ON NOV. 6, Americans will face a clear choice about the future direction of this country.
In deciding whether to re-elect President Barack Obama or move forward with Gov. Mitt Romney, voters must decide whose vision best reflects our nation's historic principles, whose plans provide the best solutions for the problems we face today, and whose experience best prepares them to meet the unknown challenges that lie ahead.
Gov. Romney has demonstrated, through his success in the private and public sector, that he possesses the leadership and management skills to bring this country together, engineer an economic turnaround and strengthen our role on the international stage. He inspires confidence, through the values evident in his personal life and as a man of deep faith, that he will lead us through these difficult times with compassion and fairness.
We commend Gov. Romney to voters and urge his election as the next president of the United States.
On the central issue now facing voters -- the question of who can best revive and grow the economy -- we believe Gov. Romney will succeed where President Obama has faltered. The array of statistics that measure economic activity point to what has been, at best, a period of little if any improvement in the face of the worst economic slowdown since the Great Depression.
Underlying every encouraging benchmark is a more somber and realistic assessment signaling the need for change.
After four years of the current administration, the unemployment rate is no better now at 7.8 percent than when the president took office. That benchmark -- getting back to the level of 2008 -- was achieved only recently after 43 consecutive months when unemployment was higher than 8 percent. More than anything, the lower rate indicates that people have given up looking for work. In August, labor force participation was only 63.5 percent, the lowest rate since 1981.
Median household income has declined $4,000 during the last four years, and the poverty rate has risen to 15.1 percent, the highest since 1993.
While it is true that the president inherited a terrible economy when he took office, his priorities have been misguided and his policies have been ineffective.
His focus on health care reform early in his presidency diverted attention from pressing economic problems. When he addressed the economy, his solution was a $787 billion stimulus plan that fell well short of the administration's own goals. That occurred in large part because the plan failed to target areas like transportation and infrastructure that are proven and immediate job creators, focusing instead on areas unlikely to spur immediate job growth.
Voters can best answer the question about economic progress by asking whether they are more financially secure and feel more confident about employment opportunities than they did four years ago. The answer for most Americans will be no, underscoring the need for new leadership in the White House.
Change will be hard to achieve in a political climate marked by deep divisions in Congress that have led to gridlock. For progress to occur, paralysis must give way to compromise -- and Gov. Romney offers the best opportunity to make that happen.
That is evident from his tenure as governor of Massachusetts where, working with a Legislature that was overwhelmingly Democratic, he rebuilt an economy shattered by the 2001 national recession -- without tax increases -- while implementing sweeping reforms in education and health care.
In leading Massachusetts, Gov. Romney established himself as an effective, forward-thinking leader, a pragmatic problem-solver who can be expected to apply those same skills as president to restore the nation to a sound fiscal footing.
These attributes were evident when he rescued the 2002 Winter Olympics from scandal and debt, and -- prior to that -- in the success of Bain Capital, the investment firm he founded in 1984.
With those qualities, Gov. Romney is the nation's best hope for a way forward from flawed policies that have stalled economic recovery, plunged the nation deeper into debt and imperiled the dreams of a better life for future generations.
That progress, with Gov. Romney, will come through policies that honor self-reliance and initiative, strengthen the safety net for those in need, and focus on improving the quality of life for all Americans.
It is important for voters to recognize that Gov. Romney and President Obama are honorable men who genuinely care about the future of the country. But their different visions of that future and the role of government lead to very different solutions that offer voters clear choices.
The best choice for president, for America's future, is Gov. Mitt Romney and we strongly commend him to voters.