Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you. (Cheers, applause continue.) Calm down! (Chuckles.)
(Inaudible.) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am honored to be here with you. (Applause
continues.) I am honored to share this podium with my senator, Hillary
Rodham Clinton. (Cheers, applause.) And I want to thank the people of
New York for giving the best public servant in my family a chance to
continue serving the public. Thank you. (Cheers, applause.)
I am also -- I"m going to say that again, in case you didn"t hear it.
(Laughter.) I"m honored to be here tonight, and I want to thank the
people of New York for giving Hillary -- (cheers, applause) -- the chance
to continue to serve in public life. (Cheers, applause.) I am very proud
of her. And we are both very grateful to all of you, especially my good
friends from Arkansas -- (cheers, applause) -- for giving me the chance
to serve in the White House for eight years. (Cheers, applause.)
I am honored to share this night with President Carter, for whom I
worked in 1976 and who has inspired the world with his work for
peace, democracy and human rights. (Cheers, applause.)
I am honored to share it with Al Gore, my friend and my partner for
eight years -- (cheers, applause) -- who played such a large role in
building the prosperity and peace that we left America in 2000. And Al
Gore, as he showed again tonight, demonstrated incredible patriotism
and grace under pressure. He is the living embodiment of the principle
that every vote counts, and this year we"re going to make sure they"re
all counted in every state in America. (Cheers, applause.)
My friends, after three conventions as a candidate or a president,
tonight I come to you as a citizen, returning to the role that I have
played for most of my life; as a foot soldier in our fight for the future as
we nominate in Boston a true New England patriot for president.
(Cheers, applause.) Now this state, who gave us in other times of
challenge John Adams and John Kennedy, has given us John Kerry, a
good man, a great senator, a visionary leader. And we are all here to do
what we can to make him the next president of the United States.
My friends, we are constantly being told that America is deeply divided.
But all Americans value freedom and faith and family. We all honor the
service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform in Iraq,
Afghanistan and throughout the world. (Cheers, applause.) We all want
good jobs, good schools, health care, safe streets, a clean environment.
We all want our children to grow up in a secure America, leading the
world toward a peaceful and prosperous future.
Our differences are in how we can best achieve these things in a time
of unprecedented change. Therefore, we Democrats will bring to the
American people this year a positive campaign, arguing not who"s a
good or a bad person, but what is the best way to build the safe and
prosperous world our children deserve. (Cheers, applause.)
The 21st century is marked by serious security threats, serious
economic challenges, and serious problems, from AIDS to global
warming to the continuing turmoil in the Middle East. But it also full of
amazing opportunities to create millions of new jobs, and clean energy,
and biotechnology, to restore our manufacturing base and reap the
benefits of the global economy through our diversity and our
commitment to decent labor and environmental standards for people all
across the world. (Cheers, applause.) And to create a world where we
can celebrate our religious, our racial, our ethnic, our tribal differences
because our common humanity matters most of all. (Cheers, applause.)
To build that kind of world, we must make the right choices, and we
must have a president who will lead the way. Democrats and
Republicans have very different and deeply felt ideas about what
choices we should make. They"re rooted in fundamentally different
views of how we should meet our common challenges at home and
how we should play our role in the world.
We Democrats want to build a world and an America of shared
responsibilities and shared benefits. We want a world with more global
cooperation, where we act alone only when we absolutely have to.
(Applause.) We think the role of government should give -- should be
to give people the tools and to create the conditions to make the most
of their own lives, and we think everybody should have that chance.
