Full text of U.S. Senator and Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid’s remarks to the Democratic National Convention on Sept. 4 in Charlotte, as prepared for delivery.
My name is Harry Reid, the majority leader of the United States Senate and the senator from Searchlight, Nevada. It has been my honor to support and work with President Barack Obama, a man who has brought courage and character to the presidency. President Obama’s strength of character leads him to do the right thing, even when it isn’t the easy thing.
Some said he shouldn’t save Detroit. But President Obama made the tough and right call to save more than a million American jobs in an important, iconic industry.
Some said he shouldn’t move heaven and earth to get bin Laden. But President Obama made the tough and right call to bring the world’s worst terrorist to justice.
Some said he couldn’t take on the big banks that brought our economy to its knees. But President Obama made the tough and right call so taxpayers will never again be on the hook for Wall Street’s risky bets.
Some said he couldn’t take on the insurance companies that were ripping us off. But President Obama made the tough and right call to save lives, save Medicare and ensure no one goes broke just because they get sick.
His whole life, there have been so many who told him what he shouldn’t or couldn’t do. But America has a president who knows what we must do.
President Obama has also faced down another group of naysayers. In addition to the crowd of “couldn’ts” and “shouldn’ts,” the Republican Party has become the party of the “wouldn’ts” and the “won’ts.” They pledged on day one they wouldn’t lift a finger to help. And they haven’t.
In the depth of the Great Recession, as millions of Americans were struggling to find work, the Republican leader of the senate, Mitch McConnell, said Republicans’ number one goal was to make Barack Obama a one-term president. They wouldn’t cooperate to create jobs. They wouldn’t try to turn around the economy. They wouldn’t do anything but stand in President Obama’s way.
I’ve had a front-row seat to watch the Tea Party take over the Republican Party. For three and a half years, they wouldn’t govern. They couldn’t lead. And we shouldn’t let them take over the Senate and the White House.
We must stop the Tea Party before the United States Senate falls into the hands of extremists and ideologues who leave no room for reason or compromise, who don’t recognize common ground even when they’re standing on it.
And if they won’t stand up to Rush Limbaugh or Grover Norquist, what would make anyone think they would stand up for you?
Today’s Republican Party believes in two sets of rules: one for millionaires and billionaires, and another for the middle class. And this year, they’ve nominated the strongest proponent--and clearest beneficiary--of this rigged game: Mitt Romney.
Never in modern American history has a presidential candidate tried so hard to hide himself from the people he hopes to serve. When you look at the one tax return he has released, it’s obvious why there’s been only one.
We learned that he pays a lower tax rate than middle-class families. We learned he chose Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island tax shelters over American institutions. And we can only imagine what new secrets would be revealed if he showed the American people a dozen years of tax returns, like his father did.
Mitt Romney says we should take his word that he paid his fair share. His word? His word? Trust comes from transparency, and Mitt Romney comes up short on both. This is about more than just a piece of paper. This isn’t personal. This is about leveling with the American people and creating a level playing field for them.
If we don’t know how Mitt Romney would benefit from the policies he proposes, how can we know if he’s looking out for us or just himself? The American people are still asking, “Who is Mitt Romney?” But the American people know Barack Obama. He is the leader who says we should, we can, we will. He is the leader who doesn’t search for the easy path for himself, but takes the right one for us.
This nation has been through hard times. But those hard times have hardened our resolve. I’m ready to do the difficult work ahead. But I want to do that work with Barack Obama, and not a Tea Party ideologue. We can move America forward, but we can only do it together.
We can move America forward with a strong middle class. We can move America forward with a strong Democratic majority in the Senate. And together we can move America forward with Barack Obama in the White House.