LOUISVILLE, KY - U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) today announced that he will seek the Republican nomination for President of the United States of America. Transcript as prepared for delivery can be found below.
I have a message!
A message that is loud and clear and does not mince words!
We've come to take our country back!
We've come to take our country back from the special interests that use Washington as their personal piggy bank.
The special interests that are more concerned with their personal welfare than the general welfare.
The Washington machine that gobbles up our freedoms and invades every nook and cranny of our lives ---must be stopped!
Less than 5 years ago, I stood just down the road in Bowling Green and said those same words after I won my primary.
I wasn't supposed to win. No one thought I would. Some people asked me then -- why are you running?
The answer is the same now as it was then.
I have a vision for America. I want to be part of a return to prosperity. A true economic boom that lifts all Americans.
A return to a government restrained by The Constitution. A return to privacy, opportunity and liberty!
Too often, when Republicans have won, we've squandered our victory by becoming part of the Washington machine.
That's not who I am. That's not why I ran for office for the first time, just a few years ago.
The truth is, I loved my life as a small town doctor.
Every day when I woke up, I felt lucky to be able to do the things I loved. More importantly, I was blessed to be able to do things that made a difference in people's lives as a physician...
I never could have done any of this without the help of my parents who are here
today. I'd like you to join me in thanking my Mom and Dad for all their help and support through the years...
With my parents help, I was able to make it through long years of medical training to finally become an eye surgeon.
For me, there is nothing that compares with helping someone see better.
Last August, I traveled to Guatemala on a medical mission trip, and together with a team of surgeons from across the US, operated on more than two hundred people who were blind or nearly blind from cataracts. I was grateful to be able to put on my scrubs, peer into the oculars of the microscope, and focus on the task at hand - to take a surgical approach and fix a problem!
One day, in Guatemala, a man arrived and told me that I had operated on his wife the day before.
His wife could see clearly for the first time in years and she had begged him to get on the bus with her and travel the winding mountain roads back to our temporary surgery center.
He too, was nearly blind from hardened cataracts. After his surgery the next morning, his wife sat beside me as I unveiled the patch from his eyes.
It was a powerful, emotional moment for me to see them looking at each other clearly for the first time in years.
To see the face they loved again. As I saw the joy on their eyes, I thought: this is why I became a doctor.
In that moment, I also remembered my grandmother, who inspired me to become an eye surgeon.
She spent hours with me as a child, telling me stories as we sorted through her old coin collections, looking for wheat pennies and Indian Heads.
As her vision began to fail, I became her eyes to inspect the faintness of mintmarks on old weather-worn coins.
I went with my grandmother to the ophthalmologist, as she had her corneas replaced.
I was also with her when she received the sad news that macular degeneration had done irreparable damage to her eyes.
My hope that my grandmother would see again made me want to become an eye surgeon...to make a difference in people's lives.
I have been fortunate to be able to enjoy the American Dream. I worry, though, that opportunity and hope are slipping away for our sons and daughters.
As I watch our once great economy collapse under mounting spending and debt, I think, what kind of America will our grandchildren see?
It seems to me that both parties and the entire political system are to blame.
Big government and debt doubled under a Republican administration and is now tripling under Barack Obama's watch.
President Obama is on course to add more debt than all the previous Presidents in history-- combined.
We borrow a million dollars a minute. This vast accumulation of debt threatens not just our economy, but our security.
We can wake up now and do the right thing --- quit spending money we don't have -- or we can stand idly by and watch our once great nation wither and fail.
This message of liberty is for Americans from all walks of life.
The message of liberty, opportunity and justice is for all Americans, whether you wear a suit, a uniform or overalls, whether you're white or black, rich or poor.
In order to restore America . . . one thing is for certain:
We cannot, we must not, dilute our message or give up our principles!
If we nominate a candidate who is simply "Democrat-lite," what's the point? Why bother?
We need to boldly proclaim our vision for America!
We need to go boldly forth under a banner of liberty that clutches the Constitution in one hand, and the Bill of Rights in the other!
Washington is horribly broken. I fear it cannot be fixed from within. We, the people, must rise up and demand action.
Congress will never balance the budget unless you force them to do so.
