tv Mitt Romney at Utah County Lincoln Day Dinner CSPAN February 18, 2018 1:23pm-2:06pm EST
at 9:00 p.m., in-depth fiction edition with colson whitehead. on c-spann history tv 3, hysteria and's on world war i and the legacy of woodrow wilson at 6:30 p.m., scholars risks for the relationships between presidents ronald reagan, george h w bush, and russian leader mikhail gorbachev. at 8:00 p.m., richard burr kaiser on george washington and the fight for philadelphia. watch monday on the c-span networks. >> on friday, former massachusetts governor mitt romney said he was running for
the senate seat in utah. he gave the keynote address at the lincoln day dinner in provo, utah. this runs about 40 minutes. a few months ago, as we were preparing for this event, we ran a lot of names across everyone and we sent out some requests. 0 we sent out some information. and we -- and then name of the speaker that is coming in a few minutes came across our thoughts and ideas in the midst of all of
these discussions. and it was about a month ago that we found that everyone turned us down that we liked but we go big and tried to get awesome people that you would like to listen to. we put in a tickler and thought let's try. we put in a tickler to try to get the republican -- the former republican national presidential nominee from the party to come speak to us. that took a few weeks. it was only just two to three weeks ago that we actually had an answer. we thought that was fantastic. then we went spinning quickly to try to organize and finalize what we were going to do this evening. so we want you to know that we are grateful for our speaker tonight to come and speak to us about his experiences as a presidential candidate for the united states and to share with us. i want to share one story. i never met mitt romney until tonight, formally.
i met him a year and a half ago on july 4 at liberty days in liberty, utah. it is the garden of eden of utah. a beautiful valley. my daughter lives there. we gathered for the weekend for the holidays and i found myself at a rodeo with a bunch of little kids, mutton busting. i enjoyed watching that. we were sitting on the bleachers and something came over the microphone that said where the privilege of having former governor mitt romney was us today but he is here as a grandpa and as dad and we would like to have you respect that and but can enjoy that. so i never said a word to him. i sat about seven feet from him for two hours. i was kind of curious. i love to watch people. i do watch people and i learned a lot.
the thing that was interesting to me, as we watched the kids out there chasing chickens and pigs, and the mutton busting. they were running after a pig and there were 50 kids running after this little pig. over the shoulder i keep hearing this voice saying run, pig, run. so looking after the little guy i was impressed. besides rooting for his grandchildren, he was rooting for the pig. [laughter] for a person who doesn't need an introduction, i would like to introduce our keynote speaker tonight, mitt romney. [applause] mr. romney: thank you. thank you.
[applause] that could be the most unusual introduction i've ever had. [laughter] thank you, rob. thank you for organizing this event. rob anderson is also here. the organization works so hard to keep our party strong. thank you so much. [applause] it is an emotional time for me to come back and be in this city. i lived here for three years while we were going to school. this is where our oldest son was born. i remember very well the feelings we had as we drove into town. we look to see how much of the same and how much is different. we appreciate them and so many others who have made this a financial success for the party. i want to begin tonight by expressing some sorrow, and that is regards to the tragedy at the
school in florida. what happened is unthinkable and unimaginable. our hearts ache for the parents of the victims. children are not only our future, they are our purpose. we invest our energies and then come our hopes, our prayers. we treasure every memory we have of them. their successes are more thrilling to us than our own. their disappointments hurt us more than they hurt them. to lose a child, to lose a child to senseless, debased evil is beyond our ability to comprehend. we think also of the lives of those heroes, those teachers,
who put their own bodies in front of their children, their schoolchildren. not their own children, their class, their students to save their lives. extraordinary. at a time like this we do what little we can do. we send our love to those that are grieving. we hope that our prayers may somehow comfort them and dull we hope that our prayers may the inextinguishable ache in their hearts. as a legacy to those who have been killed and lost, we also must take action to prevent tragedies like this from happening again. and heaven forbid from happening in our great state. i have a question. i went on the internet today and said if any of you had questions for me to send them in. i have selected some to respond to. one related to how we prevent
these school violent event from happening. i believe that this is a time for us to have this discussion because it is very much in our minds. i don't know what the answers are to make our school safer. i don't have all the answers. i have some ideas. we cannot just sit and wait and hope and expect that things are going to get better. these things just keep happening. i have looked at some federal legislation. i've not seen any federal legislation that would have prevented these attacks. so i don't support passing some new federal law of the nature i describe. an exception might be for senator orrin hatch's proposal for enhanced background checks. my own view, having served as a governor, is that the best place for finding solutions for school violence is going to be at the state and local level, where things are able to happen on a more advanced, responsive manner.
