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Why Mitt Romney is the best choice

| Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The challenges facing America are historic and significant and require a determined, decisive leader. Mitt Romney is that kind of leader and the best person we can call forward as the next president of the United States.

We have had 37 straight months of unemployment over 8 percent. Nearly 24 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. The housing crisis continues unabated. We've had exploding deficits, enabled by our current president, who by the end of his first term will have added nearly as much to the national debt as all of his predecessors combined.

One presidential term is long enough to see that reckless spending and weak, ineffective leadership have left people hurting. Americans expect the occupant of the White House to lead. Yet, too many critical presidential decisions have been delayed during the past three years and the country suffers accordingly.

When I first met Mitt Romney, we were both governors. I was impressed then by what still impresses me about him now. He doesn't waver from tough challenges; he doesn't wander away from them in hopes someone else will do the hard work. As an executive in business and as the chief executive of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney has demonstrated decisive leadership -- and that is what America needs.

The Founders who declared liberty here in Pennsylvania nearly 235 years ago never intended for us to be a nation that bows to our problems. They fought so that America could be a self-determining society and expected that future generations would carry on the fight.

But in recent years, we seem to have taken what scares or confounds us and kicked it down the road, in hopes that we can delay the inevitable or that future generations might solve big things for us. That's not leadership.

This is leadership: As a businessman, Mitt Romney turned around failing companies and created thousands of jobs in the process. When the 2002 Olympic Games were plagued by scandal, he took over and took action. By the time they were over, the games were a source of pride for a healing nation and even turned a profit.

Romney's greatest turnaround achievement may have been in Massachusetts. When he became governor, Massachusetts was facing a $3 billion deficit and Democrats in the legislature were calling for tax increases. The state was losing jobs and unemployment was on the rise.

Mitt came to the statehouse with a plan, along with the determination to succeed. He did not raise taxes. Instead, he cut them 19 times. He filled the deficit the old-fashioned way -- by vetoing spending programs the state didn't need. When he left office, that $3 billion debt was a $2 billion rainy-day fund and unemployment had fallen to 4.7 percent.

If you know Mitt Romney, you come to expect that kind of success. His plan for America is bold and aggressive. It entails cutting tax rates across the board, eliminating stifling regulations and rejecting job-killing policies.

A President Romney will repeal ObamaCare, replacing it with a market-based alternative that brings down costs. A President Romney will re-establish America's leadership role. Mitt understands that weakness only invites aggression and that cuts to our military have pared our forces to a dangerous level.

Mitt Romney is the best possible choice to re-establish America as the strongest, freest, most prosperous nation on Earth.

In the last few years, much has been promised and punctuated with speeches. But it has not been enough to solve our mounting national problems. It is time to choose decisive leadership over rhetorical leadership. It is time to choose Mitt Romney.

Tom Ridge, the first director of Homeland Security, is the former governor of Pennsylvania.

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