Congress has an abysmal record with balancing anything.
Our only recourse is to force Congress to balance the budget with a Constitutional Amendment!I have been to Washington and let me tell you -- there is no monopoly of knowledge there.
I ran for office because we have too many career politicians.
I believe it now more than ever.
We limit the President to two terms. It's about time we limit the terms of Congress!
I want to reform Washington. I want common sense rules that will break the log-jam in Congress.
That's why I introduced a Read the Bills Act.
The bills are thousands of pages long. And no one reads them. They are often plopped on our desks only a few hours before a vote.
I've proposed something truly extraordinary...
Let's Read the bills, every page!
From the time I was a very young boy, I was taught to love and to appreciate America. Love of liberty pulses in my veins.
Not because we have beautiful mountains or white sand beaches, and not because of our abundance of resources, it's more visceral than that.
Our great nation was founded upon the extraordinary notion that government should be restrained and freedom should be expanded.
America, to me, is that beacon.
We are unique among nations in that our country stands for freedom.
Freedom nurtured our country from a rebellious group of colonies into the world's greatest nation.
When tyranny threatened the world, America led the way to rid the world of Nazi and Fascist regimes during World War Two.
Resolutely, we stood decade after decade against Communism -- the engine of capitalism finally winning out against the sputtering, incompetent engine of socialism.
We won the Cold War. America and Freedom are so intertwined that people literally are dying to come to America.
The freedom we've fostered in America has unleashed genius and advancement like never before.
Yet, our great nation still needs new ideas and new answers to old problems.
From an early age, I worked. I taught swimming lessons, mowed lawns and did landscaping. I put roofs on houses. I painted houses.
I never saw work as punishment. Work always gave me a sense of who I am. Self-esteem can't be given, it must be earned. Work is not punishment. Work IS the reward.
Two of my sons work minimum wage jobs while they go to college. I am proud of them as I see them realize the value of hard work. I can see their self-esteem grow as they cash their paychecks.
I have a vision for America where everyone who wants to work will have a job!
Many Americans, though, are being left behind. The reward of work seems beyond their grasp. Under the watch of both parties - the poor seem to get poorer and the rich get richer.
Trillion dollar government stimulus packages have only widened the income gap.
Politically connected cronies get taxpayer dollars by the hundreds of millions, and poor families across America continue to suffer.
I have a different vision. An ambitious vision. A vision that will offer opportunity to all Americans, especially those who have been left behind.
My plan includes, Economic Freedom Zones to allow impoverished areas like Detroit, West Louisville, and Eastern Kentucky to prosper by leaving more money in the pockets of the people who live there, by helping these poverty stricken areas to bail themselves out.
Can you imagine what a billion-dollar stimulus could do for Detroit? Or for Appalachia?
I am convinced that most Americans want to work. I want to free up the great engine of American prosperity.
I want to see millions of Americans back at work.
In my vision for America, we'll bring back manufacturing jobs that pay well.
We will dramatically lower the tax on American companies that wish to bring profits home.
More than $2 TRILLION dollars in American profit currently sits overseas.
In my vision for America, new highways and bridges will be built across the country -- not by raising your taxes but by lowering the repatriation tax and putting that revenue into the highway fund.
This tax cut has bipartisan support. Even in this polarized Congress, we have a chance of passing this.
I say, let's bring $2 trillion dollars home...to America... now!!
Liberal policies have failed our inner cities. Our schools are not equal and the poverty gap continues to widen.
Martin Luther King spoke of two Americas. He described them as "two starkly different American experiences that exist side by side."
In one America people experience "the opportunity of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
In the other America, people experience a "daily ugliness" that dashes hope and leaves only "the fatigue of despair."
Although I was born into the America that experiences and believes in opportunity, my trips to Detroit, Appalachia, and Chicago have revealed what I call an 'undercurrent of unease.'
It is time for a new way, a way predicated on justice, opportunity and freedom!
Those of us who have enjoyed the American Dream must break down the wall that separates us from "the other America."
I want all our children to have the same opportunities that I had. We need to stop limiting kids in poor neighborhoods to failing public schools and offer school choice, not just for the privileged, but for everyone!