states can consider the widest array of ideas. such a school building security measures, police patrols, volunteers as patrolled, intervention teams that would go into a school when there is a child that has a particularly disturbing nature, perhaps the age and psychological restrictions on gun purchases. i also think that states are able to find common ground between all the different voices, by having people come in and share ideas. we were able to do that when i was serving as the governor. i'm convinced, by the way, that what's best for cedar city is not what's best for new york city, and that there are differences between states and communities, and states are at the best place to take action. waiting and hoping hasn't worked.
i think it is time to solicit new ideas, debates them, and take action. i believe it is wrong and unacceptable for children in our schools to fear for their lives. [applause] now, i'm going to take some questions here, which may break up the monotony of my 3.5 hour speech. [laughter] i will move quickly. the first one, why did you decide utah? we lived across the country for many years. part of the answer is of course, i have nine grandkids here. part of it is we had some marvelous experiences here. we came to know the heart of the people of utah as we went out and asked for volunteers, as you have heard it overwhelmed us with how many were willing to sign up. but also, just individual stories.
a guy named gardner, last name gardner, was taking care of driving the armenian paralympic athletes to and from their events, and their equipment was so old and so bad, he was concerned, and he got a group of people in town to raise the money handed by the new skis and clothing for the outdoors so they could participate more effectively. it was an inspiring moment. the heart of the people of utah has always been something we have loved and appreciated. after my political life was over we decided to make it. and now look at me. i'm back at it again. next question. and by the way, i want to dispel the rumor that i only ran for president as a stepping stone to become united states senator from utah. [laughter] [applause]
so how does a republican get elected in massachusetts? bribery was not involved. even democrats want low taxes. even democrats want effective government. they keep on sending liberals to washington, but when it comes to their own homes and their own livelihoods, they tend to want republicans. of the six governors who have served in massachusetts since michael dukakis, five have been republicans. these republican governors, i think, have done a good job. how did you get anything done in a state full of democrats? my legislature was almost 90% democrat, and believe it or not, that turned out to be a bit of a blessing in disguise, because it taught me that i would have to learn how to work with people across the tiled to get anything done. you who are in legislators know a veto can be overwritten with two thirds vote.
if democrats got 90%, my veto wasn't worth anything. i learned from the beginning, i said to my team, don't say anything critical of the senate president or speaker of the house, and we didn't, for months, and after about six months i got a note from one of them and it said, "i notice you have never criticized me since you have been in office, i'm going to stop criticizing you." [applause] we got together and every monday we would meet for a few hours, privately. we would rotate offices, we took turns. we talked about the challenges we face. i'm pleased we lowered taxes 19 times, we created a very business friendly environment, we drove our schools -- it includes the republican governors before me -- number one in the nation.
