Mitt Romney is to give the commencement speech Saturday at Virginia's Liberty University, an influential Christian university. Friday, his campaign released excerpts of that address, which focus largely on family.
The speech is being closely watched in political circles, because evengelical voters have been cool to Romney, a Mormon, throughout the primary season.
Here are some excerpts from his Saturday remarks:
"I’m not sure quite why, but lately I’ve found myself thinking about life in four-year stretches. And let’s just say that not everybody has filled these past four years with as much achievement as you have.
"That’s a theme for another day, except for this reminder to you and other graduates across our country: Although opportunities seem scarce in this economy, it is not for nothing that you have spent this time preparing. America needs your talent and your energy, all the more now that our country’s in a tough spot. For you and so many young Americans, our current troubles can be discouraging. You are ready for jobs that were supposed to be ready for you.
"Millions wait on the day when there are jobs for everyone willing to work, and opportunities to match your hopes and your goals. But don’t lose heart, because that day is coming."
He plans to also say "In the most practical, everyday terms, the best cultural assets are values as basic as personal responsibility, the dignity of hard work, and, above all, the commitments of family. Take those away, or take them for granted, and so many things can go wrong in a life. Keep them strong, and so many things will go right.
"In this life, of course, the commitments that come closest to forever are those of family. Maybe you’ve heard that Ann and I have a pretty large family, and I’m sure glad I like having grandchildren because every time I turn around there’s more of them. Two more arrived last week, twin boys David and William, which brings us to eighteen grandchildren we have welcomed into the world.
"Their great-grandfather, my Dad George Romney, was successful by any measure you’d care to apply. I asked him once, 'What was your greatest accomplishment?' Without a moment’s pause, his answer was, 'Raising you four kids.'
"I had his example to follow, and I have never once regretted missing any experience or opportunity in business in order to be with my wife and five sons. Regrets usually come the other way around, from missing moments with your children that don’t come again. The same holds true for time with your parents as the years fall away. Among the things in life that can be put off, being there when it matters most isn’t one of them."