On the other hand, the Republicans in Washington believe that America
should be run by the "right" people -- their people -- in a world in which
America acts unilaterally when we can and cooperates when we have
to. They believe the role of government is to concentrate wealth and
power in the hands of those who embrace their economic, political and
social views, leaving ordinary citizens to fend for themselves on
important matters like health care and retirement security. Now since
most Americans aren"t that far to the right, our friends have to portray
us Democrats as simply unacceptable, lacking in strength and values; in
other words, they need a divided America. But we don"t. (Cheers,
Americans -- Americans long to be united. After 9/11, we all just
wanted to be one nation. Not a single American on September the
12th, 2001 cared who won the next presidential election. All we
wanted to do was to be one country, strong in the fight against terror,
helping to heal those who were wounded and the families of those
who lost their loved ones, reaching out to the rest of the world so we
could meet these new challenges and go on with our democratic way
The president had an amazing opportunity to bring the country
together under his slogan of compassionate conservatism, and to unite
the world in the struggle against terror.
Instead, he and his congressional allies made a very different choice.
They chose to move that -- to use that moment of unity to try to push
the country too far to the right and to walk away from our allies, not
only in attacking in Iraq before the weapons inspectors had finished
their work --
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yeah!
PRESIDENT CLINTON: -- but in withdrawing American support for the
climate change treaty --
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Right! (Applause.)
PRESIDENT CLINTON: -- and for the international court on war criminals
and from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and from the Nuclear Test Ban
(Cheers, applause.) Now -- now, at a time when we"re trying to get
other people to give up nuclear and biological and chemical weapons,
they are trying to develop two new nuclear weapons, which they say
we might use first.
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: No!
PRESIDENT CLINTON: At home, at home, the president and the
Republican Congress have made equally fateful choices, which they also
deeply believe in. For the first time when America was on a war footing
in our whole history, they gave two huge tax cuts, nearly half of which
went to the top 1 percent of us.
(Chuckles.) Now I"m in that group for the first time in my life.
(Applause.) And you might remember that when I was in office, on
occasion, the Republicans were kind of mean to me. (Laughter.) But
soon as I got out and made money, I began part of the most important
group in the world to them. It was amazing. I never thought I"d be so
well cared for by the president and the Republicans in Congress.
I almost sent them a thank-you note for my tax cuts -- (laughter) --
until I realized that the rest of you were paying for the bill for it, and
then I thought better of it. (Cheers, applause.)
Now, look at the choices they made, choices they believed in. They
chose to protect my tax cut at all costs, while withholding promised
funding for the Leave No Child Behind Act, leaving 2.1 million children
behind. (Cheers, applause.) They chose to protect my tax cut while
cutting 140,000 unemployed workers out of their job- training
programs, 100,000 working families out of their child-care assistance,
and worst of all, while cutting 300,000 poor children out of their after-
school programs when we know it keeps them off the streets, out of
trouble, in school learning, going to college and having a good life!
They chose, they chose to protect my tax cut while dramatically raising
the out-of-pocket costs of health care to our veterans, and while
weakening or reversing very important environmental measures that Al
Gore and I put into place, everything from clean air to the protection of
Now, in this time, everyone in America had to sacrifice except the
wealthiest Americans. And most of us, all most all of us, from
Republicans to Independents and Democrats, we wanted to be asked
to do our part too, but all they asked us to do was to expend the
energy necessary to open the envelopes containing our tax cuts.
Now, if you like these choices and you agree with them, you should
vote to return them to the White House and the Congress. (Boos.) If
not, take a look at John Kerry, John Edwards and the Democrats.
We"ve got a different economic policy. (Cheers, applause.)
In this year"s budget -- in this year"s budget, the White House this year
wants to cut off all the federal funding for 88,000 uniformed police
officers under the COPS program we"ve had for 10 years. Among those
88,000 police are more than 700 members of the New York Police
Department who put their lives on the line on 9/11. (Boos.) With gang
violence rising and with all of us looking for terrorists in our midst and
hoping they"re not too well armed or too well dangerous -- too
dangerous, the president and the Congress are about to allow the 10-
year-old ban on deadly assault weapons to lapse. (Boos.)