that is based on the exam, so it is not just me bragging about the experience. we also put personal responsibility back into our health insurance. what's the difference between running a business and running a government? by the way, you would be surprised at how much is similar in business and in public-sector. i happen to believe -- one of the things i learned over my lifetime is the impact of one person, how one person in a leadership position and their character and values and the way they treat other people can dramatically affect the entire culture of an organization. over my lifetime, i have come to know the marriott family very well. my mom and dad were very close friends in washington, d.c. some time ago, and bill had a love of people in the concern of his customers, particularly about his associates, and his son carries on that sink
tradition. and interestingly, of the 170,000 people who work there, there's genuinely a different rapport between them in the leadership of the company and their customers. it is amazing, the impact of one person. that is true and government, that is true and enterprise. i'd also note that just like businesses, states compete. we compete as a nation with other nations for jobs, for technology, for innovation, but states also compete. i was not governor very long when a fellow republican governor came to my state and put billboards up around the state telling people to leave massachusetts with their jobs. this was arnold schwarzenegger, my republican friend, and he had billboards of him in a t-shirt going like this with his big muscles, saying "come to california." so i put billboards up in his state, and i was in a
t-shirt going like that, and it was smaller muscles but lower taxes, come to massachusetts. [laughter] [applause] what was it like running for president? i like to quote fritz mondale when i talk about my campaign. you may recall, fritz mondale was the poor fellow who had to run against ronald reagan. after it was over, senator mondale said this -- "all my life, i wanted to run for president in the worst way, and that is just what i did." [laughter] the best part of it -- and you know this -- the best part of running for president was
getting to know people across the country. i come away more optimistic about america, because i met the people that don't make the news. if you make the news, you have by and large done something bad. these are the people who do something good, day in, day out. i saw parents that were inspiring. i was in one state, a mom there said that after raising her kids she had gone back to work, and instead of retiring as she expected because she wanted to make sure her daughter's education loans were as low as possible, and she was providing funding for her daughter, who was in college. i got a chance to go to afghanistan and iraq and meet with troops there, and was inspired by their sacrifice and dedication. one young man introduced me to his father, two of them, serving in afghanistan at the same time. i met patriots, have the occasion to be in the home of senator mccain and his wife, cindy. i also got to know the former president george herbert walker bush. you think you know people but you sometimes don't know the real history of their
background. i went to the george bush library and -- are you familiar with this? after his plane was shot down, he could have turned around to get back to the aircraft carrier but instead of doing so, which would have been the safest thing to do, he decided to proceed with his mission, then try to make it back. he dropped his armament, couldn't make it back, ditched the plane, and was in the water. fortunately, the u.s. submarine was in the area, spotted him, went to him, and someone got on the top of the submarine, and has a video of george herbert walker bush climbing up into the ship, a hero. our sons and daughters who serve in the military are some of america's best, how we love them. [applause]
i have to tell you, i also met entrepreneurs, big and small. i met a guy named jim leotoad from southern illinois. jim graduated second in his high school class, second from the bottom. his dad encouraged him to enlist in the army. he convinced his dad to loan him $25,000. his dad said i will loan you $25,000 for starting a business, but if you can't make a profit by the end of one year, then you go into the military. jim agreed. jim was going to make hotdogs, but he found the equipment was too expensive. all he could buy were some stainless steel tables and a refrigerator, so he got into the sandwich business and started making sandwiches and delivering them. today, jimmy john's has 2630 stores.
american entrepreneurs can do. these other things that made me not just follow up with america again, but also have more confidence in our future. linda nielsen asks, "where are you on president trump? "well, let's look at his first year. i'm with the president's domestic policy agenda of low taxes and low regulation and smaller government, pushing back against the bureaucrats. by and large, by the way, his policies are very similar to those i campaigned for. i wanted to bring the corporate rate down to 25%, he got it down to 21%. on policy, we are in the same place. i am probably more of a deficit hawk than a lot of republicans. i was happy to hear from senator lee. i hope to call you senior senator lee, we will work together on that. [applause]
now, i'm not always with the president on what he might say or do, and if that happens i will call them like i see them. the we can certainly work together and our agenda will be for the best interest of people of utah and the people of our country. how about this one. you ran for president, do you really want to be a junior senator? well, yes. i want to fight for the people of utah, and i believe i can do more for the people of utah. i will give all my energy and passion to help this great state and help our great nation. just as the governor said a moment ago, the values and the lessons and the policies adopted in utah would be helpful if they could be adopted in washington. utah balances its budget every year, keeps its that stem. utah exports more than it imports.
