Full Text DNC Day 4, July 28, 2016: Hillary Clinton’s Speech Accepting the Nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN & ELECTIONS

2016

Hillary Clinton’s Speech Accepting the Democratic Nomination

Source: Time, 7-28-16

Thank you. Thank you so much.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you. Thank you all so much.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: Thank you! Thank you!

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you all very, very much! Thank you for that amazing welcome!

Thank you all for the great convention that we’ve had.

(APPLAUSE)

And Chelsea, thank you. I am so proud to be your mother and so proud of the woman you’ve become. Thank you for bringing Mark into our family and Charlotte and Aidan into the world.

And Bill, that conversation we started in the law library 45 years ago…

(APPLAUSE)

…it is still going strong.

AUDIENCE: Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!

You know, that conversation has lasted through good times that filled us with joy and hard times that tested us. And I’ve even gotten a few words in along the way.

(APPLAUSE)

On Tuesday night I was so happy to see that my “explainer in chief” is still on the job.

I’m also grateful to the rest of my family and to the friends of a lifetime.

To all of you whose hard work brought us here tonight and to those of you who joined this campaign this week, thank you. What a remarkable week it’s been!

(APPLAUSE)

We heard the man from Hope, Bill Clinton, and the man of hope, Barack Obama. (APPLAUSE)

America is stronger because of President Obama’s leadership. And I’m better because of his friendship.

(APPLAUSE)

We heard from our terrific vice president, the one and only Joe Biden.

(APPLAUSE)

He spoke from his big heart about our party’s commitment to working people as only he can do.

And first lady Michelle Obama reminded us…

(APPLAUSE)

…that our children are watching. And the president we elect is going to be their president, too.

And for those of you out there who are just getting to know Tim Kaine…

(APPLAUSE)

…you will soon understand why the people of Virginia keep promoting him from city council and mayor to governor and now senator. And he will make our whole country proud as our vice president.

(APPLAUSE)

And I want to thank Bernie Sanders.

(APPLAUSE)

Bernie, your campaign inspired millions of Americans, particularly the young people who threw their hearts and souls into our primary.

(APPLAUSE)

You’ve put economic and social justice issues front and center where they belong.

(APPLAUSE)

And to all of your supporters here and around the country, I want you to know I’ve heard you. Your cause is our cause.

(APPLAUSE)

Our country needs your ideas, energy and passion. That is the only way we can turn our progressive platform into real change for America. (APPLAUSE)

We wrote it together, now let’s go out and make it happen together!

(APPLAUSE)

My friends, we’ve come to Philadelphia, the birthplace of our nation, because what happened in this city 240 years ago still has something to teach us today. We all know the story, but we usually focus on how it turned out and not enough on how close that story came to never being written at all.

When representatives from 13 unruly colonies met just down the road from here, some wanted to stick with the king and some wanted to stick it to the king.

(LAUGHTER)

The Revolution hung in the balance, and somehow they began listening to each other, compromising, finding common purpose. And by the time they left Philadelphia, they had begun to see themselves as one nation. That’s what made it possible to stand up to a king. That took courage, they had courage. Our Founders embraced the enduring truth that we are stronger together.

(APPLAUSE)

Now America is once again at a moment of reckoning. Powerful forces are threatening to pull us apart. Bonds of trust and respect are fraying. And just as with our Founders, there are no guarantees. It truly is up to us. We have to decide whether we will all work together so we can all rise together.

(APPLAUSE)

Our country’s motto is E Pluribus Unum, out of many we are one. Will we stay true to that motto?

Well, we heard Donald Trump’s answer last week at his convention. He wants to divide us from the rest of the world and from each other. He’s betting that the perils of today’s world will blind us to its unlimited promise. He’s taken the Republican Party a long way, from morning in America to midnight in America.

He wants us to fear the future and fear each other. Well, you know, a great Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt came up with the perfect rebuke to Trump more than 80 years ago during a much more perilous time: The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!

(APPLAUSE)

Now, we are clear-eyed about what our country is up against. But we are not afraid. We will rise to the challenge just as we always have. We will not build a wall; instead, we will build an economy where everyone who wants a good job can get one. (APPLAUSE)

And we’ll build a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants who are already contributing to our economy.

(APPLAUSE)

We will not ban a religion. We will work with all Americans and our allies to fight and defeat terrorism.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: Yet, we know there is a lot to do. Too many people haven’t had a pay raise since the crash. There’s too much inequality, too little social mobility, too much paralysis in Washington.

Too many threats at home and abroad. But just look for a minute at the strengths we bring as Americans to meet these challenges.

We have the most dynamic and diverse people in the world.

(APPLAUSE)

We have the most tolerant and generous young people we’ve ever had.

(APPLAUSE)

We have the most powerful military, the most innovative entrepreneurs, the most enduring values, freedom and equality, justice and opportunity, we should be so proud that those words are associated with us.

AUDIENCE: Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!

I have to tell you, as your secretary of state I went to 112 countries. When people hear those words, they hear America!

(APPLAUSE)

So don’t let anyone tell you that our country is weak. We’re not. Don’t let anyone tell you we don’t have what it takes. We do. And most of all, don’t believe anyone who says I alone can fix it.

(APPLAUSE)

Yes, those were actually Donald Trump’s words in Cleveland. And they should set off alarm bells for all of us. Really? I alone can fix it? Isn’t he forgetting troops on the front lines, police officers and firefighters who run toward danger, doctors and nurses who care for us, teachers who change lives, entrepreneurs who see possibilities in every problem, mothers who lost children to violence and are building a movement to keep other kids safe? He’s forgetting every last one of us.

Americans don’t say “I alone can fix it.” We say “we’ll fix it together!”

(APPLAUSE)

And remember, remember, our Founders fought a Revolution and wrote a Constitution so America would never be a nation where one person had all the power.

(APPLAUSE)

240 years later, we still put our faith in each other. Look at what happened in Dallas after the assassinations of five brave police officers. Police Chief David Brown asked the community to support his force, maybe even join them. And you know how the community responded? Nearly 500 people applied in just 12 days.

(APPLAUSE)

That’s how Americans answer when the call for help goes out.

Twenty years ago I wrote a book called “It Takes a Village.” And a lot of people looked at the title and asked, what the heck do you mean by that? This is what I mean. None of us can raise a family, build a business, heal a community or lift a country totally alone.

(APPLAUSE)

America needs every one of us to lend our energy, our talents, our ambition to making our nation better and stronger. I believe that with all my heart. That’s why “stronger together” is not just a lesson from our history, it’s not just a slogan for our campaign, it’s a guiding principle for the country we’ve always been and the future we’re going to build, a country where the economy works for everyone, not just those at the top.

(APPLAUSE)

Where you can get a good job and send your kids to a good school, no matter what ZIP code you live in. A country where all our children can dream and those dreams are within reach, where families are strong, communities are safe and, yes, where love trumps hate.

(APPLAUSE)

That’s the country we’re fighting for. That’s the future we’re working toward. And so, my friends, it is with humility, determination and boundless confidence in America’s promise that I accept your nomination for president of the United States!

(APPLAUSE)

Now, sometimes — sometimes — the people at this podium are new to the national stage. As you know, I’m not one of those people. I’ve been your first lady, served eight years as a senator from the great state of New York…

(APPLAUSE) …then I represented all of you as secretary of state.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: But my job titles only tell you what I’ve done. They don’t tell you why. The truth is, through all these years of public service, the service part has always come easier to me than the public part.

I get it that some people just don’t know what to make of me.

(LAUGHTER)

So let me tell you. The family I’m from, well, no one had their name on big buildings. My family were builders of a different kind, builders in the way most American families are. They used whatever tools they had, whatever God gave them and whatever life in America provided and built better lives and better futures for their kids.

My grandfather worked in the same Scranton lace mill for 50 years.

(APPLAUSE)

Because he believed that if he gave everything he had, his children would have a better life than he did. And he was right. My dad, Hugh, made it to college, he played football at Penn State and enlisted in the Navy after Pearl Harbor. When the war was over, he started his own small business printing fabric for draperies. I remember watching him stand for hours over silkscreens. He wanted to give my brothers and me opportunities he never had, and he did.

