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Highlights from speakers at the Republican National Convention Wednesday

Published: Monday, Aug. 31 2015 9:42 a.m. MDT

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012.  (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) (Charles Dharapak, ASSOCIATED PRESS) Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) (Charles Dharapak, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., kicked off the Wednesday night session of the Republican National Convention, saying that it doesn't occur to Americans that someone else should solve their problems.

"Americans take pride in solving problems themselves, and if we fail, we get back up and try again," McConnell said. "It's what we do. It's who we are."

President Barack Obama may want to give up on the problems America faces, McConnell said, but the American people don't.

"It's a choice about who we are," he said. "Are we still a country that takes risks, that innovates, that believes anything is possible? Or are we a country that is resigned to whatever liberty the government decides to dish out?"

Arizona Senator John McCain gestures as he walks up to the podium during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012.  (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) (Charles Dharapak, ASSOCIATED PRESS) Arizona Senator John McCain gestures as he walks up to the podium during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) (Charles Dharapak, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

McConnell also said he often tells students the only way to fail in America is to quit.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

Citing the "you didn't build that line" said by President Obama during a campaign stop in Roanoke, Va., Paul said that the statement angered him, then made him sad that anyone, particularly a president, could believe that roads create business success and not the other way around.

"Anyone who so fundamentally misunderstands American greatness is unqualified to lead this great nation," Paul said.

American inventiveness and the desire to build was developed because American citizens are guaranteed the right to their own creations, and individuals are the engine of America's greatness Paul said.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., reacts to the delegates during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)  (J. Scott Applewhite, AP) Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., reacts to the delegates during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (J. Scott Applewhite, AP)

Paul also said that Republicans and Democrats must be willing to slay their sacred cows in order to get government spending out of control. He said that Republicans must acknowledge that not very dollar spent on the military is necessary or well spent, while Democrats must admit that domestic welfare and entitlements must be reformed.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

Four years after becoming the Republican presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain returned to the Republican National Convention, focusing his speech on America's role in the world and what he sees as President Obama's shortcomings in foreign policy

America is being tested by an array of threats more complex, more numerous and just as deep and deadly as he can recall, McCain said. This election is a consequential choice, where Americans can choose a "declining path," or to reform the government and renew the foundations of U.S. power and leadership around the world.

Arizona Senator John McCain gestures as he walks up to the podium during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012.  (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)  (Charles Dharapak, AP) Arizona Senator John McCain gestures as he walks up to the podium during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) (Charles Dharapak, AP)

We can't afford to cause our friends and allies to doubt America's leadership, McCain said, and the nation must return to its tradition of providing leadership and support to those who face down tyranny from oppressors and enemies.

"I trust Mitt Romney to know that an American president always, always, always stands up for the rights and freedoms of all people," he said.

Sen. John Thune, S.D.

Sen. Thune opened his speech with a joke, saying Obama would be easy to defend in basketball because he always goes to the left, before going on to discuss the struggles small businesses and farmers are facing in the current economic climate.

The American dream is in serious jeopardy, Thune said, and big government bureaucrats have their sights set on the American way of life.

A group of delegates cheer during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) (Charles Dharapak, ASSOCIATED PRESS) A group of delegates cheer during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) (Charles Dharapak, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Despite all of the president's talk about the middle class, middle class incomes are down, health insurance premiums are up, fuel costs have doubles, college costs have gone up, the number of people of food stamps has increased, the national debt has gone up and the nation has had 42 months of unemployment above 8 percent, Thune said.

"Folks, we won't be in this situation with Mitt Romney in the White House," he said.

"May it never be said of us that when confronted with the economic peril before us, that we averted our eyes, turned away and did nothing," Thune said. "Our children's future depends on our willingness to act and our decision to elect Mitt Romney president of the United States."

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012.  (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) (Charles Dharapak, ASSOCIATED PRESS) Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) (Charles Dharapak, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Sen. Portman, who was rumored to be one of Romney's picks for the vice president slot, spoke about knocking down barriers abroad and at home in order to spur job creation and get the economy moving again.

The U.S. needs to knock down barriers to trade abroad, Portman said, but also needs to knock down the self-imposed barriers to success at home, such as an outdated tax code, huge regulatory burdens and a flawed energy policy. The president seeks to redistribute the economy, but Romney seeks to grow it, he said.

"We cannot afford four more years," Portman said. "How about, no more years?"

Portman also discussed the American dream, sharing the story of how his father built a small business, and ho free men and women around the nation have similarly bult businesses by being willing to take risks and build something of value.

Pages prepares signs before distributing them to delegates at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) (Jae C. Hong, ASSOCIATED PRESS) Pages prepares signs before distributing them to delegates at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) (Jae C. Hong, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

"We need new leadership and new policies to bring back the dream and renew America's promise," Portman said. "No more excuses. No more blaming others. No more waiting."

Gov. Luis Fortuno, Puerto Rico

Fortuno, who endorsed Romney early in the primary process, spoke to the convention about the greatness that lies within each American, and hos government can help provide a chance for individuals to harness that greatness.

As families have tightened their budgets, Washington has not, Fortuno said. However, he added, there is a better way, and Republican governors across the nation are proving that to be the case.

Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, shakes hands with delegates from his state during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) (Charlie Neibergall, ASSOCIATED PRESS) Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, shakes hands with delegates from his state during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) (Charlie Neibergall, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

When he took power in Puerto Rico, Fortuno said, it was on the brink of bankruptcy. Since then, his administration has cut government expenses, starting with his own salary, and has lowered taxes and reduced the deficit while investing in schools, highways and hospitals.

"Imagine if we had national policies that support rather than prevent growth," Fortuno said. "We'd be able to truly unleash the engine of prosperity that our country and our people deserve."

Tim Pawlenty

Romney's mild former presidential opponent came out swinging Wednesday, cracking jokes about the president while driving home his point about the relationship between government and job creators.

It's hard to decide which of the president's decisions have been worse, Pawlenty said — the stimulus, his energy policy, his taxes, or Joe Biden.

"Barack Obama is the first president to create more excuses than jobs," he said.

Pawlenty called Obama a "tattoo president," saying he seemed cool when voters were younger, but now that they're older they look at it and wonder, "What was I thinking?" He also joked the hard part would be explaining it to your children.

The president will spend his time at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., next week trying to convince voters to give him more time and more money.

"Sorry Mr. President," Pawlenty said. "But you're out of time and we're out of money.

Mike Huckabee

Although Huckabee was Romney's opponent in the 2008 GOP primaries, he may have helped Romney clinch the Evangelical vote with his speech at the convention Wednesday, which touched on the battle over contraception coverage and mentioned Romney's devotion to his religion.

For four years, the U.S. gave a chance to a man with very limited experience in government and no experience in business whatsoever, Huckabee said, but today, "we know full well we can do better."

The Obama administration's requirement that Catholics be required to cover birth control and some abortifacients, despite such things being against their religious beliefs, is an attack on all religions, Huckabee said.

On the subject of Romney's religion, Huckbee said, "I care far less as to where Mitt Romney takes his family to church than I do about where he takes this country."

He cited Romney's donations to charity as an example of his religious convictions, and said, "'d feel better about having a leader who gives more of his own money instead of mine."

While Democrats may say the president should get credit for trying, Huckabee said that sounded like "the nonsense of giving every kid a trophy for showing up."

"Friends, we're talking about leading the country, not playing on a third-grade soccer team," Huckabee said. "I realize this is the man who got a Nobel Peace Prize for what he would potentially do, but in the real world, you get the prize for producing something, not just promising it."

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