Now they believe it"s the right thing to do, but our policy was to put
more police on the street and to take assault weapons off the street --
(cheers, applause) -- and it gave you eight years of declining crime and
eight years of declining violence. (Cheers, applause.) Their policy is the
reverse. They"re taking police off the streets while they put assault
weapons back on the street. Now if you agree with that choice, by all
means vote to keep them in office. But if you don"t, join John Kerry,
John Edwards and the Democrats in making America safer, smarter and
stronger again. (Cheers, applause.)
On homeland security -- on homeland security, Democrats tried to
double the number of containers at ports and airports checked for
weapons of mass destruction. It cost a billion dollars. It would have
been paid for under our bill by asking the 200,000 millionaires in America
to cut their tax cut by $5,000. Almost all 200,000 of us would like to
have done that, to spend $5,000 to make all 300 million Americans feel
safer. The measure failed. Why? Because the White House and the
Republican leadership in the House of Representatives opposed it. They
thought our $5,000 was more important than doubling the container
checks at our ports and airports. If you agree with that, by all means
reelect them. If not, John Kerry and John Edwards are your team for
the future. (Cheers, applause.)
These policies have turned a projected $5.8 trillion surplus that we left -
- enough to pay for the baby-boomer retirement -- into a projected
debt of almost $5 trillion, with over $400 billion in deficit this year and
for years to come. Now, how do they pay for that deficit? First, by
taking the Social Security surplus that comes in every month and
endorsing the checks of working people over to me to pay for the tax
cut. But it"s not enough, so then they have to go borrow money. Most
of it they borrow from the Chinese and the Japanese government.
Sure these countries are competing with us for good jobs, but how can
we enforce our trade laws against our bankers? I mean, come on!
(Laughter, cheers, applause.)
So, if you think -- if you believe it is good policy, if you believe it is
good policy to pay for my tax cuts with the Social Security checks of
working men and women, and borrowed money from China and
Japan, you should vote for them. If not, John Kerry"s your man.
We Americans must choose for president -- we"ve got to choose for
president between two strong men who both love their country but
who have very different world views: our nominee, John Kerry, who
favors shared responsibility, shared opportunity, and more global
cooperation, and their president and their party in Congress who favor
concentrated wealth and power, leaving people to fend for
themselves, and more unilateral action.
I think we"re right for two reasons. First of all, America just works
better when more people have a chance to live their dreams. And
secondly -- (cheers, applause) -- we live in an interdependent world in
which we cannot possibly kill, jail or occupy all our potential adversaries.
So we have to both fight terror and build a world with more partners
and fewer terrorists. (Cheers, applause.)
Now we tried it their way for 12 years. We tried it their way for 12
years. We tried it our way for eight years. Then we tried it their way
for four more. By the only test that matters, whether people were
better off when we finished than when we started, our way works
better. (Cheers, applause.)
It produced over 22 million good jobs, rising incomes for the middle
class, over a hundred times as many people moved from poverty into
the middle class, more health care, the largest increase in college aid in
50 years, record homeownership, a cleaner environment, three
surpluses in a row, a modernized defense force, strong efforts against
terror and a respected America in the world. (Cheers, applause.) It
More importantly -- more importantly, we have great new champions in
John Kerry and John Edwards, two good men with wonderful wives --
Teresa, a generous and wise woman who understands the world we"re
trying to shape, and Elizabeth, a lawyer and mother who understands
the lives we"re trying to live. (Cheers, applause.)
Now let me tell you what I know about John Kerry. I"ve been seeing all
the Republican ads about him. Let me tell you what I know about him.
During the Vietnam War, many young men, including the current
president, the vice president and me, could have gone to Vietnam and
didn"t. John Kerry came from a privileged background. He could have
avoided going, too. But instead he said, "Send me." (Cheers, applause.)
When -- when they sent those swift boats up the river in Vietnam, and
they told them their job was to draw hostile fire, to wave the American
flag and bait the enemy to come out and fight, John Kerry said, "Send
me." (Cheers, applause.)
