I often say that everything I needed to know I learned in Iowa. It was at Hawthorne and Valley Park Elementary Schools and my home, both a short distance from here, where those Iowan roots were firmly planted. It's those roots and my faith in God that guide me today.
I'm a descendent of generations Iowans. I know what it means to be from Iowa—what we value and what's important.
Those are the values that helped make Iowa the breadbasket of the world and those are the values, the best of all of us that we must recapture to secure the promise of the future. Waterloo was different five decades ago when I grew up here. That elementary school building was a lot younger and for that matter so was I.
Five decades ago when I went there to school the halls were teeming with young children who, like me, had dreams of their future. A future with promise and parents who wanted it to be filled with more opportunities than they had. Five decades ago America had less debt, in fact our national debt was less than billion dollars. A gallon of gasoline was 31 cents, and owning a home was part of living the American dream.
Today our debt is over 14 trillion dollars, a gallon of gas is still outrageously high, millions of homes are in foreclosure, and those dreams are distant for many Americans. Times have changed here in Waterloo, but the people still have the same spirit we Iowans have come to exemplify.
We work hard, we live within our means and we expect to pass on a better life to our children. But our government keeps getting bigger making it tougher for us to pass on that life, causing our jobs to go overseas and spending more of the money we make, while we keep less of it. Don't mistake my happy memories of growing up in Waterloo as pining for the past.
I recognize it's impossible to turn the clock back and go back to a different day.
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Instead, I want this moment to serve as a reminder about the best of who we are as a nation, what our values are, and what went in to making America great to capture its best for the promise of the future. I want my candidacy for the presidency to stand for the moment when "we the people" reclaimed our independence from a government that has gotten too big, spends too much and has taken away too much of our liberty. Americans have always confronted challenges.
Ours is a history marked by struggles as well as prosperity. My early days were difficult as they were for many Americans, especially during the time when my mother struggled to raise us after divorce. But we made our own way. We depended on our neighbors and ourselves and not our government for help.
We trusted in God and our neighbors and not in Government. Americans still have that same spirit. But government keeps trying to erase it because government thinks it knows better—that government can create jobs, and make a better life for all of us, even make us healthier! But that's NOT the case.
We have to recapture our founders' vision of a constitutionally conservative government if we are to secure the promise of the future. I'm also here because Waterloo laid the foundation for my own roots in politics. I never thought that I would end up in public life. I grew up here in Iowa. My grandparents are buried here. I remember how sad I was leaving Iowa to go to Minnesota in the sixth grade, because this part of Iowa was all I knew—I remember telling my parents that we couldn't move to Minnesota because I hadn't even been to Des Moines to see the state capitol.
I grew up a democrat. My first involvement in politics was working for Jimmy Carter's election in But when I saw the direction President Carter took our country; how his big spending liberal majority grew government, weakened our standing in the world, and how they decreased our liberties, I became a Republican.
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I remember standing in the kitchen of my grandma's house on Lafayette Street in Waterloo listening to my dad, a Democrat debating the merits of the Great Society with my grandmother, a Republican. I remember her prophetic admonition to my father that the Great Society wouldn't work because it wouldn't be my father's generation who paid for it, but rather my brother, David and me. And now that prediction has come true and neither my democrat father nor my republican grandmother would have condoned this spending and debt.
I hadn't planned on getting into politics. I loved the law and went to law school. I went on to William and Mary to become a tax lawyer. Together with my husband we started a successful small business. When I saw the problems with our local school district and how academic excellence was being eroded by federal government interference with the local schools, I decided to do more than just complain about it.
One of those Iowa values instilled in me was to always leave whatever you were involved with better than when you found it, so I decided to seek public office to make our local school district better. I didn't seek public office for fortune or power, but simply to make life better in our community and education better for our children.
And now I seek the presidency not for vanity, but because America is at a crucial moment and I believe that we must make a bold choice if we are to secure the promise of the future. As a constitutional conservative, I believe in the Founding Father's vision of a limited government that trusts in and preserves the unlimited potential of the American people.
I don't believe that the solutions to our problems come from Washington: more than ever, Washington IS the problem, and the real solutions will come from our businesses, our communities, our schools and the most basic and powerful unit of all-our families. We've started another campaign season, almost when it seemed like the last one just ended. Through all of the rancor of the campaign, let us always remember that there is much more that unites us than divides us. Our problems don't have an identity of party, they are problems created by both parties.
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Americans agree that our country is in peril today and we must act with urgency to save it. And Americans aren't interested in affiliation; they are interested in solutions, and leadership that will tell the truth. And the truth is that Americans ARE the solution and not the government! This election is about big issues, not petty ones.
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When all is said and done, we cannot be about big government as usual. Then America will lose. In Washington I am bringing a voice to the halls of congress that has been missing for a long time. It is the voice of the people I love and learned from growing up in Waterloo. It is the voice of reasonable, fair-minded people who love this country, who are patriotic, and who see the United States as the indispensable nation of the world.
My voice is part of a movement to take back our country, and now I want to take that voice to the White House. It is the voice of constitutional conservatives who want our government to do its job and not ours and who want our government to live within its means and not our children's and grandchildren's. I am here in Waterloo, Iowa to announce today: We can win in and we will.
Our voice has been growing louder and stronger. We're practical people who want the country to work again. This is a powerful coalition the left fears, and they should because, Make no mistake about it, President Obama is a one-term president! In February President Obama was very confident that his economic policies would turn the country around within a year. He said, "A year from now, I think people are going to see that we're starting to make some progress. If I don't have this done in three years, then there's going to be a one-term proposition.
President, your policies haven't worked. Spending our way out of this recession hasn't worked. And so Mr. Waterloo holds a special place for me, but also holds a special place for our country.
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You sent and still do send your sons and daughters off to fight for America and to protect the freedoms that allow us to gather here today. I honor my dad who served in the United States Air Force.
She compared herself to Ronald Reagan, regarded by Republicans as one of the giants of the party, in being guided by a core set of principles. That's how you lead, you lead from principles. Bachmann's weekend victory provides important momentum for her campaign and the victor can usually expect an influx of financial support. But the bigger question for Republicans is whether her appeal can be broad enough to seduce enough voters in the November presidential election. Although there are eight declared candidates, realistically only three are still in the race: Bachmann, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and the Texas governor, Rick Perry, who announced his candidacy on Saturday.
While Bachmann won the straw poll, her vote is soft, with many still undecided. Sue Matejka, who gave her age as over 65, reflects the fluidity of Iowa Republicans. She travelled the three hours from her home in Olin, Iowa, to Ames for the straw poll in a bus paid for by Pawlenty but, despite accepting his largesse, had no qualms about voting for Bachmann.
For her, the overriding imperative is a candidate who will unseat Barack Obama. What is on paper looks good. What he has done for Texans is good," she said. Bachmann has risen fast since being elected to Congress in She has made the most of frequent appearances on television, particularly Fox News, where she is a favourite because of her ultra-conservative views. She is one of the most high-profile figures, along with Sarah Palin, in the Tea Party movement. In line with Tea Party principles, she adopted a hardline position during the debt crisis, saying she would not vote for raising the national debt ceiling and on Sunday repeated her view that deep cuts in federal spending were vital.
But it is her views on social issues that helped secure her win in Iowa, one of the most socially conservative states in the country outside of the south.