As Republicans take the stage in Tampa, we have a message for Americans: Elect Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, and we can get this country working again. America can do better than the last four years, and with the proven leadership of Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan, we can secure a better future for the country and the next generation.
Our convention is an opportunity to share our vision with the country. "A Better Future" is the theme of the four-day event. It's also more than that. It is a promise to voters. While President Obama has no plan to fix the economy or rein in government spending, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have a plan and will be prepared to lead on Day One.
When Mr. Obama was elected in 2008, he was inexperienced and unproven. Americans were willing to take a risk, but it turned out to be a bad bet. He was not up to the job, as the weak economy and skyrocketing debt so unambiguously demonstrate.
Mr. Romney has a proven record of successful leadership. In the private sector, he provided steady leadership that saved failing companies and started successful ones, like Staples and Sports Authority. When the 2002 Winter Olympics were mired in scandal and mismanagement, they turned to Mitt Romney for help. He saved the games and brought pride to the nation.
That record convinced voters in Massachusetts that he was up to the task of leading their state. Once again, he did the job admirably. He balanced the budget every year, cut taxes, and left $2 billion in the state's rainy day fund. The economy grew, and unemployment went down to 4.7 percent. Throughout his governorship, he was able to work across the aisle with the Democrat-controlled legislature, and when he left office, Massachusetts was undeniably better off.
This is the story we'll tell at the convention -- the Mitt Romney story, about his life of leadership as well as his dedication to family and faith. Those who listen will know he is a man uniquely qualified to address the challenges of our time.
Four years ago, when candidate Barack Obama stood before the American people at the Democrats' convention, he promised hope and change. He promised jobs, good governance and economic recovery.
He also offered a way to judge his presidency. He said Democrats "measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma."
By that standard, we have not seen progress under Mr. Obama. Twenty-three million of our fellow Americans are struggling for work. The unemployment rate, which has been above 8 percent for 42 straight months, is higher than it was when Mr. Obama took office. After nearly four years, Americans are not better off.
Mr. Obama promised to change Washington. He promised to end the days of bitter partisanship and business as usual. Yet, unlike Mr. Romney, he never showed any serious interest in working across the aisle. He has no bipartisan accomplishments to point to. His liberal big-government agenda drove his presidency, and his presidency drove us in the wrong direction.
After promising to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term, the president instead added $5 trillion to the national debt. He has racked up a massive bill for our children to pay off. What do we have to show for all that spending and borrowing? Americans are still trying to figure that out.
From raiding Medicare to fund Obamacare to spending billions in taxpayer dollars to pay off political cronies, Mr. Obama has not put the interests of Americans first. As a result, he has no record of accomplishment on which to run. So his campaign resorted to a despicable divide-and-conquer strategy devoid of any positive vision.
They refuse to condemn a Super PAC ad attempting to use a woman's death for political gain. They concocted a phony "War on Women" to cover over their record of leaving women worse off in the Obama economy. The candidate in 2008 who promised to "walk the walk" has become the hypocritical president who only talks the talk.
It's time for a president and vice president who know how to lead, who have a proven record of getting results. That president is Mitt Romney. His running mate, my friend Paul Ryan, is known and respected inside and outside of Washington for his seriousness and dedication to meaningful reform. Contrast that to the president's running mate, known everywhere for his gaffes and insensitivity.
Romney and Ryan are America's Comeback Team. Both bring experience and a wealth of expertise on the issues. Most importantly, they bring a plan. To get Americans working again, they will focus on five key components: achieving North American energy independence, responsibly reducing the deficit, ensuring workers have the education and skills they need, empowering small businesses, and pursuing trade that works for America.
In addition to that, they are committed to solving one of the most pressing challenges of our time: saving Medicare. Once again, unlike Mr. Obama, Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan have a plan to protect Medicare for today's seniors and strengthen it for future generations. Mr. Obama's plan lets it go bankrupt in 2024.
The differences in this election are stark. Mr. Romney has solutions to our problems. Mr. Obama would continue making our problems worse.
Americans all agree that we can and must do better than the last four years. The way to do that is not re-electing the president who has presided over these difficult years. As our convention will make clear, the answer is choosing a president who has a proven track record and a plan for the future.
Reince Priebus is chairman of the Republican National Committee.