Good evening and thank you for your kind welcome.
It's an enormous privilege to speak to you tonight. As a young girl growing up on Long Island, as a wife and mother who raised two boys in my beautiful home state of California, and even as President and CEO of a Fortune 500 company, I never dreamed I'd have the honor of speaking to my fellow Americans at such a critical moment in our nation's history.
When I was growing up, opportunities for women were still limited.
When I went to college and graduate school, I lived in environments that had just recently admitted women, and were still getting used to having us around.
And when I began my business career, female executives were still a novelty.
Many of our male colleagues questioned whether we'd make it. But my parents, especially my mom, inspired me.
She'd constantly remind me that I could be anything I wanted to be, I just had to earn it.
Mom believed in me, as any mother does.
She also believed in America.
She knew if I worked hard and delivered the results, I would succeed in this remarkable nation.
And so, from an early age, I was an optimist about America.
America is a nation fueled by freedom, with an abiding sense of justice and fairness, guided by the spirit that we should all have the opportunity to achieve our greatest dreams.
And I am a Republican because our party understands that America's success - the success of her people - comes not from the size of its government, but from the character of its citizens... the strength of its communities... and the nobility and truth of its ideals.
Tonight delegates from this convention will choose our nominee.
We are proudly the party of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan - and today, we are proudly the party of John McCain.
I've known Senator McCain for several years.
And the more I've gotten to know John, the more my admiration for him has grown.
John's pride in America and his belief in its spirit are electrifying.
And I can say with certainty that when he's sitting in the Oval Office - in every decision he makes - President McCain will put his country first.
For John, putting country first is the calling of a lifetime.
He lives by a code of honor unmatched by anyone in American politics.
And on the most important duty we place on a president - John is more prepared to lead than any person in America.
America faces enormous challenges abroad - but we also face great challenges here at home.
It would be foolish to deny what we all know to be true.
Our economy is struggling and Americans are hurting. We live in a time of economic anxiety and hardships.
The cost of everything from gasoline to groceries to health care has gone up, while the value of our homes and our investments has gone down.
Mortgages once thought to be safe are now threatened, and industries that were once strong are now dying. Since John began his campaign he's heard the concern in your voices and your stories - the stories of hardworking Americans who believe that politicians are out of touch and out of ideas. That may be true of some politicians ... but it's not true of John McCain. John's a different breed.
He understands hardship in a way that few of us have ever known.
And, as he has shown this week in supporting the great people of the Gulf States, he has a unique ability to identify with those who face their own struggles.
Most important of all, Senator McCain and Governor Sarah Palin - the real agents of change in this campaign - have solutions for the challenges we face.
In its first 100 days, a McCain administration will put this nation on a path toward energy independence.
John is a man with extraordinary determination - and he will use that quality to push relentlessly for the right energy policies - from lifting the ban on off-shore drilling, to building more nuclear reactors, to promoting conservation and alternative forms of energy.
Energy independence will stop massive amounts of money from going to our enemies abroad; it will lower gas prices at home; and it will reduce the harm to our planet's climate.
Energy independence must be our generation's moon shot - and John McCain and Sarah Palin will lead us in that historic effort.
Senator McCain and Governor Palin will also lead us in another vital effort: lowering your taxes.
In his first 100 days in office, they will put forward proposals to double the size of the child tax exemption, putting more money in your pockets.
They will push Congress to reduce business taxes, so that entrepreneurs and especially small business have the money they need to expand and create jobs.
They will offer tax incentives to every individual and family in America to buy health insurance.
And John McCain and Sarah Palin will simplify our mind-numbing tax code, so that filling out your taxes is not a dreaded annual nightmare.
Our Democratic opponents view raising taxes as the measure of their compassion and fairness.
John understands the truth.
Higher taxes encourage wasteful spending, demonstrate government's inability to choose among competing priorities, and destroy your prosperity.
As President, John McCain will be guided by the simple beliefs that having worked long hours to earn your money, you should keep more of it; and that government shouldn't spend more than it takes in.
The same kind of frank, common-sense conversations every American family has - about the need to balance the check-book, living within your means, and tightening the belt during hard times - are the conversations John will have with Members of Congress.
Now, Republicans know that John's solutions rest on a set of principles that are true and tested and enduring.
Foremost among them is his belief that there is no challenge that cannot be overcome by individual freedom.
Government has a vital role to play in the life of our country. And it should be effective and efficient in meeting those fundamental responsibilities.
But Republicans understand that government does not create wealth or prosperity - individuals do.
America is all about the inspired individual - men and women who are free to pursue dreams and ambitions in a society that encourages creativity, industry, advancement, and risk taking.
John McCain doesn't want to tax success and achievement, he wants to encourage it.
He doesn't want to redistribute our national wealth, he wants to increase it.
He doesn't want more big government, he wants much more self-government.
John McCain understands that you know what's best for your money, your family, your community, and your life.
John's principles run like a golden thread throughout our history.
This has made America's story the greatest and proudest and most hopeful of any in history.
Make no mistake - Americans today face tough challenges.
Sometimes there is a temptation for us, having borne freedom's burden for so long, to grow tired.
But when Americans have faced their greatest hardships, they have written history's greatest chapters.
We're going to do so again.
The solutions to the problems of our time are found in the ingenuity, spirit, determination, and decency of the American people.
All we need is a leader who recognizes this and who can, by virtue of his character and his love of country, call us to do great things.
When the American people cast their vote for the candidate they believe can best protect our nation, restore our standing in the world, and expand prosperity and opportunity to every willing heart, they will do as they have done in the past - they will put country first.
They will choose John McCain as our next President.
Thank you very much!