And then, on my watch, when it was time to heal the wounds of war
and normalize relations with Vietnam and to demand an accounting of
the POWs and MIAs we lost there, John Kerry said, "Send me."
Then, when we needed someone to push the cause of inner-city
children struggling to avoid a life of crime, or to bring the benefits of
high technology to ordinary Americans, or to clean the environment in a
way that created new jobs, or to give small businesses a better chance
to make it, John Kerry said, "Send me."
AUDIENCE: "Send me." (Cheers; applause.)
PRESIDENT CLINTON: So tonight, my friends, I ask you to join me for
the next 100 days in telling John Kerry"s story, in promoting his ideas.
Let every person in this hall and like-minded people all across our land
say to him what he has always said to America: "Send me."
AUDIENCE: "Send me." (Cheers; applause.)
PRESIDENT CLINTON: The bravery -- the bravery that men who fought
by his side in battle, that bravery they saw in battle I have seen in
politics. When I was president, John Kerry showed courage and
conviction on crime, on welfare reform, on balancing the budget, at a
time when those priorities were not exactly the way to win a popularity
contest in our party. John Kerry took tough positions on tough
problems. He knows who he is and where he"s going. He has the
experience, the character, the ideas, the values to be a great
president. And in a time of change, he has two other very important
qualities: an insatiable curiosity to understand the world around him --
(cheers; applause) -- and a willingness to hear other views, even those
who disagree with him. (Cheers; applause.) Therefore, John Kerry will
make choices that reflect both conviction and common sense.
He proved that when he picked John Edwards to be his partner.
Now, everybody talks about John Edwards" energy and intellect and
charisma. You know, I kind of resent him. (Laughter.) But the
important thing is not what talents he has, but how he has used them.
He chose, he chose to use his talents to improve the lives of people like
him who had to work for everything they"ve got, and to help people
too often left out and left behind. And that"s what he"ll do as our vice
president. (Cheers, applause.)
Now, their opponents will tell you -- their opponents will tell you we
should be afraid of John Kerry and John Edwards because they won"t
stand up to the terror. Don"t you believe it. Strength and wisdom are
not opposing values. (Cheers, applause.) They go hand in hand.
(Continued cheers, applause.) They go hand in hand, and John Kerry
has both. His first priority will be to keep America safe. Remember the
scripture, "Be not afraid." John Kerry and John Edwards are good
people with good ideas, ideas to make the economy work again for
middle class Americans, to restore fiscal responsibility, to save Social
Security, to make health care more affordable and college more
available, to free us from dependence on foreign oil and create new
jobs with clean energy and a cleaner environment -- (cheers, applause) -
- to rally the world, to rally the world to our side in the war against
terror, and to make a world with more friends and less terror.
My friends, at every turning point in our history, we the people have
chosen unity over division, heeding our founders" call to America"s
eternal mission to form a more perfect union, to widen the circle of
opportunity, deepen the reach of freedom, and strengthen the bonds
of our community. It happened every time because we made the right
In the early days of the Republic, America was divided and at a
crossroads, much as it is today, deeply divided over whether or not to
build a real nation with a national economy and a national legal system.
We chose to build a more perfect union.
In the Civil War, America was at another crossroads, deeply divided over
whether to save the union and end slavery. We chose a more perfect
In the 1960s, when I was a young man, we were divided again over
civil rights and women"s rights. And again we chose to form a more
As I said in 1992, I say again tonight: we are all in this together.
(Cheers.) We have an obligation both to work hard and to help our
fellow citizens, an obligation both to fight terror and to build a world
with more cooperation and less terror. Now, again, it is time to choose.
Since we"re all in the same boat, we should choose a captain of our
ship who is a brave, good man, who knows how to steer a vessel
through troubled waters to the calm seas and the clear skies of our
more perfect union. (Cheers, applause.) That is our mission. So let us
join tonight and say to America in a loud, clear voice: "Send John
Kerry!" (Cheers, applause.)
God bless you. (Cheers, applause.)