utah has been battling to make sure that we reduce the pollution in our air with the inversions, and has been doing a better job of reducing emissions. so yeah, utah has a lot to teach the nation, and i hope to take those lessons and make them better. even as a junior senator, i think i could have a real impact fighting for the people of this state. i'd also note that i have not worried about the junior senator title, at my age, being called junior is a complement. [laughter] next question. what do you see happening in 2018? the pundits think republicans will use the -- will lose the house and maybe the senate. they are wrong, and the reason i say that is because regardless of what polls say, which have very little meeting this far out from the midterm, what people are seeing already is bigger paychecks as a result of the tax cut, and what they are going to increasingly see is rising wages
and rising salaries as a result of a robust economy, which has been given an additional jolt with the tax cut. and regardless of how people feel about republicans or this person or that person, they are going to look at their paycheck and say republicans do a good job for the american people, and you are going to see republicans elected. we are going to hold the house and we are going to hold the senate. [applause] now, i've got to ask as well this last question. what are the biggest problems we are facing? i have some slides to answer that one, but i don't see a clicker here. oh here's a clicker. thank you. i'm going to show you some slides to answer that because i took a little time to prepare my thoughts in that regard. i will divide my answer on our biggest challenges between those that are more specific to utah
as a state and those that are not just utah but the whole nation. they all apply to utah, but some are more specific. i'll start with the first one, with utah specific issues. there's the screen. improving education. citizens say time and time again we want better schools, and i have had some experience seeing how a state can do that. even though it is more of a state issue than a senator's issue, i'd like to be able to help. attracting the best jobs. utah has an extraordinary record in attracting employers, but they want better job so young people have more opportunity. growing jobs in rural utah. do you realize there are 11 counties in utah undergoing a recession right now, that are shrinking, not growing? whose biggest export as their children? and there are a whole series of things we have to do, including
locating federal buildings and state buildings and some of those communities, creating empowerment zones with low taxation, making sure we have good hospitals and good schools in those communities, because people won't live there if they can't get good health care. we want to have city centers around various state colleges or other institutions of higher learning that can attract tire enterprises. of course, they need good broadband. we also need to deal with agriculture, because they are related in many cases, and our agriculture policies have to recognize that in utah we need immigration policies that work for the short-term visas that are needed. we need more input on federal land decisions as opposed to having a president like president clinton or president obama take our land without any involvement. [applause]
let me go on. lowering the cost of health insurance, there is no question that health care reform is a critical issue. utah is looking for medicaid waivers, let's get them and find the best way to cover our people and find the best way to lower the cost of insurance. reducing pollution from inversion, making sure we do whatever is possible at the federal level to keep car companies' feet to the fire, cars, homes, and businesses, this is a real issue. immigration policy for utah. i believe that states all to have a role in saying to the federal government, here is how many temporary visas we need for our agriculture community. instead of the federal government saying we will get 40,000, there is a mad scramble -- utah says how many temporary workers we need for the dairy industry, people on a more long-term basis, for others it is very temporary harvest season. [applause]
there are some ag people here. opening new markets for utah products. i like trade. utah is an exporting state. i like to be able to find new places for us to take our goods and services. securing funding for utah infrastructure. that people in st. george will tell you to keep the growth up in washington county, which is one of the fastest growing counties in the state. they need more water, and we have the rights to additional water. we just need to build a pipeline to get it to places where people live. [applause] and of course, protecting utah kids from violence, which i described, as well as from the drugs. this is a scourge on our nation. let me turn to another issue, if i can get this -- there we go -- and talk about issues that are federal related, that have an impact on utah.