My mother, Dorothy, was abandoned by her parents as a young girl. She ended up on her own at 14 working as a housemaid. She was saved by the kindness of others. Her first-grade teacher saw she had nothing to eat at lunch, and brought extra food to share the entire year.

The lessons she passed on to me years later stuck with me. No one gets through life alone. We have to look out for each other and lift each other up. And she made sure I learned the words from our Methodist faith: Do all the good you can for all the people you can in all the ways you can as long as ever you can.

(APPLAUSE)

So I went to work for the Children’s Defense Fund, going door-to- door in New Bedford, Massachusetts… (APPLAUSE)

…on behalf of children with disabilities who were denied the chance to go to school. I remember meeting a young girl in a wheelchair on the small back porch of her house. She told me how badly she wanted to go to school. It just didn’t seem possible in those days. And I couldn’t stop thinking of my mother and what she’d gone through as a child.

It became clear to me that simply caring is not enough. To drive real progress, you have to change both hearts and laws. You need both understanding and action.

(APPLAUSE)

So we gathered facts, we built a coalition and our work helped convince Congress to ensure access to education for all students with disabilities. It’s a big idea, isn’t it? Every kid with a disability has the right to go to school.

(APPLAUSE)

But how? How do you make an idea like that real? You do it step by step, year by year, sometimes even door by door. My heart just swelled when I saw Anastasia Somoza representing millions of young people on this stage.

(APPLAUSE)

Because we changed our law to make sure she got an education. So it’s true. I sweat the details of policy, whether we’re talking about the exact level of lead in the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, the number of mental health facilities in Iowa or the cost of your prescription drugs.

(APPLAUSE)

Because it’s not just a detail if it’s your kid, if it’s your family. It’s a big deal. And it should be a big deal to you president, too.

(APPLAUSE)

After the four days of this convention, you’ve seen some of the people who have inspired me, people who let me into their lives and became a part of mine, people like Ryan Moore and Lauren Manning. They told their stories Tuesday night.

I first met Ryan as a 7-year old. He was wearing a full-body brace that must have weighed 40 pounds because I leaned over to lift him up. Children like Ryan kept me going when our plan for universal health care failed and kept me working with leaders of both parties to help create the Children’s Health Insurance Program that covers 8 million kids in our country.

(APPLAUSE) Lauren Manning, who stood here with such grace and power, was gravely injured on 9/11. It was the thought of her and Debbie St. John who you saw in the movie and John Dolan and Joe Sweeney and all the victims and survivors that kept me working as hard as I could in the Senate on behalf of 9/11 families and our first responders who got sick from their time at ground zero.

I was thinking of Lauren, Debbie and all the others 10 years later in the White House Situation Room when President Obama made the courageous decision that finally brought Osama bin Laden to justice.

(APPLAUSE)

And in this campaign, I’ve met many more people who motivate me to keep fighting for change. And with your help, I will carry all of your voices and stories with me to the White House.

(APPLAUSE)

And you heard from Republicans and independents who are supporting our campaign. Well, I will be a president for Democrats, Republicans, independents, for the struggling, the striving, the successful, for all those who vote for me and for those who don’t. For all Americans together!

(APPLAUSE)

Tonight we’ve reached a milestone in our nation’s march toward a more perfect union. The first time that a major party has nominated a woman for president!

(APPLAUSE)

Standing here as my mother’s daughter and my daughter’s mother, I’m so happy this day has come. I’m happy for grandmothers and little girls and everyone in between. I’m happy for boys and men. Because when any barrier falls in America, it clears the way for everyone.

After all, when there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit!

(APPLAUSE)

So let’s keep going. Let’s keep going until every one of the 161 million women and girls across America has the opportunity she deserves to have!

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: But even more important than the history we make tonight is the history we will write together in the years ahead.

Let’s begin with what we’re going to do to help working people in our country get ahead and stay ahead.

Now, I don’t think President Obama and Vice President Biden get the credit they deserve for saving us from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes.

(APPLAUSE)

Our economy is so much stronger than when they took office. Nearly 15 million new private sector jobs, 20 million more Americans with health insurance, and an auto industry that just had its best year ever.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, that’s real progress, but none of us can be satisfied with the status quo, not by a long shot. We’re still facing deep-seated problems that developed long before the recession and have stayed with us through the recovery.

I’ve gone around the country talking to working families and I’ve heard from many who feel like the economy sure isn’t working for them. Some of you are frustrated, even furious. And you know what? You’re right. It’s not yet working the way it should. Americans are willing to work and work hard, but right now an awful lot of people feel there is less and less respect for the work they do and less respect for them, period.

Democrats, we are the party of working people.

(APPLAUSE)

But we haven’t done a good enough job showing we get what you’re going through, and we’re going to do something to help. So tonight I want to tell you how we will empower Americans to live better lives.

My primary mission as president will be to create more opportunity and more good jobs with rising wages right here in the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

From my first day in office to my last, especially in places that for too long have been left out and left behind, from our inner cities to our small towns, from Indian country to coal country…

(APPLAUSE)

…from communities ravaged by addiction, to regions hollowed out by plant closures.

And here’s what I believe. I believe America thrives when the middle class thrives. I believe our economy isn’t working the way it should because our democracy isn’t working the way it should.

(APPLAUSE)

That’s why we need to appoint Supreme Court justices who will get money out of politics and expand voting rights, not restrict them.

(APPLAUSE)

And if necessary, we will pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United!

(APPLAUSE)

I believe American corporations that have gotten so much from our country should be just as patriotic in return. Many of them are, but too many aren’t. It’s wrong to take tax breaks with one hand and give out pink slips with the other.

(APPLAUSE)

And I believe Wall Street can never, ever be allowed to wreck Main Street again.

(APPLAUSE)

And I believe in science!

(APPLAUSE)

I believe climate change is real and that we can save our planet while creating millions of good-paying, clean-energy jobs.

(APPLAUSE)

I believe that when we have millions of hardworking immigrants contributing to our economy, it would be self-defeating and inhumane to try to kick them out.

(APPLAUSE)

Comprehensive immigration reform will grow our economy and keep families together. And it’s the right thing to do.

(APPLAUSE)

So whatever party you belong to or if you belong to no party at all, if you share these beliefs, this is your campaign.

(APPLAUSE)

If you believe that companies should share profits, not pad executive bonuses, join us!

(APPLAUSE)

If you believe the minimum wage should be a living wage and no one working full time should have to raise their children in poverty, join us!

(APPLAUSE)

If you believe that every man, woman and child in America has the right to affordable health care, join us!

(APPLAUSE)

If you believe that we should say no to unfair trade deals, that we should stand up to China, that we should support our steelworkers and autoworkers and home-grown manufacturers, then join us!

(APPLAUSE)

If you believe we should expand Social Security and protect a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, then join us!

(APPLAUSE)

And yes, yes, if you believe that your working mother, wife, sister or daughter deserves equal pay, join us!

(APPLAUSE)

That’s how we’re going to make sure this economy works for everyone, not just those at the top.

Now, you didn’t hear any of this, did you, from Donald Trump at his convention? He spoke for 70-odd minutes, and I do mean odd…

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

…and he offered zero solutions. But we already know he doesn’t believe these things. No wonder he doesn’t like talking about his plans. You might have noticed I love talking about mine.

(APPLAUSE)

In my first 100 days, we will work with both parties to pass the biggest investment in new, good-paying jobs since World War II. (APPLAUSE)

Jobs in manufacturing, clean energy, technology and innovation, small business and infrastructure. If we invest in infrastructure now, we’ll not only create jobs today, but lay the foundation for the jobs of the future. And we will also transform the way we prepare our young people for those jobs.

Bernie Sanders and I will work together to make college tuition free for the middle class and debt free for all.

(APPLAUSE)

We will also liberate millions of people who already have student debt.

(APPLAUSE)

It’s just not right that Donald Trump can ignore his debts and students and families can’t refinance their debts.

