October 4, 2012
Romney: The Role of Government (1st Presidential Debate)
Gov. Mitt Romney: "Well, first, I love great schools. Massachusetts, our schools are ranked number one of all 50 states. And the key to great schools: great teachers. So I reject the idea that I don't believe in great teachers or more teachers. Every school district, every state should make that decision on their own. The role of government -- look behind us: the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. The role of government is to promote and protect the principles of those documents. First, life and liberty. We have a responsibility to protect the lives and liberties of our people, and that means the military, second to none. I do not believe in cutting our military. I believe in maintaining the strength of America's military. Second, in that line that says, we are endowed by our Creator with our rights -- I believe we must maintain our commitment to religious tolerance and freedom in this country. That statement also says that we are endowed by our Creator with the right to pursue happiness as we choose. I interpret that as, one, making sure that those people who are less fortunate and can't care for themselves are cared by -- by one another. We're a nation that believes that we're all children of the same God. And we care for those that have difficulties -- those that are elderly and have problems and challenges, those that disabled, we care for them. And we look for discovery and innovation, all these things desired out of the American heart to provide the pursuit of happiness for our citizens. But we also believe in maintaining for individuals the right to pursue their dreams, and not to have the government substitute itself for the rights of free individuals. And what we're seeing right now is, in my view, a trickle-down government approach which has government thinking it can do a better job than free people pursuing their dreams. And it's not working. And the proof of that is 23 million people out of work. The proof of that is one out of six people in poverty. The proof of that is we've gone from 32 million on food stamps to 47 million on food stamps. The proof of that is that 50 percent of college graduates this year can't find work. The path we're taking is not working. It is time for a new path."
During the first Presidential Debate in Denver, Colorado, Gov. Mitt Romney was asked to describe his view on the proper role of government.