"Thank you very much. It's always great to be here in Worcester, especially with so many friends from here and across the state. You all know my wife Gail, and our daughters Ayla and Arianna. It's another big day for our family, and we thank you all for coming out to share it with us.
"Many of you were here at Mechanics Hall two years ago, in the closing hours of a tough and memorable election. Worcester was the perfect place to wrap up that winning campaign in January 2010. So, the way I figure it, what better place to start the winning campaign of 2012?
"Two years ago today, the whole country was watching, waiting to see what would happen in Massachusetts. After we lost Ted Kennedy, there was suddenly a vacancy in the United States Senate. And for the political establishment, it came down to a simple question: Which Democrat would move into the seat?
"For years, everyone knew what the deal was in this state: You get chosen by the machine, you go along to get along, please the right people, and the rest is easy. But we had a different idea. Elections aren't supposed to be easy, and public offices do not belong to any party by right. Two years ago you sent the establishment a very powerful message, a message that still resonates today. We won two years ago because we respected voters enough to give them a choice. As I said many times in that special election, it is your choice, and it still is the people's seat.
"A lot has changed in these two years, but not that. It is not the establishment's seat...it is not the Democrats' seat...It is still the people's seat - it's your seat. For anyone running, it still has to be earned. And that is what brings us here today: I am honored to be your United States senator, I am running for re-election to the U.S. Senate, and I ask for your vote.
"I'll tell you something else that hasn't changed in this state since 2010, and that's the attitude of the political machine. They didn't like being challenged then, and they really don't like it any better now. They want to get things back to normal as quickly as possible. And we all know what 'normal' means for them: It means we go back to one party, one way of thinking, one way of voting - just going in lockstep and doing what you're told. That old go-along-get-along mentality. You know it and I know it, it's got to stop here. It's got to stop now.
"I wouldn't be here at all if I worried about long odds. Once again, I'm going to run hard and keep my focus. I'm going to campaign on the issues ... not take a single vote for granted ... and speak directly to the people of our great state.
"Once again I won't have the political establishment behind me - not the one on Beacon Hill, and certainly not the one on Capitol Hill. All I will have going for me is my independent record as your United States Senator, and the independent spirit of the Massachusetts voter. I'll take those advantages any day over the political machine, and with your help in this campaign we will beat the odds again together.
"A lot of people these days feel like they're up against tough odds, because we still have a jobs crisis in this country. The governing establishment promised to get the economy moving again, but their policies have failed. And with new liabilities like Obamacare, they have added a debt crisis as well. How do you know when the political class is borrowing and spending the country toward disaster? I'd say a pretty sure sign is when the credit rating of the United States is downgraded, and that's where the tax and spend attitude in Washington has taken us.
"Elections are about accountability, and establishment candidates will have a lot of explaining to do. They'll try again and again to talk about something else during this election. They'll wage class warfare, pitting one group of Americans against another. They will attack success, and our free enterprise system. They will use terms like 'us' and 'them.' Our campaign will always be about 'We the People.'
|"Things would be a lot better in this country if more people in Washington were willing to think for themselves, and to work with each other for the good of America. Two years ago, I pledged to work with colleagues in the delegation and I have done so. I told the voters that I wouldn't just be another loud, angry partisan, because Washington has too many of those already. I promised to be an independent voice for you, because Washington has too few of those serving right now. I don't worry about the party line. I don't get caught up in petty fights. I always remember why I am there and who sent me. I am still nobody's senator but yours.
"It's the only way I know to operate. I look at every issue on the merits, and I ask what is best for Massachusetts. I actually read the bills, and not everyone can say that. I make sure I understand them, see how they affect Massachusetts, our country, our debt and our deficit - and then I cast my vote, regardless of party. At times, I've been the 41st vote to stop a bad idea, but I'm just as proud when I have been the 60th vote to pass a good one.
"One unfinished fight is the effort to get rid of Obamacare. A government takeover of health care was a bad enough idea to start with, and the way it was rammed through was even worse. Don't forget that by doing so, the Democrats cut half a trillion dollars from Medicare. The misuse of Senate rules, the bullying, the backroom deals - I saw all that first-hand, and I knew it could not possibly be in the interests of our state or our country. Good laws are passed by honest means, and this wasn't one of them. I was against Obamacare then, and I am for its repeal today.
"I look at the federal debt today, which has risen by four and a half trillion dollars in just three years, and is now greater than the Gross Domestic Product of this nation. And no matter what clever arguments we hear to justify a national debt of 15, and soon 16 or 17 trillion dollars, let me tell you something: All this borrowed money is buying us is big, big trouble.
"The warning signs are everywhere. If you want to understand what happens when governments adopts a philosophy that you can tax, borrow and spend your way to economic security and prosperity, look no further than Europe. There, nation after nation is in crisis as a result of bloated government spending financed by high taxes and large deficits.
"Despite the failure of this model in Europe, some in our own country still want to emulate it.