(APPLAUSE)

And something we don’t say often enough, sure, college is crucial, but a four-year degree should not be the only path to a good job.

(APPLAUSE)

We will help more people learn a skill or practice a trade and make a good living doing it.

(APPLAUSE)

We will give small businesses, like my dad’s, a boost, make it easier to get credit. Way too many dreams die in the parking lots of banks. In America, if you can dream it you should be able to build it.

(APPLAUSE)

And we will help you balance family and work. And you know what? If fighting for affordable child care and paid family leave is playing the woman card, then deal me in!

(APPLAUSE)

Now, here’s the other thing.

Now, we’re not only going to make all of these investments, we’re going to pay for every single one of them. And here’s how: Wall Street, corporations and the super rich are going to start paying their fair share of taxes.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: This is not because we resent success. But when more than 90 percent of the gains have gone to the top 1 percent, that’s where the money is. And we are going to follow the money.

(APPLAUSE)

And if companies take tax breaks and then ship jobs overseas, we’ll make them pay us back and we’ll put that money to work where it belongs, creating jobs here at home.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, I imagine that some of you are sitting at home thinking, well, that all sounds pretty good, but how are you going to get it done? How are you going to break through the gridlock in Washington?

Well, look at my record. I’ve worked across the aisle to pass laws and treaties and to launch new programs that help millions of people. And if you give me the chance, that’s exactly what I’ll do as president.

(APPLAUSE)

But then I also imagine people are thinking out there, but Trump, he’s a businessman, he must know something about the economy.

(AUDIENCE JEERS)

Well, let’s take a closer look, shall we? In Atlantic City, 60 miles from here, you will find contractors and small businesses who lost everything because Donald Trump refused to pay his bills.

(AUDIENCE JEERS)

Now, remember what the president said last night: Don’t boo; vote!

(APPLAUSE)

But think of this. People who did the work and needed the money, not because he couldn’t pay them, but because he wouldn’t pay them. He just stiffed them. And you know that sales pitch he’s making to be president, put your faith in him and you’ll win big? That’s the same sales pitch he made to all those small businesses. Then Trump walked away and left working people holding the bag.

He also talks a big game about putting America first. Well, please explain what part of “America first” leads him to make Trump ties in China, not Colorado, Trump suits in Mexico, not Michigan, Trump furniture in Turkey, not Ohio, Trump picture frames in India, not Wisconsin?

Donald Trump says he wants to make America great again. Well, he could start by actually making things in America again.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, the choice we face in this election is just as stark when it comes to our national security.

AUDIENCE: Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!

You know, anyone — anyone — reading the news can see the threats and turbulence we face, from Baghdad to Kabul to Nice and Paris and Brussels, from San Bernardino to Orlando. We’re dealing with determined enemies that must be defeated.

So it’s no wonder that people are anxious and looking for reassurance, looking for steady leadership, wanting a leader who understands we are stronger when we work with our allies around the world and care for our veterans here at home.

(APPLAUSE)

Keeping our nation safe and honoring the people who do that work will be my highest priority. I’m proud that we’ve put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program without firing a single shot.

(APPLAUSE)

Now we have to enforce it. And we must keep supporting Israel’s security.

(APPLAUSE)

I’m proud that we shaped a global climate agreement. Now we have to hold every country accountable to their commitments, including ourselves.

And I’m proud to stand by our allies in NATO against any threat they face, including from Russia.

(APPLAUSE)

I’ve laid out my strategy for defeating ISIS. We will strike their sanctuaries from the air and support local forces taking them out on the ground. We will surge our intelligence so we detect and prevent attacks before they happen. We will disrupt their efforts online to reach and radicalize young people in our country.

(APPLAUSE) It won’t be easy or quick, but make no mistake we will prevail.

Now, Donald Trump, Donald Trump says, and this is a quote, “I know more about ISIS than the generals do.” No, Donald, you don’t.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

He thinks he knows more than our military because he claimed our armed forces are a disaster.

(AUDIENCE JEERS)

Well, I’ve had the privilege to work closely with our troops and our veterans for many years, including as a senator on the Armed Services Committee, and I know how wrong he is. Our military is a national treasure. We entrust our commander in chief to make the hardest decisions our nation faces, decisions about war and peace, life and death. A president should respect the men and women who risk their lives to serve our country…

(APPLAUSE)

…including Captain Khan and the sons of Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, both Marines.

So just ask yourself, do you really think Donald Trump has the temperament to be commander in chief? Donald Trump can’t even handle the rough and tumble of a presidential campaign. He loses his cool at the slightest provocation, when he’s gotten a tough question from a reporter, when he’s challenged in a debate, when he sees a protester at a rally. Imagine, if you dare, imagine, imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis.

A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons!

(APPLAUSE)

I can’t put it any better than Jackie Kennedy did after the Cuban Missile Crisis. She said that what worried President Kennedy during that very dangerous time was that a war might be started not by big men with self-control and restraint, but by little men, the ones moved by fear and pride.

(APPLAUSE)

America’s strength doesn’t come from lashing out. It relies on smarts, judgment, cool resolve and the precise and strategic application of power. And that’s the kind of commander in chief I pledge to be.

(APPLAUSE)

And if we’re serious about keeping our country safe, we also can’t afford to have a president who’s in the pocket of the gun lobby.

(APPLAUSE)

I’m not here to repeal the Second Amendment. I’m not here to take away your guns. I just don’t want you to be shot by someone who shouldn’t have a gun in the first place.

(APPLAUSE)

We will work tirelessly with responsible gun owners to pass common sense reforms and keep guns out of the hands of criminals, terrorists and all others who would do us harm.

You know, for decades people have said this issue was too hard to solve and the politics too hot to touch. But I ask you, how can we just stand by and do nothing? You heard, you saw family members of people killed by gun violence, on this stage. You heard, you saw family members of police officers killed in the line of duty because they were outgunned by criminals.

I refuse to believe we can’t find common ground here. We have to heal the divides in our country, not just on guns, but on race, immigration and more.

(APPLAUSE)

And that starts with listening, listening to each other, trying as best we can to walk in each other’s shoes. So let’s put ourselves in the shoes of young black and Latino men and women who face the effects of systemic racism and are made to feel like their lives are disposable!

(APPLAUSE)

Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of police officers kissing their kids and spouses good-bye every day, heading off to do a dangerous and necessary job. We will reform our criminal justice system from end to end and rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

(APPLAUSE)

And we will defend all our rights, civil rights, human rights and voting rights, women’s rights and workers’ rights, LGBT rights and the rights of people with disabilities.

(APPLAUSE)

And we will stand up against mean and divisive rhetoric wherever it comes from. You know, for the past year many people made the mistake of laughing off Donald Trump’s comments, excusing him as an entertainer just putting on a show.

They thought he couldn’t possibly mean all the horrible things he says. Like when he called women pigs, or said that an American judge couldn’t be fair because of his Mexican heritage, or when he mocks and mimics a reporter with a disability or insults prisoners of war, like John McCain, a hero and a patriot who deserves our respect.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, at first, at first, I admit, I couldn’t he meant it either. It was just too hard to fathom that someone who wants to lead our nation could say those things, could be like that. But here’s the sad truth: There is no other Donald Trump, this is it.

And in the end, it comes down to what Donald Trump doesn’t get: America is great because America is good!

(APPLAUSE)

So enough with the bigotry and the bombast. Donald Trump’s not offering real change, he’s offering empty promises. And what are we offering? A bold agenda to improve the lives of people across our country to keep you safe, to get you good jobs, to get your kids the opportunities they deserve.

(APPLAUSE)

The choice is clear, my friends. Every generation of Americans has come together to make our country freer, fairer and stronger. None of us ever have or can do it alone. I know that at a time when so much seems to be pulling us apart, it can be hard to imagine how we’ll ever pull together. But I’m here to tell you tonight progress is possible. I know because I’ve seen it in the lives of people across America who get knocked down and get right back up.

(APPLAUSE)

And I know it from my own life. More than a few times I’ve had to pick myself up and get back in the game.

