ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
Today, we bring you yet another sound from the campaign trail, the stump speech. We're highlighting each of the Republican presidential candidates' speeches this week. And Mitt Romney is up next. He stopped by the Elks Club in Littleton, New Hampshire last week. Romney said America is at a juncture and needs to decide what kind of nation it wants to be.
MITT ROMNEY: We have increasingly insisted upon a government that tries to guide the private sector, just like it's tried to guide our lives. I think that you're seeing a president who fundamentally believes we should be more like Europe, with an entitlement society. By that I mean a society where government takes from some and gives to others; tries to make everybody the same. And the only people who do well in that kind of society are the people who work for government.
That welfare society, entitlement society is, in my view, something which is growing in this country and is making us more like Europe and less like America.
I believe in something I'll call an opportunity society, a merit society where people, based upon their education and their hard work and their risk-taking, are able to earn rewards. And by virtue of doing so, they employ the rest of us, lift the entire nation's prosperity and allow us, incidentally, to defend ourselves.
It was that vision that the Founders brought to America. When they crafted the Declaration of Independence, they said that the Creator endowed us with certain unalienable rights. Among them: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That last phrase, we may not think about terribly much, but I think it's an important one.
This would be a nation where we would be allowed to pursue happiness in the way we choose.
SIEGEL: That's Mitt Romney on the campaign trail in Littleton, New Hampshire.
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