Photo by Dave Davidson

Congressman Mike Pence (R-Indiana) was in Des Moines, IA yesterday to speak at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition’s 10th Annual Friends of the Family banquet, full text and audio provided:

“I am honored to be invited to address the 10th annual Friends of the Family Banquet here in Des Moines, Iowa.

“I do appreciate the kind introduction, but all you really need to know is that I’m the father of the three teenagers, I’ve been married for 25 years this year, and I’m a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.

“The old saying is ‘nobody ever comes to Iowa by accident’ and, for the media in the room let me be clear, I did come to Iowa on purpose and my purpose is to ask the people of Iowa to help us end the Pelosi-led Congress once and for all!”

“What a difference a year makes.

“Following our election losses in 2006 and 2008, most Republicans were still sure of our principles, but we were pretty uncertain about the future. I mean, a year ago it seemed like it was only a remnant of people in this country unbowed by the glamour and the appeal of the new American left.

“Unprecedented Democrat majorities in both houses. An unchallenged liberal dominance in the media, our courts, our public schools, our universities. It’s extraordinary. It was the force that seemed indomitable to everybody that didn’t know you.

“Now look at us. Look at what you’ve done.

“Historic elections in Virginia, in New Jersey, and in the state formerly known as ‘Taxachusetts,’ we have a Republican member of the United States Senate.

“And to these conservative victories, we will soon add ‘when Harry met Sharon’ in Nevada, Joe the Senator in Alaska, and Iowa is about to send Brad Zaun to Washington, D.C.

“All across America, conservative, pro-family candidates are on the march.

“Let’s be honest, three years ago, Republicans in Congress didn’t just lose their majority, they lost their way.

“When I opposed No Child Left Behind, when I opposed the Medicare prescription drug bill and when I opposed the Wall Street bailout, I knew that if we kept acting like big government liberals, the American people were eventually going to go with the professionals. And they did.

“Truth is, our party in Congress walked away from the principles that minted our national governing majority and the American people walked away from us.

“But after a year that saw every single House Republican vote against the failed stimulus bill, every single House Republican vote against the budget-busting budget and every single Republican oppose that government takeover of health care with public funding for abortion, let me tell you: Republicans in Congress are back in the fight, and they’re back in the fight on the right.

“So we’ve made great strides in the past year, but there’s a lot more to do. Men and women let me tell you, despite the exuberant optimism in the polls – MSNBC says Republicans could win a few seats in Congress and Fox News Channel says Republicans will win 435 seats in the House of Representatives – the truth is, this election can be likened to my favorite play in football. It is 4th and goal, and we’re going for it and they know it. Now it comes down to who wants it more and the strength and character of our candidates.

“Because it’s going to get rough from here on in. So we cannot flinch. We cannot rest. We cannot relent until we win the American Congress back for the American people!

“These times demand unrelenting conservative vision. A nation conceived in liberty has come of age in bondage to big government. We’ve lost respect to the world. We are going broke. The American dream is dying for millions and our social and cultural fabric is unraveling. If we do not succeed in November, all that once was good and great about this country could someday be gone.

“In the face of their failed leadership, our movement must produce a vision for a better America that will return our national government to the common sense and the common values of everyday Americans.

“So, what is the vision for a better America?

“Well first, it means re-dedicating ourselves to doing what is necessary to defend this nation at home and abroad, giving American soldiers the resources they need to get the job done and come home safe.

“The end of combat operations in Iraq was an important milestone and the President was right to mark it with a national address. But, make no mistake about it, we would not have seen that day without the sacrifice of the American soldier, their families and without a commander in chief who would not surrender in the face of hardship abroad and withering criticism at home.

“Let history record, President George W. Bush’s decision to surge forces in Iraq was right and its opponents, including Obama, Reid, and Pelosi were wrong.

“And it’s high time this administration and the leadership of their party gave credit where credit is due.