(APPLAUSE)

Like so much else in my life, I got this from my mother, too. She never let me back down from any challenge. When I tried to hide from a neighborhood bully, she literally blocked the door, go back out there, she said. And she was right.

You have to stand up to bullies. You have to keep working to make things better, even when the odds are long and the opposition is fierce.

We lost our mother a few years ago, but I miss her every day. And I still hear her voice urging me to keep working, keep fighting for right no matter what. That’s what we need to do together as a nation.

(APPLAUSE)

And though we may not live to see the glory, as the song from the musical “Hamilton” goes, let us gladly join the fight, let our legacy be about planting seeds in a garden you never get to see. That’s why we’re here, not just in this hall, but on this earth. The Founders showed us that and so have many others since. They were drawn together by love of country and the selfless passion to build something better for all who follow.

That is the story of America. And we begin a new chapter tonight.

Yes, the world is watching what we do. Yes, America’s destiny is ours to choose. So let’s be stronger together, my fellow Americans!

(APPLAUSE)

Let’s look to the future with courage and confidence. Let’s build a better tomorrow for our beloved children and our beloved country. And when we do, America will be greater than ever!

Thank you, and may God bless you and the United States of America!

(APPLAUSE)

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Full Text DNC Day 3, July 27, 2016: Tim Kaine’s Speech Accepting the Vice Presidential Nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN & ELECTIONS

2016

Tim Kaine’s Speech Accepting the Vice Presidential Nomination at the Democratic National Convention

Source: Time, 7-27-16

Thank you everybody. Hello, Philadelphia!

(APPLAUSE) Hello Democratic families.

I want to start off by thanking my beautiful wife and my three wonderful children, Nat, Woody, and Annella. They are sitting right up there.

(APPLAUSE)

You know my son, Nat, deployed with his Marine battalion just two days ago.

(APPLAUSE)

KAINE: He deployed overseas to protect and defend the very NATO allies that Donald Trump says he now wants to abandon.

Semper fi, Nat! Semper fi!

(APPLAUSE)

My parents and my in-laws are here. Our siblings and their spouses. Our nieces and nephews, and hundreds of friends from Virginia and beyond.

(APPLAUSE)

I love seeing you front and center. Including my friend of 37 years, senior Senator Mark Warner. My great Governor Terry McAuliffe.

(APPLAUSE)

And my great friend and Congressman Bobby Scott.

(APPLAUSE)

We love you all.

Today, for my wife Anne and every strong woman in this country, for Nat, Woody, and Annella, and every young person starting out in life to make their own dreams real, for every man and woman serving our country in the military at home or abroad, for every working family working hard to get ahead and stay ahead, for my parents and in-laws and every senior citizen who hopes for a dignified retirement with health care and research to end diseases like Alzheimer’s.

For every American who wants our country to be a beloved community where people are not demeaned because of who they are but rather respected for their contributions to this nation, and for all of us who know that the brightest future for our country is the one that we build together, and for my friend, Hillary Clinton, I humbly accept my party’s nomination to be vice president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Can I be honest with you about something? Can I be honest with you about something? I never expected to be here. But let me tell you how it happened, I was born in Minnesota and grew up in Kansas City.

(APPLAUSE)

My folks were not much into politics. My dad ran a union iron- working shop in the stockyards.

(APPLAUSE)

And my mom was his best salesman. My two brothers and I pitched in to work during summers and weekends. And, you know, that is how small family businesses do it.

My parents, Al and Kathy, here tonight and going strong, they taught me about hard work and about kindness and most especially, about faith. I went to a Jesuit boys high school, Rockhurst High School.

(APPLAUSE)

Wow, that’s a big line for the Jesuits.

Now we had a motto in my school, “men for others.” And it was there that my faith became something vital. My north star for orienting my life. And when I left high school, I knew that I wanted to battle for social justice.

(APPLAUSE)

Like so many of you. Like so many of you.

That is why I took a year off from law school to volunteer with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras. I taught kids how to be welders and carpenters. (SPEAKING SPANISH), faith, family, and work. Faith, family, and work. (SPEAKING SPANISH).

And let me tell you what really struck me there, I got a firsthand look at a different system. A dictatorship. A dictatorship where a few people at the top had all the power and everybody else got left out.

Now that convinced me that we have got to advance opportunity for everybody, no matter where you come from, how much money you have, what you look like, how you worship or who you love.

(APPLAUSE)

Back in 1970, in Virginia, a Republican governor named Linwood Holton believed exactly the same thing. He integrated Virginia’s public schools so that black and white kids could finally learn together. And then the family enrolled their own kids, including his daughter, Anne, in those integrated inner city schools.

Many years later Anne went off to college and she brought those lessons from that pivotal time with her. And then one day, in a study group, she met this goofy guy who had been off teaching kids in Honduras.

Well, Anne and I have now been married almost 32 years and I am the luckiest husband in the world.

(APPLAUSE)

You know, let me tell you something, Anne’s parents, Lin and Jinks, are here today, 90-plus and going strong.

(APPLAUSE)

Ninety-plus and going strong. Linwood Holton, he is still a Republican but he is voting for an awful lot of Democrats these days. An awful lot of Democrats.

(APPLAUSE)

And here is why, he is voting for Democrats because any party that would nominate Donald Trump for president has moved too far away from his party of Lincoln.

(APPLAUSE)

And I’ll tell you, if any of you are looking for that party of Lincoln, we have got a home for you right here in the Democratic Party.

(APPLAUSE)

Linwood’s example helped inspire me as a civil rights lawyer. Over 17 years I took on banks, landlords, real estate firms, local governments, anybody who treated anybody unfairly.

I had a six-year case against an insurance company that was discriminating against minority neighborhoods all across the United States in issuing homeowner’s insurance.

Folks, Democratic friends, these are the battles that I have fought my entire life.

(APPLAUSE)

And that is the story — and that is the story of how I decided to run for office. My city of Richmond was divided and discouraged in the early 1990s. We had an epidemic of gun violence that was overwhelming our low-income neighborhoods.

People were pointing fingers and casting blame instead of finding answers. And I couldn’t stand it. So I ran for city council and I won that first race more than 20 years ago by a landslide margin of 94 votes.

(APPLAUSE)

And I’ve said ever since, if I’m good at anything in politics, it’s because I started at the local level listening to people, learning about their lives, and trying to get results. I see a mayor here who knows what I’m talking about.

Later I became mayor of Richmond, lieutenant governor, and then the 70th governor of Virginia.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, I was a hard times governor. I had to steer my state through the deepest recession since the 1930s. But hey, tough times don’t last and tough people do. And can I tell you that Virginians are tough people? We are tough people.

(APPLAUSE)

And we are smart, too . We achieved national recognition for our work, best-managed state, best state for business, best state for a child to be raised, low unemployment, high median income.

We shed tears along the way. We shed tears especially together in the days after that horrible mass shooting at Virginia Tech that killed 32 people from beautiful 19-year-old students to 70-plus-year- old Romanian-born Holocaust survivors, and we shed tears and held each other up, but afterwards we rolled up our sleeves and we fixed the loophole in the background record check system so that we could make our commonwealth safer. And we got have to do that in the nation. (APPLAUSE)

We invested in our people expanding pre-K and higher ed., because we all know in this room that education is the key to all we want to be, all we want to be.

(APPLAUSE)

And now I have the honor of representing my commonwealth in the U.S. Senate. I work on the Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees to keep us safe at home and strong in the world.

(APPLAUSE)

I work on the Budget Committee with our great Democratic leader of that committee, a spectacular senator who used to be a mayor, Vermont’s Bernie Sanders.

(APPLAUSE)

CROWD: Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!

And, everybody, we all should feel the Bern and we all should not want to get burned by the other guy.

(APPLAUSE)

On that Budget Committee under Bernie’s leadership, we fight for investments in education, health care, research, transportation. And I also serve on the Aging Committee to make sure that seniors like my folks have a secure retirement and don’t get targeted by rip-off artists who will scam them out of their savings or overcharge them for prescription drugs.

