Good morning, it is so great to be here in Iowa this morning and even better to be here in Waterloo where I was born. I think it is entirely fitting that we are here today at the Snowden house, the site that was once the Waterloo Women's Club, so thank you for being here.
My name is Michele Bachmann. I stand here in the midst of many friends and many family members to announce formally my candidacy for president of the United States.
I do so because I am so profoundly grateful for the blessings that I have received both from God and from this great country, and not because of the position of this office but because I am determined that every American deserves these blessings, and that together, once again, we can secure the promise of the future for America.
Because I want to bring a voice, your voice, to the White House, just as I brought your voice to the halls the United States Congress. To secure that promise of the future not only for our generation, but for the generations yet to come.
I often say that everything I need to know, I learned from Iowa. I learned those lessons at Hawthorne elementary, at Valley Park Elementary and at my home which are a very short distance from where we're standing today. Because this is where my Iowa roots were firmly planted, and it's these Iowa roots in my faith in God that guide me today.
I'm a descendant of generations of Iowans, and I know what it means to be from Iowa. I know what we value here, and I know what's important. Those are the values that helped to make Iowa, as my mother used to tell me, the bread basket up the world. And those values are the best of all of us put together, which we must recapture to secure that promise of the future.
Now Waterloo was different was very different five decades ago when I was here. That elementary school building was much younger then, and I have to admit, so was I five decades ago. Five decades ago when I went to those elementary schools, the halls were literally teeming with young people running up and down the halls. Parents who had dreams for their children and for their future, a future with promise, and parents who wanted it filled with even more opportunities than they and my own parents had known.
Five decades ago in America we had less debt than we have today. We had three hundred billion dollars or less in debt. A gallon of gasoline was 31 cents and owning a home was part of the American dream. Today, that debt stands at over $14 trillion dollars, a gallon of gas is outrageously expensive, and unfortunately millions of too many Americans know what it is to have a home that's in foreclosure. And so those dreams are distant for many Americans. Times have changed here in Waterloo, but the people haven't. The people still have the same spirit in Waterloo that Iowans have always come to exemplify.
We work hard, we don't spend more money than what we take in, and we expect to pass on a better life to our children. But the problem is our government keeps getting bigger, and it makes it tougher for all of us to pass on our values and our lives to our children, and it's caused jobs to go overseas, and they are spending more of our money than we want them to and that means that we get to keep less.
So don't mistake my happy memories of growing up here in Waterloo, Iowa as pining for the past. I recognize it's impossible to turn the clock back and to go back to a different day. Instead I want this moment to serve as a reminder of the best of who we are as a nation, and of what our values are and what it is to make America great, to recapture its best for the promise of the future. I want my candidacy for the presidency of the United States to stand for a moment when we the people, truth, stand once again for the independence from a government that has gotten too big and spends too much and is taking away too much of our liberties.
As Americans we've always confronted challenges, and our history is one that's been marked both by struggles as well as by prosperity. My younger days like so many Americans were difficult, especially during the years of my mother's struggle after a divorce. But we made our own way, we depended on our neighbors, we defended on ourselves. It wasn't in our government that we depended on for our help.
Because we trusted in God, in our neighbors, and not in government. Americans still have that same spirit, but government- but government keeps trying to erase that spirit because government thinks it knows better. Government thinks it knows better how to spend our money. Government thinks they know better how to make a better life for us. They think they create jobs, they even think they can make us healthier. But that's not the case.
We have to recapture the Founders' vision of a constitutionally Conservative government if we are to secure the promise for the future. I'm also here because Waterloo literally laid the roots of my own life and politics. I never thought I would be in public life. I grew up here in Iowa, my grandparents are buried here, and I remember how sad I was the day my mother told me we were going to leave Iowa when I was in the 6th grade because this part of Iowa is all I had ever known. And I remember telling my mother that we couldn't possibly move to Minnesota because we hadn't even been to the state capitol in Des Moines yet.
