RNC Wrap-Up

September 4, 2012 By Zach Silberman

For a photos and videos of the USGLC’s RNC event, click here.

At their convention in Tampa last week, Republicans took the opportunity to highlight their vision of American leadership in the world.  Much talk has been made about the role of foreign policy in the election, so we’ve pulled together some of the key quotes from the events and convention below.


Key Foreign Policy Events

In a panel the USGLC co-hosted with ONE and the International Republican Institute, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) who chairs the State-Foreign Operations Subcommittee, former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Connie Newman, and former White House advisor Michael Gerson highlighted the Republican legacy on foreign assistance.  The panel, moderated by former White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten, and highlighted the national security, economic, and moral arguments for America’s global leadership and development and diplomacy.  Key Quotes:

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

“This is a 1% that is well spent.”

“Some of the best work, clearly all the work…couldn’t be done without the allegiance of civil society, religious faith-based groups that are the arms of compassion. If the government can partner with citizens who want to do that work, why wouldn’t we?”

Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX)

“Instead of saying we give you money, the MCC said how can you have accountability. We’ll take these steps, you take these steps. And it’s effective. Outcomes, results, absolutely. That’s why it’s got bipartisan support. It’s our job to tell that story so we don’t change the original goal of results and outcome, then we can explain it to audiences like this and audiences who don’t believe in it.”

Former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Connie Newman

“The best way to talk about this is to give an example of one of the countries that benefitted from the challenge: Ghana… Here we have a country that was one of the compact countries, the Millennium Challenge [Corporation] countries, that had not the most serious HIV/AIDS, but had it as a concern. A country that matched the test of the Millennium Challenge. It did insist on investing in its people. It took seriously the economic review of procedures. Ghana now is a serious trading partner with the U.S. It’s a great partnership for us to ensure security around the world.”

Michael Gerson

“It’s important to make the case that this is about an altruistic add on to American foreign policy. It [foreign assistance] reflects American values. It’s an issue where our value and interests coincide pretty much perfectly.”

A second panel, moderated by Fox News Analyst KT McFarland discussed the U.S. role in the world in a potential Romney administration.  Panelists included Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Romney foreign policy advisors Paula Dobriansky, Mitchell Reiss, and Rich Williamson. Key quotes:

Rich Williamson

“Governor Romney has made clear a handful of principles. One is a deep belief in American exceptionalism, including the values on which we were founded…That means leading using the full box of foreign policy tools. And they range from boots on the ground to a whole range of diplomatic, economic, financial assistance including being a leader on agriculture sustainability around the world.”

“More impact on economic development in the world comes from the private sector. The charitable contributions of the U.S. people especially through faith-based dwarfs our foreign aid.”

Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)

“The more we are engaged overseas, particularly in the USAID budget, what President Bush did in Africa is not only reflective of our values but gave us strong relationships.”

“The things President Bush did in Africa not only reflected our values, but created stronger relationships there.”

Paula Dobriansky

“Free trade does definitively matter. Not just good for the U.S., but as many representatives in this audience know, it matters to other countries. It’s a win-win. Not just for our national interest, but for other countries particularly about those developing countries. It gives them opportunities.”

“The private sector has given greater access in U.S. government, getting anti-retrovirals to very rural areas. It’s also the private sector that has a face, it is the face of the U.S. abroad in many ways.”

Mitchell Reiss

“As much development aid we could deliver, and it’s important because it’s consistent with our American values to help others, the Millennium Challenge corporation told the private sector to tell organizations they could invest in these countries.”

Romney Advisors on National Security

The International Republican Institute hosted a discussion of American national security with key Romney foreign policy surrogates, including former Sens. Jim Talent (R-MO), Norm Coleman (R-MN), former Reps. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) and Vin Weber (R-MN), and Rich Williamson. In addition, the Foreign Policy Initiative hosted an event where Romney co-chair former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) talked about restoring American leadership in the world with Weekly Standard editor William Kristol. Key quotes:

Jim Talent

“Governor Romney is a big believer in civilian tools of American influence.”

