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Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s Speech at Democratic National Convention

Tue September 04 2012 7:26 pm
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Governor Pat Quinn Remarks at the Democratic National Convention on the evening of September 4, 2012 – Charlotte, North Carolina

Delegates and fellow Americans, it is an honor to be with you this evening. And it’s an honor to represent the great state of Illinois, the home of President Barack Obama!

Tonight, I want to talk to you about a scary subject for many, many Republicans. I want to talk about facts. You know, I watched the Republican National Convention last week. And I heard a lot of things that are simply not true. One of our founding fathers, President John Adams of Massachusetts, once said that “facts are stubborn things.” But last week, as they nominated a very different man from Massachusetts, Republicans stubbornly smeared President Obama’s excellent record of reforming welfare. They went on and on, pretending that he weakened its work requirement. Everyone knows that is a ridiculous charge. Even the Republican author of welfare reform says Romney is wrong. Fact-checkers have called this talking point “blatantly false,” “a drastic distortion,” “widely debunked,” and “a mind-boggling act of untruth telling.”

In Illinois, we know President Barack Obama. We know his record. And we know that President Obama has made sure that work is always part of welfare. As an Illinois State Senator, Barack Obama spearheaded welfare reform in the Land of Lincoln. And the fact is, under President Obama, states can get flexibility only if they move 20 percent more people to work. Let me repeat that for our Republican friends: more people working, not less. Then there’s Medicare. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to take away the promise that makes Medicare, Medicare. They want to give seniors a voucher that caps what Medicare will cover, and then tell seniors they’re on their own for what’s left. That would cost seniors thousands of dollars a year. And if they don’t have the money, it could cost them their lives.

But that didn’t stop Romney and Ryan from telling the American people that their plan won’t hurt seniors. The fact is, it will. President Obama’s plan will protect Medicare, and protect our seniors.

Facts are stubborn things. Now, when Paul Ryan got his turn, he blamed President Obama for a plant that closed under President George W. Bush. Here’s a fact: When President Obama took office in January 2009, the Chrysler plant in Belvidere, Illinois, employed just 200 people. Today, because President Obama saved the auto industry, that same Chrysler plant is employing more than 4,000 American workers.

There’s something else the Republicans left out of their convention: any explanation of why they call Mitt Romney “Governor Romney.” We already knew this extreme conservative man takes some pretty liberal deductions. Evidently that includes writing off all four years he served as governor of Massachusetts. And if you want to know how someone’s going to govern the country, look at how he governed his state. Mitt Romney promised Massachusetts three things: more jobs, less debt and smaller government. Then he left his state 47th out of 50 in job growth, added $2.6 billion in debt and on his watch, government jobs grew six times faster than private-sector jobs.

What does Romney promise today? More jobs, less debt and smaller government. But he didn’t do it then, and he won’t do it now. From day one, President Obama has told you where he stands, what he believes and what he is doing to make our middle class strong again. America is moving forward under President Obama’s leadership – and that’s a fact. Now it’s our job in the next nine weeks to make sure that the American people know the facts. Your vote is a valuable thing. Entrust it to someone who respects you enough to tell you the truth. Join me in voting for President Obama and together let’s make the will of the people the law of the land.

Thank you very much.

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