i want to underscore one of the reasons i'm a deficit hawk and concerned about spending. this shows the united states that held by the public as a share of the total economy. during world war ii, our debt was about the same size as the total economy, the gdp. it's getting there now, and it is forecast on our current path with our current entitlements to completely overwhelm the was about the same size as the total economy, the gdp. economy, will be on the level that existed. why is that, you might ask? the answer, folks, the answer can be learned by looking at how we spend federal dollars. the portion that is in the reddish color is nondiscretionary spending, autopilot spending. congress doesn't set the spending, by the way, this is automatic. so if you qualify for social
security, you get it. those areas, social security, medicare, medicaid, other mandatory programs, those are out of the control of congress. apportion congress is able to control is in blue. half of it is defense, and then the rest everything else government does. you won't be surprised to see which portion of the budget is the portion that is growing fastest. the squiggly red line across the top shows government revenues, tax revenues as a percentage of the economy. over a long period of time it has been around 18% to 20% of the total economy. then you see social security, medicaid, medicare, and interest, as they are projected to the future. they obviously consume all the federal government's revenue, not to mention the rest of
government, but defense and all the other functions of government carries out. that can't happen. that will overwhelm us. let me turn to the next area. we've got to deal with this. we've got to change our entitlement programs in such a way that they are there for the coming generations, so we can honor the promises we make them. republicans are the only people on the planet who are willing to talk honestly about the need to rein in this nondiscretionary spending and make sure the programs exist not just for us but for our kids. this is the second issue that got raised. by the way, these issues were raised in a conference i had of business and political leaders. their number one issue was the debt. the number two issue was the warming of the planet. many of them felt this was something which the united states alone could deal with. well, that is wrong. this chart shows the emissions of carbon dioxide over a long period of time for various countries.
the u.s. has been bringing our emissions down, and utah is bringing them down even faster. but look at china. china is growing like crazy. india will be shortly on their heels thereafter. brazil, indonesia, so forth. you are going to deal with emissions, you have to deal internationally, and we have to get china to take action. what we can do is penalize american industries and entrepreneurs to protect china's capacity to grow and take up more and more of an environmental. the next issue, education. this is so small you probably can't read it from where you are but let me explain. the top line is the total cost of teaching a child from kindergarten to their senior year in high school. the cost is in constant dollars, so it has inflation taken out of it. in 1970, the cost was $56,000. today it is $164,000.
so the cost without inflation has tripled. the next line is the number of employees that work in our k-12 education system per child, can that has doubled. down below are the test scores of our kids, and you will see there is no improvement at all. the idea that somehow just spending more and hiring more people is going to make schools better is demonstrably wrong. the best way to make schools better is to attract the very best and brightest to become our teachers. teachers make all the difference in education. it is not classroom size, it is not building, it is not spending, it is getting the best people to become our teachers. [applause]
the next issue this group raise was poverty. you remember lbj declaring the war on poverty in the 1960's. the number of people that are poor in this country hasn't changed. we know, by the way, how to solve the problem of intergenerational poverty. the brookings institute in washington, a left-leaning organization, did a little study. they said if somebody graduates from high school, if they have ever had a full-time job, and if they don't have a baby until they are married, the probability they will fall into poverty is 4%. but if they are missing those things, the poverty percentage goes to 93%. and yet we don't take action to make sure people get married before they have babies, complete high school, and have the experience of at least one full-time job.
we know how to fix this problem. the government hasn't taken it seriously. let me turn to one more, the flattening of wages and salaries in our country. over a long period of time, if you take out inflation, there has been no significant improvement at all for men. women have seen some improvement, but the last decade has slowed down. i'm concerned about that, that is one of the reasons i am a republican, by the way. our democrat friends think all you have to do is raise the minimum wage, and i am fine with it being tied to inflation, but that will not create real growth in real earnings. there's only one way to get wages up in real terms for people, and that is if there are more jobs and employers competing to hire people, and when they compete to higher than they find it is hard to get them so they have to raise what they are offering. that is why republicans talk about making our enterprises successful in attracting jobs.
