. My friends, any man who aspires to be our president should keep both his treasure and his heart in the United States of America. And it's well past time for Mitt Romney to come clean with the American people.

On what he's saying about the president's policy for welfare to work, he's lying. Simple as that. On his tax returns, he's hiding. You have to wonder, just what is so embarrassing that he's gone to such great lengths to bury the truth? Whatever he's doing to avoid taxes, can it possibly be worse than the Romney-Ryan tax plan that would have sliced Mitt's total tax rate to less than one percent?

My friends, there is a true choice in this election. Barack Obama is betting on the American worker. Mitt Romney is betting on a Bermuda shell corporation. Barack Obama saved the American auto industry. Mitt Romney saved on his taxes. Barack Obama is an economic patriot. Mitt Romney is an outsourcing pioneer. My friends, the stakes are too high, the differences too stark to sit this one out. Let us stand as one on November 6th and move this country forward by re-electing President Barack Obama.

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Nancy Keenan, president, NARAL Pro-Choice America

I am proud to say that the Democratic Party believes that women have the right to choose a safe, legal abortion with dignity and privacy.

We believe in funding family planning because it helps to prevent unintended pregnancy. We believe that a woman considering an abortion should not be forced to have an ultrasound against her will. We believe that rape is rape. We believe that a woman should make health care decisions with her family, her doctor, and her God. And we believe that there's no place in that room for politicians—especially politicians who don't know how women's bodies work.

We are proud to have a president who stands with women; a president who signed into law one of the greatest advancements for women's health in a generation; a president who believes in a woman's right to make her own decisions. I know this president. And I can tell you that he cares deeply about the next generation of young women in this country—his daughters, and everyone's daughters. President Obama had the courage to stand with Sandra Fluke. Without hesitation, he defended her right to tell her story. Mitt Romney did not.

That moment illustrates what is at stake in this election. Put simply, women in America cannot trust Mitt Romney. We cannot trust Mitt Romney to protect our health. He would repeal Obamacare, taking away our access to better maternity and prenatal care, and the law's near universal coverage of birth control. And we cannot trust Mitt Romney to respect our rights.

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He would overturn Roe v. Wade and sign into law a wave of outrageous restrictions on a woman's ability to make decisions about her pregnancy. Mitt Romney would take away our power to make decisions about our lives and our futures. But there's one decision he cannot take away—and that's the one women will make on November 6.

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro

Twenty years ago, Joaquin and I left home for college and then for law school. In those classrooms, we met some of the brightest folks in the world. But at the end of our days there, I couldn’t help but to think back to my classmates at Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio. They had the same talent, the same brains, the same dreams as the folks we sat with at Stanford and Harvard. I realized the difference wasn’t one of intelligence or drive. The difference was opportunity.

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In my city of San Antonio, we get that. So we’re working to ensure that more four-year-olds have access to pre-K. We opened Cafe College, where students get help with everything from test prep to financial aid paperwork. We know that you can’t be pro-business unless you’re pro-education. We know that pre-K and student loans aren’t charity. They’re a smart investment in a workforce that can fill and create the jobs of tomorrow. We’re investing in our young minds today to be competitive in the global economy tomorrow.

And it’s paying off. Last year the Milken Institute ranked San Antonio as the nation’s top performing local economy. And we’re only getting started. Opportunity today, prosperity tomorrow.

Now, like many of you, I watched last week’s Republican convention. They told a few stories of individual success. We all celebrate individual success. But the question is, how do we multiply that success? The answer is President Barack Obama.

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Mitt Romney, quite simply, doesn’t get it. A few months ago he visited a university in Ohio and gave the students there a little entrepreneurial advice. “Start a business,” he said. But how? “Borrow money if you have to from your parents,” he told them. Gee, why didn’t I think of that? Some people are lucky enough to borrow money from their parents, but that shouldn’t determine whether you can pursue your dreams. I don’t think Gov. Romney meant any harm. I think he’s a good guy. He just has no idea how good he’s had it.

We know that in our free market economy some will prosper more than others. What we don’t accept is the idea that some folks won’t even get a chance. And the thing is, Mitt Romney and the Republican Party are perfectly comfortable with that America. In fact, that’s exactly what they’re promising us.

The Romney-Ryan budget doesn’t just cut public education, cut Medicare, cut transportation and cut job training.

It doesn’t just pummel the middle class — it dismantles it. It dismantles what generations before have built to ensure that everybody can enter and stay in the middle class. When it comes to getting the middle class back to work, Mitt Romney says, “No.” When it comes to respecting women’s rights, Mitt Romney says, “No.” When it comes to letting people marry whomever they love, Mitt Romney says, “No.” When it comes to expanding access to good health care, Mitt Romney says, “No.”

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Actually, Mitt Romney said, “Yes,” and now he says, “No.” Gov. Romney has undergone an extreme makeover, and it ain’t pretty. So here’s what we’re going to say to Mitt Romney. We’re going to say, “No.”

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick

We shape our own future. Let’s start by standing up for President Barack Obama.
This is the president who delivered the security of affordable health care to every single American after 90 years of trying. This is the president who brought Osama bin Laden to justice, who ended the war in Iraq and is ending the war in Afghanistan. This is the president who ended “don’t ask, don’t tell” so that love of country, not love of another, determines fitness for military service. Who made equal pay for equal work the law of the land. This is the president who saved the American auto industry from extinction, the American financial industry from self-destruction, and the American economy from depression. Who added over 4.5 million private sector jobs in the last two-plus years, more jobs than George W. Bush added in eight.

The list of accomplishments is long, impressive and barely told—even more so when you consider that congressional Republicans have made obstruction itself the centerpiece of their governing strategy. With a record and a vision like that, I will not stand by and let him be bullied out of office—and neither should you, and neither should you and neither should you.

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Alex Halperin

Alex Halperin is news editor at Salon. You can follow him on Twitter @alexhalperin.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2012 Elections Democratic National Convention Deval Patrick Julian Castro Nancy Keenan Ted Strickland

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