“It means being good to our friends and tough on our enemies, not the other way around! Criticizing Israel for acting in self defense in Gaza was appalling. The American people support Israel’s right to defend her borders and expect their president to do the same. Let the world know this, if nothing else: America stands with Israel.

“Closer to home, a vision for a better America begins by taking action to get this economy moving again and turning back the big government agenda of this administration, especially when it comes to ObamaCare.

“Liberal Democrats may have had their way on the 3rd Sunday in March when they passed ObamaCare, but the American people are going to have their say on the first Tuesday in November

“And House Republicans will not rest until we have repealed their government takeover of health care lock, stock and barrel.

“And after we undo their government takeover, a vision for a better economy begins with incentive. Renewing the incentive to create, to build, to achieve will restart the engine of the most powerful economy in the world.

“To get this economy moving again, we must preserve and promote the kind of tax relief that will encourage investment and create jobs.

“It was unconscionable for House Democrats to vote to adjourn Congress without taking a vote to extend all current tax relief. Democrats in Washington decided to go home to save their jobs without lifting a finger to save the American jobs that will be lost if a tax increase takes effect in January on small business owners and family farmers.

“Madam Speaker, higher taxes won’t get anybody hired. Congress must act to ensure that no American sees a tax increase in January, not one.

“It’s becoming more clear every day (to paraphrase a hero of mine) that a recession is when your neighbor loses his job, a depression is when you lose your job, and a recovery is when Nancy Pelosi loses her job.

“And a vision for a better America means living within our means, putting our fiscal house in order and putting our nation on a pathway toward a balanced federal budget. We must rein in the growth of the federal government with new limits based on our history and the principles enshrined in the Constitution.

“And finally, a vision for a better America must recognize that our present crisis is not merely economic and political, but moral in nature. At the root of these times should be the realization that people in positions of authority have walked away from the timeless truths of honesty, integrity, an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay and the simple notion that you ought to treat the other guy the way you want to be treated.

“We will not restore this nation with public policy alone.  It will require public virtue and that emanates from the traditional institutions of family and religion.

“Now I know some argue that Republicans should stay away from such debates this year, that the American people are focused on jobs and spending and our movement would do well to stand down and return to fight after this fiscal and economic crisis has passed.

“We must not remain silent when great moral battles are being waged. Those who would have us ignore the battle being fought over life, marriage and religious liberty have forgotten the lessons of history.  America’s darkest moments have come when economic arguments trumped moral principles.

“A political party that would govern this great nation must be able to handle more than one issue at a time.  There is no doubt that we must focus on the economy, but we do not live in a world where any American leader can just focus on our financial ledger.

“We must focus on our fiscal health, but it does not mean that we abandon our troops downrange. We can work on cutting taxes and reducing spending and still secure our borders.  And we can create jobs while protecting innocent human life, defending traditional marriage and securing religious liberty.

“To those who say we should focus on fiscal issues, instead of the right to life, I say ‘what is more fiscally responsible than rolling back this administration’s effort to expand funding for abortion at home and abroad?’

“‘What is more fiscally responsible than denying any and all funding to Planned Parenthood of America?’

“To those who say that marriage doesn’t matter, I say, ‘you would not be able to print enough money in 1,000 years to pay for the government you would need if the traditional family continues to collapse.’

“We are at our strongest when fiscal and social conservatives are united. Victory comes when we stand together, fighting arm in arm for fiscal responsibility, a strong national defense and traditional moral values.

“Men and women, we must demand, here and now, that those who would lead the Republican Party stand for life and traditional marriage without apology.

“This is our moment. Now is the time. It’s time for us to do all that we can to preserve what makes this country great.

“Men and women of Iowa, the time has come to take our stand. We must not be afraid, and we must fight for what has always been the source of American greatness: our faith in God and our freedom.

“And if we hold that banner high, I believe with all my heart the good and great people of this land will rally to our cause. We will win this Congress back in 2010, and we will win this country back in 2012, so help us God.”

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