When we lived here, I grew up a Democrat. My first involvement in politics was working for Jimmy Carter's election in 1976, but when I saw the direction that Jimmy Carter took our country, how big spending his liberal majority group government and weakened our standing in the world, how they decreased our liberties, I became a Republican.
I remember the day distinctly when I stood in the kitchen of my grandmother's home on Lafayette Street here in Waterloo. I listened to my dad who was a Democrat talk to my grandmother who was a Republican, and they were discussing Lyndon Johnson's Great Society program, and it was my Republican grandmother who gave an admonition to my father. She said to him, "David, it won't be you who pays for all of these programs of the Great Society. It will be Davy and Michelle, my older brother David and myself."
And now my grandmother's prediction has come true, and I firmly believe that neither my Democrat father nor my Republican grandmother would have ever condoned the spending and the debt that America is enduring today. I hadn't planned on getting into politics. I loved the law, I went to law school, and then I went on to William and Mary and became a tax lawyer. And together with my husband, we created a successful small businesses and jobs for people in our area. And when I saw the problems in our local school district and how academic excellence was being eroded by federal government interference with the local schools, I decided I needed to do more than just complain.
I decided that it was one of Iowa values that had been instilled in me which was to always leave whatever I found as better than what I found it. So I decided to seek public office to make our local school district better. I didn't seek public office for power or for fortune, but simply to make life better in our community and our public schools better for our children. And now I seek the presidency not for vanity, but because America is at a crucial moment and I believe that we must make a bold choice if we are to secure the promise our future.
Because we simply cannot kick the can of our problems down the road because our problems quite frankly are today. Our problems are not tomorrow. We can't continue to rack up debt and hand it and put it on the backs of the next generation. We can't afford the unconstitutional health care law that will cost us too much and deliver so little.
We can't afford four more years of failed leadership here at home and abroad. We can't afford four more years of millions of Americans who are out of work and who aren't making enough in wages to support a family. We can't afford four more years of a housing crises where we continually watch the value of our home devalued in front of our eyes and we literally see it become impossible for people to purchase a home.
And we can't afford four more years of a foreign policy with a president who leads from behind and who doesn't stand up for our friends like Israel and who too often fails to stand against our enemies.
We cannot afford four more years of Barack Obama. As a constitutional conservative, I believe in the founding fathers' vision of a limited government that trusts in and perceives the unlimited potential of you, the American people.
I don't believe that the solutions to our problems are Washington-centric. I believe that they're with every American-centric, and I believe that the most basic, the most powerful unit of all is the family, and the family must be preserved and protected.
We've begun another campaign season, and it almost seems like the last one only recently ended, but through the rancor of the campaign, let us always remember there's always so much more that unites us as a nation than divides us, because our problems don't have an identity of party. They're problems that were created by both parties.
I think that Americans agree our country is in peril today, and we have to act with urgency in order to save it. Because Americans aren't interested in affiliation. They're interested in solutions and leadership that will tell them the truth. And the truth is, all of us, we, the American people, are the solution, not our government. Because this issue is about big issues. It's not about petty ones. And when all is said and done, we can't be about big government as usual because then America will lose, quite frankly.
And in Washington I'm bringing a voice to the halls of Congress that has been missing for a very long time. It is your voice. It's the voice of the people that I love and the people that I learned so much from as a young girl growing up here in Waterloo. It's the voice of reasonable fair-minded people who love this country, who are patriotic and who see the United States as the indispensable nation of this world.
And my voice is one that is part of a much larger movement to take back our country. And I want to take that voice to the White House. It's the voice of Constitutional conservatives who want government to do its job and not our job, who want our government to live within its means, not our means and certainly not our children's means.
I am here today in Waterloo, Iowa to announce we can win in 2012, and we will win.