(APPLAUSE)

Can I tell you a funny thing about the Senate? Can I tell you a funny thing about the Senate?

(APPLAUSE)

That sounds like a yes. I spend a lot of time with Republican senators who, once they have made sure that nobody is listening, will tell you how fantastic a senator that Hillary Clinton was.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, look, this journey that I’ve told you about has convinced me, has convinced me over and over again that God has created in our country a beautiful and rich tapestry, an incredible cultural diversity that succeeds when we embrace everybody in love and battle back against the forces, the dark forces of division.

2004: Democratic National Convention

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN & ELECTIONS

AMERICAN HISTORY REFERENCE

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

2004 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION

The 2004 Democratic National Convention convened from July 26-29 at the Fleet Center in Boston, Massachusetts. Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico served as the chairman. The convention nominated Senator John Forbes Kerry (Massachusetts) for president on the first ballot, and Senator John Edwards (North Carolina) by acclamation for vice president. The venue for the convention was chosen all away back in 2002, but the fact that is was being held in the candidate home state, a state known for its liberalism was an attack point incumbent Republican George W. Bush’s campaign emphasized for their advantage. The major television networks, ABC, CBS and NBC decided in 2004 to only broadcast an hour of the convention each night from 10-11pm, so the official televised transmission of the conventions was condensed into only three hours. Cable News including CNN and Fox News took over full coverage of every aspect of the conventions three-day schedules.[1]
Kerry led slightly in the polls prior to the convention according to the CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll 49 percent to Bush’s 48 percent, but he was trailing relating to “leadership qualities” 54 percent to 37 percent. The view of Kerry as a flip-flopper was also affecting his polling regarding “does not change his positions on issues for political reasons” 52 percent to 30 percent.[2] The convention was meant to bolster Kerry’s leadership image. Polling also indicated that Kerry was viewed as a liberal where a majority of Americans did not identify with liberal issues. Instead the campaign and convention aimed at appealing to moderates and independent voters, many of which viewed the economy as an important issue. Therefore, the convention focused on the economy and limited direct attacks on Bush and addressing distinctly liberal issues.[3]

 

The convention focused on the major issues of terrorism and the war in Iraq, health care, taxes, and economic revival. Since Kerry’s military service was a key part of the campaign and the persona the campaign was selling, it was also a central theme of the convention. The campaign issued a brief statement that summarized the message and themes of the campaign; “A strong team with the right plan for America. John Kerry is a dedicated combat veteran. John Edwards has spent his life standing up against powerful interests. Together, they will make health care affordable and accessible for all Americans, create and keep jobs In America, make us independent from Mideast oil, and restore America’s respect in the world.”[4] Each night of the campaign was designated a particular theme.

 

The Democratic Party platform was entitled “Strong at Home, Respected in the World,” and it was divided into four sections. Part one was a “A Strong, Respected America” on the War on Terrorism, energy independence, military strengthening and homeland security. Part two was “A Strong, Growing Economy” on helping the middle class and job creation. Part three “Strong, Healthy Families” on health care, education and the environmental policy. Finally part four was “A Strong American Community” on civil rights.[5]

 

Opening night, Monday, July 26, 2004 the theme was “The Kerry-Edwards Plan for America’s Future.” The line-up featured Democratic presidents and leaders of the past including Former President Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, Former Vice President Al Gore and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton who introduced her husband former President Clinton addressed the convention. Carter, Clinton and Gore mostly attacked Bush record on domestic and foreign policy in their remarks and seemed like a continuous comparison of Democratic and Republican approaches to leadership.[6]

 

On Tuesday, July 27, 2004 the theme was “A Lifetime of Strength and Service” focusing on Kerry’s biography, character and party unity featuring leaders in the Democratic Party and former 2004 presidential candidates. Massachusetts Senator Edward (Ted) Kennedy spoke about hallmark Democratic domestic issues. Former Governor Howard Dean, Rep. Richard Gephardt, Senator Carol Moseley Braun and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle all endorsed Kerry in their speeches, putting the divisive campaign behind them. Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano and the wife of Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, Christie Vilsack both spoke about “jobs, education and health care.” Ron Reagan, the son of former President Ronald Reagan, who died from complication of Alzheimer’s also spoke primarily advocating need to increase funding for stem cell research. Reagan was supposed to show cross-over appeal, but his speech was at odds with the rest of the evening’s topics. [7] Kerry’s wife Teresa Heinz Kerry also addressed the convention providing the leading Kerry biographical element of the evening, however, she spoke more about herself, than humanize her husband, who needed to show a more personal side to his image to appeal to voters.[8]

 

Senator Richard Durbin introduced the up and coming Democratic star, Illinois state senator Barack Obama who delivered the keynote speech. Kerry chose Illinois state senator Barack Obama, who was that year’s Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat from Illinois to deliver the keynote address. Obama’s speech focused on unity across political parties and ideology, aimed at the independents and moderate voters the Democrats were trying to appeal to.[9] Obama spoke of his personal background as an African American, with a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Kenya, and recounted his atypical biography, saying; “In no other country on Earth is my story even possible.” [10]

 

Obama gave examples and juxtapositions as to what bridges the divide; “there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America. There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America…We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.” [11] Obama’s keynote address was not broadcast on the major television networks because it was scheduled before 10 PM; the address however, was televised on the specialized news stations including CNN. Obama became a star based on the new reports and video of speech posted on the web.

 

On Wednesday, July 28 the theme was “A Stronger More Secure America” emphasizing the campaign’s position regarding national security and the War on Terror. The evening continued the string of former 2004 presidential candidates, who endorsed Kerry, including; Sen. Bob Graham, U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, and Rev. Al Sharpton. The main event of the evening was Edward’s address accepting the nomination for vice president. Edward’s daughter Cate introduced her mother Elizabeth Edwards, who formally introduced the vice presidential nominee.[12]

 

Edwards delivered his “Two Americas” speech formally accepting the vice presidential nomination also focusing on bridging the divide within the country. Edwards emphasized that the Kerry-Edwards campaign has the solutions to the problems that divide the country both at home and abroad promising that “Hope is on the way.” The speech formally entitled “Build One America” was divided in four sections; domestic policy and the economy, foreign policy and the War in Iraq, “restoring America’s credibility in the world”; the last part focused on personal examples and anecdotes, [13] concluding; “Let’s make America stronger at home and more respected in the world. Let’s ensure that once again, in our one America — our one America — tomorrow will always be better than today.”[14]

 

Right after Edward’s speech the formal roll call to nominate Kerry as the Democratic presidential nominee began. Prior to the convention all the other nominees released their delegates, except for some of Dennis Kucinich’s, some of his delegates voted for Kucinich, and others who were prevented from doing so, instead abstained from voting rather than vote for Kerry. Therefore Kerry received the nomination on the first ballot, but not by acclamation. The results were as follows; John Kerry: 4,253 votes 98.40%; Dennis Kucinich: 43 votes; 0.99%; Abstentions: 26 votes, 0.60%, totaling 4,322 votes 100.00%. Vice President John Edwards however, was chosen by acclamation.[15]

 

The last night of the convention July 29, 2004 the theme was “Stronger at Home, Respected in the World” summing up the campaign’s domestic and foreign policy positions. The evening’s speakers were meant to introduce Kerry to the American electorate; among the speakers of the evening including, introductions by Kerry’s stepsons Christopher and Andre Heinz, and Kerry’s daughters Alexandra and Vanessa. Throughout the campaign there was a difficulty in humanizing Kerry, but his daughters recounting their personal anecdotes of their father were able to accomplish what nobody could before, even his wife.[16]

 

The Kerry children’s introductions were followed by a campaign biographical video, narrated by actor Morgan Freedman. The video emphasized his early life, and military experience, but rushed over his time in the Senate. It included an interview with Kerry and his wife and concluded that; “Time and again, John Kerry has been there for our nation, a soldier who understands the importance of peace, a leader who knows how to listen, a father dedicated to the children of our nation, a man devoted to our country’s remarkable promise.”[17]

 

