Twelve years ago, when our country needed new leadership, Americans selected a Democrat who gave us eight years of peace, prosperity and promise. Tonight I have the pleasure of introducing the last great Democratic president — but first I want to say a few words about the next great Democratic president, John Kerry.
You know, I, like all of you, just heard the moving testimonials about the horrors of September the 11th and the extraordinary witnessing by Reverend Alston concerning his lieutenant, John Kerry.
I don’t know how any American could hear the Reverend Alston and not know John Kerry is the man we need to be our president and commander in chief!
And yes, we meet at a moment of great peril, but also of great promise for the country we love. Together we can once again widen the circle of opportunity for all Americans. We can once again transcend our differences and divisions. We can once again give our children a safer and more secure future. That is the promise of America, and John Kerry will renew and keep that promise to this generation and generations to come. He knows very well that you have to lead the world, not alienate it. He will — He will lower the deficit, not raise it. He will create good jobs, not lose them. And he will solve a health care crisis for our people, not ignore it.
Now I know a thing or two about health care. And I know that the problems have only gotten worse in the last four years. We need to rededicate ourselves to the task of providing health care coverage for the 44 million Americans who don’t have it. And we have to do more to lower the costs for all the rest of Americans, who are facing increasing health care insurance premiums and drug prices.
We also — we also need to lift the ban on stem cell research — and find cures that will help millions of Americans.
You know, health care is a serious issue, and it requires serious solutions. And that’s what John Kerry is good at, and that’s what he will give us.
He will also give us something else: a great vice president by the name of John Edwards.
Now you know that John Edwards is smart, he’s energetic, and he’s empathetic. And he understands the challenges that hardworking Americans face in their daily lives.
Americans will be proud to have the Kerry-Edwards team in the White House, and they will be proud, as we all will be, to have their extraordinary partners, Teresa Heinz Kerry and Elizabeth Edwards, working for our country as well.
Now, you know, we’ve been through our share of challenges as Americans; you know, from a Civil War to a Great Depression to world wars and so much more. But being a senator from New York, I saw firsthand — as all of my friends and colleagues did, the devastation of September the 11th. I visited Ground Zero the day after we were attacked, and I felt like I was standing at the gates of hell.
I hope no American ever has to witness a horrible sight like that ever again. And yet, that tragedy both changed and challenged us. I know it did for me. And every day now as a mother, as a senator, as an American, I worry about whether we are acting as wisely as we can to protect our country and our people.
Last week the bipartisan 9/11 commission issued its report, and that commission would never have been in existence had it not been for the brave family members who insisted that this government have a commission to look into 9/11. And those commissioners issued a sober call to action that we ignore at our peril.
John Kerry understands what’s at stake when it comes to our security. We need to fully equip and train our firefighters, our police officers, and our emergency medical technicians.
They are our first responders in the event of a terrorist attack. And we need to secure our borders, our rail lines and our ports, as well as our chemical and nuclear plants.
We need to reorganize our federal government to meet the new threats of these times. And we need to make sure that homeland security is a priority, and that it is funded properly, and that the resources go to the areas of greatest risk, like New York City.
And along with that, we need to take care of our men and women in uniform, who like John Kerry, risk their lives, and for too many lost their lives in service to our country.
These brave Americans deserve better. We need to increase our troop strength, we need to raise their pay. We need to provide our veterans, our National Guard and Reserve with the benefits they are entitled to for the service and duty they perform for our nation!
And do you know, do you know what we need to meet these challenges? We need a new commander in chief named John Kerry! I’ve been saying for many months now John Kerry is a serious man for a serious job in a serious time in our country’s history.
So let’s join together, not just those of us in this great hall tonight, but throughout our nation, and do everything we possibly can to convince our fellow Americans to look to the future, to look deep inside themselves. They know what is best for our children. And if we just have the courage to act on our conviction, we will, by an overwhelming majority, send John Kerry and John Edwards to do their duty for us in the White House starting next year!
I am very optimistic about this election because I think I know a great leader when I see one. And so does America! In 1992 and 1996, Americans chose a president who left our country in better shape than when he took office. And he still spends his days working to empower the powerless; to promote racial, religious and ethnic reconciliation; to inspire young people to citizen service; and to bring life-saving medicines to people living with HIV-AIDS throughout the world. He showed Democrats how to win again, and so will John Kerry.