It won't happen, though, unless we realize that we can't borrow our way to prosperity.
Currently some $3 trillion comes in to the U.S. Treasury in taxes.
Couldn't the country survive on just $3 trillion dollars?
I propose we do something truly extraordinary -- let's just spend what comes in!
In my Vision for America, Freedom and prosperity at home can only be achieved if we defend against enemies who are dead-set on attacking America.
Without question, we must defend ourselves and American interests from our enemies.
Until we name the enemy, we can't win the war. The enemy is a barbarous aberration.
The enemy is Radical Islam and not only will I name the enemy, I will do what ever it takes to defend America from these haters of mankind!
We need a National Defense robust enough to defend against all attack, modern enough to deter all enemies, and nimble enough to defend our vital interests.
But we also need a foreign policy that protects American interests and encourages stability -- not chaos!
At home conservatives understand that government is the problem, not the solution.
Conservatives should not succumb to the notion that a government inept at home will somehow succeed in building nations abroad.
I envision an America with a National Defense unparalleled, undefeatable, and unencumbered by overseas nation building!
I envision a National Defense that promotes, as Reagan put it, 'Peace through Strength.'
I believe in applying Ronald Reagan's approach to foreign policy to the Iran issue.
Successful negotiations with untrustworthy adversaries are only achieved from a position of strength.
We brought Iran to the table from strength, through sanctions I voted for.
Now we must stay strong. That's why I co-sponsored legislation that insures that any deal between the US and Iran must be approved by Congress.
Not only is that good policy, it is the law.
It concerns me that the Iranians have a different interpretation of the agreement than the Obama state department. It concerns me that they may attempt to unilaterally and prematurely halt sanctions.
I will oppose any deal that does not end Iran's nuclear ambitions and have strong verification measures. I will insist that any final version be brought before Congress.
The difference between President Obama and myself-he seems to think you can negotiate from a position of weakness.
Yet, everyone needs to realize that negotiations are not inherently bad, that trust but verify is required in any negotiation but that our goal always should be and always is . . . peace not war!
We must realize, though, that we do not project strength by borrowing money from China to send it to Pakistan.
Let's quit building bridges in foreign countries and use that money to build some bridges here at home!
It angers me to see mobs burning our flag and chanting death to America in countries that receive millions of dollars of our foreign aid.
I say it must end. I say not one penny more to these haters of America!
To defend our country, we need to gather intelligence on the enemy.
But when the Intelligence Director is not punished for lying under oath, how are we to trust our government agencies?
Warrantless searches of American's phone and computer records are un-American and a threat to our civil liberties.
I say, that your phone records are yours. I say the phone records of law-abiding citizens -- are none...of their damn...business!
The President created this vast dragnet by Executive Order. As President...on day one...I will immediately end this unconstitutional surveillance!
I believe we can have liberty and security, and I will not compromise your liberty for a false sense of security. Not now... not ever!
We must defend ourselves, but we must never give up who we are as a people, we must never diminish the Bill of Rights as we fight this long war against evil.
We must believe in our founding documents. We must protect economic and personal liberty again.
America has much greatness left in her.
We are still exceptional and we are still a beacon for the world. We will thrive when we believe in ourselves again.
I see an America strong enough to deter foreign aggression, yet wise enough to avoid unnecessary intervention.
I see an America where criminal justice is applied equally, and any law that disproportionately incarcerates people of color is repealed!
I see an America with a restrained IRS that cannot target and harass American citizens for their political or religious beliefs.
I see a simplified flat tax that unburdens our citizens.
I see our big cities once again shining and beckoning with creativity and ingenuity, with American companies offering American jobs.
With your help, this message will ring from coast to coast -- a message of liberty, justice and personal responsibility.
Today begins the journey to take back America, to rescue a great country, now adrift.
Join me as together we seek a new vision for America!
Today, I announce, with God's help,
...with the help of liberty-lovers everywhere . . .
That I am putting myself forward as a candidate for President of the United States of America. . .
If you love liberty, Stand with me!
If you want the Bill of Rights to guarantee justice for all, Stand with me!
If you want to defeat the Washington machine, Stand with me!
God bless you. God Bless America.