Kerry’s crewmates from Vietnam were the next to give tribute to the nominee leading up to his speech, including Jim Rassmann, who Kerry saved in Vietnam and delivered a statement of praise to Kerry and introduced former Georgia Senator and veteran Max Cleland who was to formally introduce Kerry and gave the nominating speech. Cleland concluded his speech in praise; “Tonight, I am honored to introduce to you another son of liberty, a brother in arms, a man called by destiny at this fateful hour in our nation’s history. He is my brother. He is my friend. He is my hero. Ladies and gentleman, tonight, John Kerry is able to answer this nation’s call.” Cleland’s speech was not televised except for the last few minutes on ABC.[18]

 

Most of the network coverage for the evening started with Kerry’s entrance accompanied by Bruce Springsteen’s “No Surrender.”[19] Keeping to the military theme Kerry commenced his speech and accepted the nomination by stating; “I’m John Kerry and I’m reporting for duty.” Kerry introduced the theme of the night and his speech declaring; “My fellow Americans, we are here tonight united in one simple purpose: to make America stronger at home and respected in the world.” Kerry’s speech was divided by three parts, his background, foreign policy and national security and domestic policy and economic opportunity.  Although the campaign intended to focus on appealing to moderates and independents Kerry attacked the Bush Administration, stating “My first pledge to you tonight: As president, I will restore trust and credibility to the White House,” followed by policy contrasts.[20]

 

Kerry tried to portray himself as tough on national security and defense issues, but differentiate the threshold level to going to war, he outlined how he would deal with national security, the military and the War on Terrorism, still he promised; “I will never hesitate to use force when it is required.” Kerry concluded this section with the key quote of his acceptance speech “the future doesn’t belong to fear, it belongs to freedom.”[21]

 

Moving towards domestic policy Kerry again differentiated the Bush Administration policies with what his ticket would do, explain that it would be “Not narrow values that divide us, but shared values that unite us…That is the American dream and the American value.” Kerry outlined his plans for the economy, job creation, cutting taxes, health care and energy policy, by intertwining stories from Americans, and the same time using the refrain Edwards used in his speech the night before, stating; “America can do better. And help is on the way.”[22]

 

In the last part of his speech Kerry called for a unified and respectful general election campaign.  Kerry used similar rhetoric as Obama did his keynote address, pointing out “Maybe some just see us divided into red states and blue states, but I see us as one America red, white, and blue.” Kerry also invited people of faith to support his ticket, a voting bloc that is traditionally Republican. Kerry promised his administration would be unifying and that faith is not exclusive to only one party, expressing “These aren’t Democratic values. These aren’t Republican values. They’re American values.”

 

Kerry ended his speech with some historical “What if[s]?”, and continued about future possibilities, concluding; “It is time to reach for the next dream. It is time to look to the next horizon. For America, the hope is there. The sun is rising. Our best days are still to come.”[23] With those words the convention ended with Kerry joined by his wife, Theresa, and John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth on the stage followed by their families in the traditional end of convention victory celebration. The convention’s aim at appealing to moderates and independents prevented the Democrats from attacking their Republican opponents and presenting a clearly defined Democratic and liberal message. The strategy did not work, as the Kerry-Edwards ticket failed to benefit from the usual post-convention “bounce” in the polls,[24] in fact after the convention Kerry-Edwards saw a dip in the polls, according to the USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup poll Kerry-Edwards had 47 percent support to the Bush-Cheney campaign’s 48 percent.[25]

 

Sources:

 

Ceaser, James W. and Andrew Busch. Red over blue: the 2004 elections and American politics. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2005.

 

CNN Reporters, “Democratic Nation Convention Daily Schedule,” “Monday, July 26, Tuesday, July 27, Wednesday, July 28, Thursday, July 29,” CNN, America Votes 2004 http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/special/president/convention/dnc/schedules/monday.html

http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/special/president/convention/dnc/schedules/tuesday.html

http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/special/president/convention/dnc/schedules/wednesday.html

http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/special/president/convention/dnc/schedules/thursday.html (Accessed April 26, 2014)

 

 

Denton, Robert E. Jr. The 2004 Presidential Campaign: A Communication Perspective. Lanham, Md. : Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2005.

 

John F. Kerry, “Address Accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Boston,” Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project, July 29, 2004 (Accessed May 6, 2014), http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=25971

 

Newport, Frank. “Kerry’s Speech Thursday’s address could be key to election.” Gallup News Service. July 29, 2004, (Accessed April 26, 2014) http://www.gallup.com/poll/12547/kerrys-speech.aspx

 

Obama, Barack. “Transcript: Illinois Senate Candidate Barack Obama.” The Washington Post, July 27, 2004, (Accessed May 6, 2014), http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A19751-2004Jul27.html

 

Wikipedia contributors, “2004 Democratic National Convention,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (Accessed May 6, 2014), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Democratic_National_Convention

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Robert E. Denton, Jr. The 2004 Presidential Campaign: A Communication Perspective. (Lanham, Md. : Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2005), p. 30.

[2] Frank Newport. “Kerry’s Speech Thursday’s address could be key to election.”

Gallup News Service, July 29, 2004. (Accessed April 26, 2014) http://www.gallup.com/poll/12547/kerrys-speech.aspx; Denton, p. 30.

[3] Ibid., p. 30-31.

[4] Ibid., p. 31.

[5] Wikipedia contributors, “2004 Democratic National Convention,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Democratic_National_Convention (Accessed May 6, 2014).

[6] Denton, The 2004 Presidential Campaign, 2005, p. 38.

[7] Ibid., p. 38.

[8] Ibid., p. 42.

[9] Ibid., p. 38.

[10] Barack Obama. “Transcript: Illinois Senate Candidate Barack Obama.” The Washington Post, July 27, 2004. (Accessed May 6, 2014) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A19751-2004Jul27.html

[11] Ibid.

[12] Denton, The 2004 Presidential Campaign: A Communication Perspective, 2005, p. 42.

[13] Denton. The 2004 Presidential Campaign: A Communication Perspective, 2005, p. 44.

[14] “Text: Sen. John Edwards Speech to DNC.” The Washington Post, July 28, 2004. (Accessed May 6, 2014) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A22230-2004Jul28.html

[15] Wikipedia contributors, “2004 Democratic National Convention,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (Accessed May 6, 2014). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Democratic_National_Convention

[16] Denton, The 2004 Presidential Campaign: A Communication Perspective, 2005, p. 45.

[17] Ibid., p. 45-46.

[18] Ibid., p. 46.

[19] Ibid., p. 46.

[20] John F. Kerry, “Address Accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Boston,” Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project, July 29, 2004 (Accessed May 6, 2014), http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=25971

[21] Ibid.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Denton, The 2004 Presidential Campaign: A Communication Perspective, 2005, p. 49.

[25] Wikipedia contributors, “2004 Democratic National Convention,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Democratic_National_Convention (accessed May 6, 2014).

“No Convention Bounce For Kerry,” CBS News, February 11, 2009, (Accessed May 25, 2014), http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/08/02/politics/main633561.shtml

Susan Page, “So why did Bush, not Kerry, get the bounce?”. USAToday.Com, August 3, 2004, (Accessed May 25, 2014), http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/nation/president/2004-08-02-poll-cover_x.htm

 

September 6, 2012: Barack Obama’s Speech Accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina Transcript

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN & ELECTIONS

2012 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION

Remarks Accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina
September 6, 2012

The First Lady.Thank you so much. Tonight I am so thrilled and so honored and so proud to introduce the love of my life, the father of our two girls, and the President of the United States of America: Barack Obama.

The President. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much.

Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

The President. Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.

Michelle, I love you so much. A few nights ago, everybody was reminded just what a lucky man I am. Malia and Sasha, we are so proud of you. And yes, you do have to go to school in the morning. [Laughter]

And, Joe Biden, thank you for being the very best Vice President I could have ever hoped for and being a strong and loyal friend.

Madam Chairwoman, delegates, I accept your nomination for President of the United States.

Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

Now, the first time I addressed this convention in 2004, I was a younger man, a Senate candidate from Illinois who spoke about hope, not blind optimism, not wishful thinking, but hope in the face of difficulty, hope in the face of uncertainty, that dogged faith in the future which has pushed this Nation forward, even when the odds are great, even when the road is long.

Eight years later, that hope has been tested by the cost of war, by one of the worst economic crises in history, and by political gridlock that’s left us wondering whether it’s still even possible to tackle the challenges of our time.

I know campaigns can seem small, even silly sometimes. Trivial things become big distractions. Serious issues become sound bites. The truth gets buried under an avalanche of money and advertising. And if you’re sick of hearing me approve this message, believe me, so am I. [Laughter]

But when all is said and done—when you pick up that ballot to vote—you will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation. Over the next few years, big decisions will be made in Washington on jobs, the economy, taxes and deficits, energy, education, war and peace, decisions that will have a huge impact on our lives and on our children’s lives for decades to come.

And on every issue, the choice you face won’t just be between two candidates or two parties. It will be a choice between two different paths for America, a choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future.

Ours is a fight to restore the values that built the largest middle class and the strongest economy the world has ever known, the values my grandfather defended as a soldier in Patton’s army, the values that drove my grandmother to work on a bomber assembly line while he was gone.

They knew they were part of something larger: a nation that triumphed over fascism and depression; a nation where the most innovative businesses turned out the world’s best products. And everyone shared in that pride and success, from the corner office to the factory floor.

My grandparents were given the chance to go to college, buy their own home, and fulfill the basic bargain at the heart of America’s story: the promise that hard work will pay off, that responsibility will be rewarded, that everyone gets a fair shot and everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same rules from Main Street to Wall Street to Washington, DC.

And I ran for President because I saw that basic bargain slipping away. I began my career helping people in the shadow of a shuttered steel mill at a time when too many good jobs were starting to move overseas. And by 2008, we had seen nearly a decade in which families struggled with costs that kept rising, but paychecks that didn’t: folks racking up more and more debt just to make the mortgage or pay tuition, put gas in the car or food on the table. And when the house of cards collapsed in the great recession, millions of innocent Americans lost their jobs, their homes, their life savings, a tragedy from which we’re still fighting to recover.

Now, our friends down in Tampa at the Republican Convention were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America. But they didn’t have much to say about how they’d make it right. They want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan. And that’s because all they have to offer is the same prescriptions they’ve had for the last 30 years: Have a surplus? Try a tax cut. Deficit too high? Try another. Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning.

Now, I’ve cut taxes for those who need it: middle class families, small businesses. But I don’t believe that another round of tax breaks for millionaires will bring good jobs to our shores or pay down our deficit. I don’t believe that firing teachers or kicking students off financial aid will grow the economy or help us compete with the scientists and engineers coming out of China.

After all we’ve been through, I don’t believe that rolling back regulations on Wall Street will help the small businesswoman expand or the laid-off construction worker keep his home.

We have been there, we’ve tried that, and we’re not going back. We are moving forward, America.

Now, I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy. I never have. You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth.

And the truth is it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades. It will require common effort and shared responsibility and the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one. And by the way, those of us who carry on his party’s legacy should remember that not every problem can be remedied with another Government program or dictate from Washington.

But know this, America: Our problems can be solved. Our challenges can be met. The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And I’m asking you to choose that future.

I’m asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country—goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and the deficit—real, achievable plans that will lead to new jobs, more opportunity, and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation. That’s what we can do in the next 4 years, and that is why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.

Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

The President. We can choose a future where we export more products and outsource fewer jobs. After a decade that was defined by what we bought and borrowed, we’re getting back to basics and doing what America has always done best: We are making things again.

I’ve met workers in Detroit and Toledo who feared they’d never build another American car. And today, they can’t build them fast enough, because we reinvented a dying auto industry that’s back on the top of the world.

I’ve worked with business leaders who are bringing jobs back to America, not because our workers make less pay, but because we make better products. Because we work harder and smarter than anyone else.

I’ve signed trade agreements that are helping our companies sell more goods to millions of new customers, goods that are stamped with three proud words: Made in America.

Audience members. U.S.A! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

The President. And after a decade of decline, this country created over half a million manufacturing jobs in the last 2½ years.

And now you have a choice: We can give more tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, or we can start rewarding companies that open new plants and train new workers and create new jobs here in the United States of America. We can help big factories and small businesses double their exports, and if we choose this path, we can create a million new manufacturing jobs in the next 4 years. You can make that happen. You can choose that future.

You can choose the path where we control more of our own energy. After 30 years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. We have doubled our use of renewable energy, and thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries. In the last year alone, we cut oil imports by 1 million barrels a day, more than any administration in recent history. And today, the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in the last two decades.

So now you have a choice: between a strategy that reverses this progress or one that builds on it. We’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration in the last 3 years, and we’ll open more. But unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan or endanger our coastlines or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers. We’re offering a better path.

We’re offering a better path, where we—a future where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal; where farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and trucks; where construction workers build homes and factories that waste less energy; where we develop a hundred-year supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet. If you choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone.

And yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet, because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They are a threat to our children’s future. And in this election, you can do something about it.

You can choose a future where more Americans have the chance to gain the skills they need to compete, no matter how old they are or how much money they have. Education was the gateway to opportunity for me. It was the gateway for Michelle. It was the gateway for most of you. And now more than ever, it is the gateway to a middle class life.

For the first time in a generation, nearly every State has answered our call to raise their standards for teaching and learning. Some of the worst schools in the country have made real gains in math and reading. Millions of students are paying less for college today because we finally took on a system that wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on banks and lenders.

And now you have a choice: We can gut education, or we can decide that in the United States of America, no child should have her dreams deferred because of a crowded classroom or a crumbling school. No family should have to set aside a college acceptance letter because they don’t have the money. No company should have to look for workers overseas because they couldn’t find any with the right skills here at home. That’s not our future. [Applause] That is not our future.

And government has a role in this. But teachers must inspire; principals must lead; parents must instill a thirst for learning. And, students, you’ve got to do the work. And together, I promise you, we can out-educate and out-compete any nation on Earth.

So help me. Help me recruit 100,000 math and science teachers within 10 years and improve early childhood education. Help give 2 million workers the chance to learn skills at their community college that will lead directly to a job. Help us work with colleges and universities to cut in half the growth of tuition costs over the next 10 years. We can meet that goal together. You can choose that future for America. That’s our future.

In a world of new threats and new challenges, you can choose leadership that has been tested and proven. Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq. We did. I promised to refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11. And we have. We’ve blunted the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and in 2014, our longest war will be over.

A new tower rises above the New York skyline, Al Qaida is on the path to defeat, and Usama bin Laden is dead.

Audience members. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

The President. Tonight we pay tribute to the Americans who still serve in harm’s way. We are forever in debt to a generation whose sacrifice has made this country safer and more respected. We will never forget you. And so long as I’m Commander in Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known. When you take off the uniform, we will serve you as well as you’ve served us, because no one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job or a roof over their heads or the care that they need when they come home.

Around the world, we’ve strengthened old alliances and forged new coalitions to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. We’ve reasserted our power across the Pacific and stood up to China on behalf of our workers. From Burma to Libya to South Sudan, we have advanced the rights and dignity of all human beings: men and women, Christians and Muslims and Jews.

But for all the progress that we’ve made, challenges remain. Terrorist plots must be disrupted. Europe’s crisis must be contained. Our commitment to Israel’s security must not waver, and neither must our pursuit of peace. The Iranian Government must face a world that stays united against its nuclear ambitions. The historic change sweeping across the Arab world must be defined not by the iron fist of a dictator or the hate of extremists, but by the hopes and aspirations of ordinary people who are reaching for the same rights that we celebrate here today.

So now we have a choice. My opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy, but from all that we’ve seen and heard, they want to take us back to an era of blustering and blundering that cost America so dearly.

After all, you don’t call Russia our number-one enemy—not Al Qaida, Russia—unless you’re still stuck in a cold war mind warp. You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can’t visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally.