that is why we lowered the corporate tax rate. it wasn't to put more money into the hands of shareholders, it was to make sure that businesses grow and thrive here, because if you do that you will get wages and salaries up. we are the only party that knows that. we have an agenda, our friendly democrats do not. [applause] now, you might be tempted to think that the flattening of wage growth is because fewer people are manufacturing in this last decade but you can see from this chart the people working in manufacturing have kept going down, down, down over a long period of time, and this is not a matter of manufacturing, this is a matter of making sure we bring as many good jobs to the country as we can. i said at the outset that utah has things to teach the nation. let me show you some of the evidence. utah has been growing government spending over the last 17 years at 3.7%. the federal government is 4.9%. change slide. government debt. the debt in utah has been growing at 3.7%, of the federal federal government at 9%.
reducing co2. utah has been reducing co2 at 1.9%, the country as a whole only 1.4%. exports. our exports are growing at 8.6% per year. the nation has only been growing at 3.9%. employment growth rate, what a story this is. over those 17 years, growing at 2% per year. whereas the nation is less than half that. personal income growth. wages and salaries here are growing at 5.4%, the nation as a whole only 3.9%. you can turn out the slides now. i happen to believe that the environment that we see here in utah, with our legislature and governor, is an environment that will expand to washington, d.c. were there is respect between people and parties, where we look for common answers, where we balance budgets and see wages
going up, fight to improve our schools, make sure the environment is as clean as we can make it, and i intend to fight for those things if i am lucky enough to become your senator. let me make one more comment and that is to talk a little bit about where we are headed as a nation. i happen to be very optimistic about the future of the country. for a couple reasons. one is, the demographics of the nation. generation y is the generation and buys the new house,
powers the economy. the other developed nations, they did not have kids as baby boomers and they have a shrinking population is one reason. we are going into an extraordinary age of innovation. we have been innovating a long a linear path, making incremental improvements year after year. we are about to go into and exponential path, a logarithmic path. there is something called moore's law. you know that it says the processing power doubles every 18 to 24 months. that has been going on for 45 decades. if you apply that to a if itagen, by the way, followed moore's law, it would be able to go hundred 60 miles per hour, get 2 million miles
per gallon, and it would cost four cents. that is exponential growth and it is being applied now in sensors, in memory, in communications, and processing. it is going to change health care. it's going to change our businesses. one business leader said software eats everything, every business in america -- almost -- is going to be dramatically affected by this new era. and in an era of innovation, america succeeds. in an era of innovation, utah succeeds. we are an innovative state. i am optimistic about the future. i'm also optimistic about the role america is going to play here and around the world. during the last campaign, the president famously said he's going to make america great again. our democrat friends said, no, it is already great. i'm not going to resolve the debate, but i will tell you this. there are at least two aspects to the principle of greatness that are important to think about. one is strength.
i mean to be a great nation, , you've got to be a strong nation. that means a strong economy, a strong military. i think it is very hard for a very small nation somewhere that is a weak economy to be considered a great nation, may a a wonderful place that you love to visit and wonderful people, but is going to be a great nation. china could be a great nation, russia could be a great nation with regards to strength. but there is another dimension to greatness, in my view. that is goodness. when you say something is great i think it is not just wrong, it , -- it is not just strong, it is also good. i had the occasion to meet with shimon peres, the president of israel. and i asked him about america's involvement in iraq. he said, before i answer, i need to put it in context. he said, america is the greatest nation on earth, the greatest nation that has ever been.
he said, whenever there is war on the planet, the nation that wins takes land from the nation that loses, because land is the source of value on our planet. he said, one nation in history has laid down the lives of hundreds of thousands of its sons and daughters and taken no land. the only land america has ever taken is enough land to bury our dead. america is a great nation because it is strong and it is good. russia may be strong, russia under putin is not good, and will not have the capacity of being a great nation. we're a good nation, a great nation. utah is a good and strong and great state. i hope to be able to honor this state by being a member of the senate and represent you there and fight for the values that have made this state all that it is. thank you so much.