It may have started small, but our voice is growing louder, our voice is growing stronger, and it's made up of Americans from all walks of life like a three-legged stool. It's made up of peace-through-strength conservatives, and I am one of those. It is made up of fiscal conservatives, and I am one of those. It is made up of social conservatives, and I am one of those. And it's made up of the Tea Party movement, and I am one of those.
The liberals, and to be clear I am not one of those, want you to believe that the Tea Party movement is just the right wing fringe of the Republican Party. But I'm here to tell you nothing could be further from the truth. It's made up of disaffected Democrats, it's made up of Independents, it's made up of people who have never been political a day in their life, it's made up of Libertarians and Republicans. We are people who simply want to get America back on the right track again.
We're practical people. We know our country can work, we just want it to work again. It's a very powerful coalition that the left fears, and they should, because make no mistake about it Barack Obama will be a one-term president.
In February 2009, President Obama was very confident that his economic policies would turn the country around within a year. He said, and I quote, a year from now I think people are going to see that we're starting to make some progress. If I don't have this done in three years, then there's going to be a one-term proposition. Well Mr. president, your policies haven't worked. Spending our way out of the recession hasn't worked, and so Mr. President, we take you at your word.
Waterloo holds a very special place for me, but it also holds a very special place for our nation because Waterloo still and does send its finest young men and women off to fight for America and to protect our freedoms that allow us to gather here together.
I honor my father who served in the United States Air Force, I honor my stepfather who served in the United States army, I honor my stepbrother who served and retired full United States Navy. We will never forget the sacrifices of our brave men and women in our military. It is part of our past that we remember to secure the future of the promise America, and it's those values that make our country unique and make us the most powerful force for good on this planet.
I believe we are the indispensable nation and that is the spirit that separates us from those who would give their own life for others from those who have sacrificed others, like terrorists who use little children's lives as human shields. But I think perhaps the valor of our American fighting heroes was never captured better than in the sacrifice made by the Sullivan brothers from right here in Waterloo.
My father told my three brothers and I, when we were little children, this story of the Sullivan family, who, like so many other families in the Great Depression, they were just fortunate to get by. And most of the family worked here in Waterloo at the meatpacking plant. When a close friend of the Sullivan family died at Pearl Harbor, the Sullivan five brothers enlisted in the US Navy, but under the condition that they would be allowed to serve together.
One of the brothers wrote, "We will make a team together that can't be beat." Born and raised here in Waterloo, the five Sullivan brothers had always stuck together. However one fateful morning after a long night of intense battle, a Japanese torpedo struck the USS Juneau; that was the ship upon which they served. It killed most to the crew, and it launched the rest into the water.
The oldest to the Sullivans was named George. George tirelessly searched the waters for his brothers, but they weren't to be found. George survived the attack, but later George Pierce perished at sea.
Of the 697 brave men of the Juno, only 10 survived that attack. The rest gave their lives for their country, and in spite of the intense pain of losing five sons all at once, the parents of the Sullivans became an inspiration to the rest of the nation, as in the midst of their grief, they spoke to millions of Americans on behalf of the war effort.
And so to honor the Solomons, two ships were named for them. And the motto of the last ship: "We stick together." Theirs was a- theirs was a demonstration of the Holy Scripture which says, "Greater love hath no man than this but that he lay down his life for his friend." That's the kind of love we Americans have for this great country. We Americans stick together. We triumph together.
In the words of Daniel Webster, who said, "One cause, one country, one heart." That's the kind of commitment that will take us to face these great challenges that are before us. But I believe that the great people of this country are longing for a president who will listen to them and who will lead from the front and not from behind.
I am Michele Bachmann. I am running for the president of the United States. Together we can do this. Together we can rein in the corruption and the waste that has become Washington and instead we can leave behind a better future for the next generation of Americans. Together we can make a better America if we stick together. Together we can bring the promise of the future. Together we can. Together we will. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America. Thank you everyone. Thank you Waterloo. Thank you Iowa. Thank you America. Together we'll do this. Thank you everyone.