Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you very much for inviting me to your wonderful state here in the great heartland of America but also pretty near the coast. It is an honor to speak from this podium, in this storied courthouse, where so many profound legal judgments were handed down that they more or less canceled each other out.

I am a simple man with a Harvard degree and a solid understanding of tractors. When I was a young boy, my father took me on his knee and told me the principle that has guided my life ever since: “Agree with some things, disagree with other things.” His was truly the Greatest Generation, along with a few that came before and a couple that have come since.

Why am I running for president of the United States of America? That’s a good question, and perhaps there’s no good way to answer it. Or perhaps there is a good way to answer it. Either way, it’s a good question and I’m glad it was raised.

I want to talk a little bit about our nation’s children. Before this speech, a young man named Stanley Exley came up to me. Stanley is a mechanic, a noble profession if there ever was one. Or perhaps he is a chemistry professor, also noble. He was holding his small daughter, Emily, an adorable 3-year-old who was recently diagnosed with leukemia. Stanley is a straight shooter, and he came up to me and asked me a question I’ll never forget: “Do you like children?” And I looked him straight in the eye and said, “Yes, Stanley, I very much like children.” Maybe that’s not a popular opinion, but it’s what I believe. And to those of you who would say, “I don’t think children are our future,” I must reply in the strongest of terms: “I disagree.” Sometimes you have to take a stand for what you believe in.

Our country is sharply divided over a war that is being waged in a distant land. My views on this war are clear: it is happening, it is happening in Iraq, and it will continue to happen until it stops. Some people believe we should withdraw all the troops now. Some people believe we should stay and fight until we’ve established a stable nation. Some people believe we should gradually hand over control to the Iraqi government. I feel blessed to live in a country with so many beliefs.

On the subject of South African apartheid: I strongly, strongly, strongly oppose it. I’m glad it’s gone, and I hope it never comes back.

The state of our economy is in flux. Every single day, the stock market goes up or goes down or stays the same. If elected president, I will ask the Federal Reserve to take a good long look at the interest rate and decide whether or not to change it. If elected president, I will create jobs where there are none, and where there are jobs, I will create internships.

Let us take actions that will make people happy.

Let us take actions that will make people healthy or perhaps have the private sector do it.

Let us take actions regarding taxes.

And let us move boldly so that our children and our children’s children can look back and say, “I’m glad they moved boldly on this, this, and that.”

Thank you.