"If any national problem calls for independent thinking, this is it. We need Republicans and Democrats alike who will work together to protect the fiscal integrity of the United States. Even though Washington already wastes far too much of your hard-earned money, it's a guarantee that my opponent will fall right into line with the Washington mindset of more spending, more debt, and more taxes to bail out the big spenders. And that's a debate I welcome. In 2012, I will run proudly as the only candidate in this race who supports a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. We do it here in Massachusetts, and we should do it in Washington, D.C.
"That would be a monumental reform. The day is coming and I know it can be done. I've seen how Washington works, but I've also seen how it's supposed to work - like when Congress repealed a new withholding tax a few months ago that directly affects small businesses, contractors and entities doing work with the government. When I introduced a bill to repeal the tax, I was convinced that both parties would support it and the President would sign it, which is just how it turned out. I didn't make the case only to fellow Republicans, I reached out to everyone. I prefer making progress to making enemies, and that attitude will take you a long way.
"In that same bill, we gave a tax credit to businesses that do the right thing and hire unemployed veterans. No soldier should come home from fighting in Afghanistan or Iraq only to have to fight for a job at home. I've worked with senators from both parties on all kinds of issues: Whether it was in protecting our air and coastline, passing trade agreements to support manufacturing jobs, or making sure Wall Street bankers don't act like casino bosses with your money.
"In government, you can argue forever and try to be the one who wins by shouting the loudest. Or you can get serious, assume the good faith of others, and do the much harder work of solving the problems that can't wait. Let's look at a few of these issues - our seniors depend on Social Security and Medicare, and it's our responsibility to keep those programs solid and secure without raising taxes. Our economy is undermined by a tax code that is unfair and too complicated, and it's our job to reform it in a way that doesn't fuel more spending but lowers rates for everyone. The reason the government has lost all credibility in stopping illegal immigration is because of the magnets we create like in-state tuition breaks that bring more people here in violation of the law. Whatever reforms come later on, it is our duty, right now, to enforce the law and secure the border of the United States.
"As long as I am your senator, I will work with any person of good will in Congress who is ready to confront these challenges and be part of the solution. I've found that good things have a way of happening in government, when you're looking for friends and not just for fights. And this points to one of the defining differences in the choice Massachusetts voters will have in 2012.
"My likely opponent, Professor Warren, is a hard-working, talented, and accomplished academic. And she's got the other side pretty excited. She talks about how she's a, quote, 'rock thrower,' and rather than compromise she prefers to leave 'blood and teeth' on the floor. That sure doesn't sound like the kind of compromise and progress this country needs right now. I'm a bridge builder, not a rock thrower.
"Believe me, there are plenty of ideologues down in Washington already. What the nation's capital could really use right now is a little more respect, good will, and bipartisanship. It may disappoint the rock-throwers and occupiers at both extremes, but that's how I try to show the best of our state. And I think it's the way to serve the interests we all share as Americans.
"This is going to be a tough campaign, no doubt about it. But when it's voting time, every citizen is going to have the benefit of a clear choice. If you think the job of a United States Senator is to give angry lectures, inspire protests, and take orders from the Washington establishment, you'll have that option. But if you're looking for a senator who can truly speak for the working people of this state at a rough time for our country ... who doesn't care to be part of the establishment, only part of the solution - I will again offer that choice to the people of Massachusetts.
"We've got a lot of people out of work in places like Worcester - some in their third or fourth year of looking for jobs. They're waiting to catch a break, and a lot of us know the feeling ourselves. Across this state are middle-class parents with kids in college and a lot of bills to pay. They have two incomes, work hard, and they hear themselves called 'rich' by politicians who think they get to decide what American families deserve to keep at the end of their work week. We're talking about the policemen, teachers, nurses, and small businesspeople who each have jobs, are working overtime, and already paying some of the highest taxes in America. Where does it stop?
"These are the same men and women who turned a long-shot regular guy into their U.S. senator two years ago. They came through for me - no, you came through for me. And I have tried each and every day in the Senate to come through for you.
"My job in the Senate has been all that I thought it would be, with some tough days, close votes, and great experiences all across Massachusetts. Some of the best days came last summer, when I was sent for training in Afghanistan as a member of the Army National Guard. It put me back in the company of the people I admire more than any others in public service - the men and women of the American Armed Forces.
"Nothing that I or anyone else in the world of politics does can come close to the sacrifices made by our military in defending this nation and our freedoms around the world. That duty abroad reminded me that we need to put our country first, look past party demands, and join together to solve problems. Whatever else may separate us, remember we are Americans first. Let me repeat that, we are Americans first. To me, that means we need to work together to solve our country's problems.
"Service in the Guard gives me perspective, especially as we head into a political contest. Whatever the race brings, I'll be ready to take it on, because the stakes are high and worthy of our efforts. Two years ago, a campaign for the people's seat began with a small group of supporters. But it grew into the people's campaign. I didn't do it alone then, I can't do it alone now. Once again, I ask for any help you can give. And above all, I ask for the honor of your vote.
"In return, I renew this pledge to you and to every citizen of Massachusetts: If I am entrusted again with the people's seat, I will give everything that is in me to be a good and faithful senator, and to make you proud.
"Thank you very much."