My opponent said that it was “tragic” to end the war in Iraq. And he won’t tell us how he’ll end the war in Afghanistan. Well, I have, and I will.

And while my opponent would spend more money on military hardware that our Joint Chiefs don’t even want, I will use the money we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to work rebuilding roads and bridges and schools and runways. Because after two wars that have cost us thousands of live and over a trillion dollars, it’s time to do some nation-building right here at home.

You can choose a future where we reduce our deficit without sticking it to the middle class. Independent experts say that my plan would cut our deficit by $4 trillion. And last summer, I worked with Republicans in Congress to cut a billion [trillion]* dollars in spending—because those of us who believe Government can be a force for good should work harder than anyone to reform it so that it’s leaner and more efficient and more responsive to the American people.

I want to reform the Tax Code so that it’s simple, fair, and asks the wealthiest households to pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000, the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was President; the same rate we had when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest surplus in history, and a whole lot of millionaires to boot.

Now, I’m still eager to reach an agreement based on the principles of my bipartisan debt commission. No party has a monopoly on wisdom. No democracy works without compromise. I want to get this done, and we can get it done. But when Governor Romney and his friends in Congress tell us we can somehow lower our deficits by spending trillions more on new tax breaks for the wealthy, well, what did Bill Clinton call it: “you do the arithmetic.” You do the math.

I refuse to go along with that and as long as I’m President, I never will. I refuse to ask middle class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut.

I refuse to ask students to pay more for college or kick children out of Head Start programs, to eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor and elderly or disabled, all so those with the most can pay less. I’m not going along with that.

And I will never—I will never—turn Medicare into a voucher. No American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies. They should retire with the care and the dignity that they have earned. Yes, we will reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we’ll do it by reducing the cost of health care, not by asking seniors to pay thousands of dollars more.

And we will keep the promise of Social Security by taking the responsible steps to strengthen it, not by turning it over to Wall Street.

This is the choice we now face. This is what the election comes down to. Over and over, we’ve been told by our opponents that bigger tax cuts and fewer regulations are the only way; that since government can’t do everything, it should do almost nothing. If you can’t afford health insurance, hope that you don’t get sick. If a company releases toxic pollution into the air your children breathe, well, that’s the price of progress. If you can’t afford to start a business or go to college, take my opponent’s advice and borrow money from your parents. [Laughter]

You know what, that’s not who we are. That’s not what this country’s about. As Americans, we believe we are endowed by our Creator with certain, inalienable rights, rights that no man or government can take away. We insist on personal responsibility, and we celebrate individual initiative. We’re not entitled to success; we have to earn it. We honor the strivers, the dreamers, the risk takers, the entrepreneurs who have always been the driving force behind our free enterprise system, the greatest engine of growth and prosperity that the world’s ever known.

But we also believe in something called citizenship. Citizenship: a word at the very heart of our founding, a word at the very essence of our democracy, the idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations.

We believe that when a CEO pays his autoworkers enough to buy the cars that they build, the whole company does better. We believe that when a family can no longer be tricked into signing a mortgage they can’t afford, that family is protected, but so is the value of other people’s homes, and so is the entire economy. We believe the little girl who’s offered an escape from poverty by a great teacher or a grant for college could become the next Steve Jobs or the scientist who cures cancer or the President of the United States, and it is in our power to give her that chance.

We know that churches and charities can often make more of a difference than a poverty program alone. We don’t want handouts for people who refuse to help themselves, and we certainly don’t want bailouts for banks that break the rules. We don’t think that government can solve all of our problems, but we don’t think that government is the source of all of our problems, any more than are welfare recipients, or corporations, or unions, or immigrants, or gays, or any other group we’re told to blame for our troubles.

Because, America, we understand that this democracy is ours. We, the people, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together, that a freedom which asks only “what’s in it for me,” a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism is unworthy of our founding ideals and those who died in their defense.

As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us; it’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government. That’s what we believe.

So you see, the election 4 years ago wasn’t about me. It was about you. My fellow citizens, you were the change. You’re the reason there’s a little girl with a heart disorder in Phoenix who will get the surgery she needs because an insurance company can’t limit her coverage. You did that.

You’re the reason a young man in Colorado who never thought he’d be able to afford his dream of earning a medical degree is about to get that chance. You made that possible.

You’re the reason a young immigrant who grew up here and went to school here and pledged allegiance to our flag will no longer be deported from the only country she’s ever called home; why selfless soldiers won’t be kicked out of the military because of who they are or who they love; why thousands of families have finally been able to say to the loved ones who served us so bravely: “Welcome home.” [Applause] “Welcome home.” You did that. [Applause] You did that. You did that.

If you turn away now, if you buy into the cynicism that the change we fought for isn’t possible, well, change will not happen. If you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference, then other voices will fill the void: the lobbyists and special interests; the people with the $10 million checks who are trying to buy this election and those who are trying to make it harder for you to vote; Washington politicians who want to decide who you can marry, or control health care choices that women should be making for themselves.

Only you can make sure that doesn’t happen. Only you have the power to move us forward.

I recognize that times have changed since I first spoke to this convention. The times have changed, and so have I. I’m no longer just a candidate. I’m the President.

And that means I know what it means to send young Americans into battle, for I have held in my arms the mothers and fathers of those who didn’t return. I’ve shared the pain of families who’ve lost their homes and the frustration of workers who’ve lost their jobs.

If the critics are right that I’ve made all my decisions based on polls, then I must not be very good at reading them. [Laughter] And while I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved together, I’m far more mindful of my own failings, knowing exactly what Lincoln meant when he said, “I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go.”

But as I stand here tonight, I have never been more hopeful about America. Not because I think I have all the answers. Not because I’m naive about the magnitude of our challenges. I’m hopeful because of you.

The young woman I met at a science fair who won national recognition for her biology research while living with her family at a homeless shelter, she gives me hope.

The autoworker who won the lottery after his plant almost closed, but kept coming to work every day and bought flags for his whole town and one of the cars that he built to surprise his wife, he gives me hope.

The family business in Warroad, Minnesota, that didn’t lay off a single one of their 4,000 employees when the recession hit, even when their competitors shut down dozens of plants, even when it meant the owner gave up some perks and some pay because they understood that their biggest asset was the community and the workers who had helped build that business—they give me hope.

I think about the young sailor I met at Walter Reed hospital, still recovering from a grenade attack that would cause him to have his leg amputated above the knee. Six months ago, we would watch him walk into a White House dinner honoring those who served in Iraq, tall and 20 pounds heavier, dashing in his uniform, with a big grin on his face, sturdy on his new leg. And I remember how a few months after that I would watch him on a bicycle, racing with his fellow wounded warriors on a sparkling spring day, inspiring other heroes who had just begun the hard path he had traveled, he gives me hope. He gives me hope.

I don’t know what party these men and women belong to. I don’t know if they’ll vote for me. But I know that their spirit defines us. They remind me, in the words of Scripture, that ours is a “future filled with hope.”

And if you share that faith with me—if you share that hope with me—I ask you tonight for your vote. If you reject the notion that this Nation’s promise is reserved for the few, your voice must be heard in this election. If you reject the notion that our Government is forever beholden to the highest bidder, you need to stand up in this election.

If you believe that new plants and factories can dot our landscape, that new energy can power our future, that new schools can provide ladders of opportunity to this nation of dreamers; if you believe in a country where everyone gets a fair shot and everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same rules, then I need you to vote this November.

America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won’t promise that now. Yes, our path is harder, but it leads to a better place. Yes, our road is longer, but we travel it together. We don’t turn back. We leave no one behind. We pull each other up. We draw strength from our victories, and we learn from our mistakes, but we keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon, knowing that Providence is with us, and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you. God bless you, and God bless these United States.


NOTE: The President spoke at 10:24 p.m. at the Time Warner Cable Arena. In his remarks, he referred to Rep. Deborah Wasserman Schultz, chair, Democratic National Committee; and Republican Presidential nominee W. Mitt Romney and Vice Presidential nominee Paul D. Ryan.

* White House correction.