Rich Williamson

“Foreign assistance is good and useful instrument in American toolbox and we can do better.”

Tim Pawlenty

“First of all, my party has a wing or a portion of it that is trending towards isolationism and is trending towards being very hostile towards foreign aid and development monies. I think my personal view of that is that is directionally not correct. For the modest amount of money that is on the table — doesn’t mean it can’t be reformed and we can’t scrutinize it — but for the modest amount of money we’re talking about and the important role that it plays in terms of America’s position and role in the world, I think it’s important to preserve and maintain that commitment.”

RNC Convention Speeches

Gov. Mitt Romney:  In his speech to accept the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney emphasized the importance of free trade and employing American leadership abroad.

Key Quotes:

“We will make trade work for America by forging new trade agreements. And when nations cheat in trade, there will be unmistakable consequences.”

“We will honor America’s democratic ideals because a free world is a more peaceful world. This is the bipartisan foreign policy legacy of Truman and Reagan. And under my presidency we will return to it once again.”

“The America we all know has been a story of the many becoming one, uniting to preserve liberty, uniting to build the greatest economy in the world, uniting to save the world from unspeakable darkness.”

Rep. Paul Ryan:  Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan used his remarks on Wednesday to focus on domestic issues and the economic situation in the country.  He did touch on a potential Romney-Ryan administration’s support for democracy around the world.

Key Quotes:

“And in our dealings with other nations, a Romney-Ryan administration will speak with confidence and clarity. Whenever men and women rise up for their own freedom, they will know that the American president is on their side. Instead—instead of managing American decline, leaving allies to doubt us and adversaries to test us, we will act in the conviction that the United States is still the greatest force for peace and liberty that this world has ever known.”

Condoleezza Rice :  In her primetime address, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke at length about the importance of U.S. global leadership and made the case for the continuation of U.S. global engagement.  Rice highlighted how it is “rewarding” for the U.S. to speak up for those that do not have a voice and argued that foreign assistance – “together with the compassionate works of private charities – people of conscience and people of faith – has shown the soul of our country.”

Key Quotes:

“I know too that it has not always been easy – though it has been rewarding – to speak up for those who would otherwise be without a voice – the religious dissident in China; the democracy advocate in Venezuela; the political prisoner in Iran.

“It has been hard to muster the resources to support fledgling democracies– or to help the world’s most desperate – the AIDS orphan in Uganda, the refugee fleeing Zimbabwe, the young woman who has been trafficked into the sex trade in Southeast Asia; the world’s poorest in Haiti. Yet this assistance – together with the compassionate works of private charities – people of conscience and people of faith – has shown the soul of our country.

“And I know too that there is weariness – a sense that we have carried these burdens long enough. But if we are not inspired to lead again, one of two things will happen – no one will lead and that will foster chaos—or others who do not share our values will fill the vacuum. My fellow Americans, we do not have a choice. We cannot be reluctant to lead – and one cannot lead from behind.”

Senator John McCain:  Senator John McCain spoke on Wednesday night as part of “national security night” at the convention where he discussed America’s role in the world.  During his remarks, he noted that America “can’t afford to abandon the cause of human freedom.”

Key Quotes:

“In other times, when other courageous people fought for their freedom against sworn enemies of the United States, American presidents, both Republicans and Democrats, have acted to help them prevail.

“We must return to our best traditions of American leadership and support those who face down the brutal tyranny of their oppressors and our enemies.”

“The demand for our leadership in the world has never been greater.  People don’t want less of America, they want more.”

Gov. Mike Huckabee:  Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, praised the work of humanitarian assistance.

Key Quotes:

“I’ve worked with Bono for the past few years in the ONE campaign to fight AIDS and hunger and disease around the world…He reminded me that we are an exceptional nation with an extraordinary history who owes it to the generations coming after us to leave them an extraordinary legacy.”