The following is a transcript of a speech by Martin O'Malley, governor of Maryland, at the Democratic National Convention.
Greetings from Maryland, home to the number-one public schools in America for four years in a row!
Since the first days of the American Revolution, Maryland has been called the "Old Line State" because of this true story of a group of soldiers called the Maryland Line: immigrants and native born, black and white, volunteers all. It is August 27th, 1776—two months since our Declaration of Independence. Outnumbered and surrounded, Washington's army is about to be crushed forever at Brooklyn Heights. The British are closing in.
With America's future hanging in the balance, word is passed up and down the Maryland Line: "Fix bayonets, we're moving forward." And they do. Into the breach. They hold off the British just long enough for Washington's army to escape and fight another day. Today there is a plaque by the mass graves of those citizen soldiers. It reads, "In honor of the Maryland 400, who on this battlefield saved the American army."
In times of adversity—for the country we love—Maryland always chooses to move forward. Progress is a choice. Job creation is a choice. Whether we move forward or back: this too is a choice. That is what this election is all about!
Democratic governors, with the support of our president, are leading their states forward—putting job creation first, balancing budgets, protecting priorities, making the tough decisions, right now, to create jobs and expand opportunity. Together with President Obama, we are moving America forward, not back.
With 29 months in a row of private sector job growth, President Obama is moving America forward, not back! By making college more affordable for millions of middle-class families, President Obama is moving America forward, not back! By securing the guarantee of Medicare for our seniors, President Obama is moving America forward, not back! By putting forward a concrete plan to cut waste, ask those at the top to pay a little more, and reduce our deficit, President Obama is moving America forward, not back! And by adding American manufacturing jobs for the first time since the late 1990s, President Obama is moving America forward, not back!
Facts are facts: No president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the Great Depression inherited a worse economy, bigger job losses or deeper problems from his predecessor. But President Obama is moving America forward, not back.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan now say they want to take America back. And so we ask: Back to what? Back to the failed policies that drove us into a deep recession? Back to the days of record job losses? Back to the days when insurance companies called being a woman a "pre-existing condition"?
No, thank you. I don't want to go back. Do you? Instead of a balanced, achievable plan to create jobs and reduce the deficit, Mitt Romney says he will cut taxes for millionaires and raise them for the middle class.
Instead of improving public safety and public education like President Obama, Mitt Romney says we need less police officers, firefighters and teachers. Instead of safeguarding our seniors, Romney and Ryan would end the guarantee of Medicare and replace it with a voucher in order to give bigger tax breaks to billionaires. Instead of investing in America, they hide their money in Swiss bank accounts and ship our jobs to China!
Swiss bank accounts never built an American bridge. Swiss bank accounts don't put cops on the beat or teachers in our classrooms. Swiss bank accounts never created American jobs!
We are Americans. We must act like Americans. We must move forward, not back. My parents, Tom and Barbara O'Malley, like so many of yours, were part of that great generation that won the Second World War. Dad flew 33 missions over Japan in a B-24 Liberator. He was able to go to college only because of the GI Bill.
Our parents taught us to love God, love our family and love our country. Their own grandparents were immigrants. Their first language may not have been English, but the hopes and dreams they had for their children were purely American.
You see, there is a powerful truth at the heart of the American dream: The stronger we make our country, the more she gives back to us, to our children and grandchildren. Our parents and grandparents understood this truth deeply. They believed—as we do—that to create jobs, a modern economy requires modern investments: educating, innovating and rebuilding for our children's future. Building an economy to last, from the middle class up, not from the billionaires down.
Yes, we live in changing times. The question is: What type of change will we make of it? As we search for common ground and the way forward together, let's ask one another—let's ask the leaders in the Republican party—without any anger, meanness or fear: How much less, do you really think, would be good for our country? How much less education would be good for our children? How many hungry American kids can we no longer afford to feed? Governor Romney: How many fewer college degrees would make us more competitive as a nation?
The future we seek is not a future of less opportunity; it is a future of more opportunity for all Americans.
See the faces of your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents. They did not cross an ocean, settle a continent, do hard, backbreaking work so their children and grandchildren could live in a country of less. They came here because the United States of America is the greatest job-generating, opportunity-expanding country ever created by a free people in the history of civilization! And she still is.
Let us not be the first generation of Americans to give our children a country of less! Let us return to the urgent work of creating more jobs, more security and more opportunity for our people. Together, let's move forward, not back—by re-electing Barack Obama president of the United States!