Women for Hillary Clinton Speech and Launch

Jeanne Shaheen: We’re riled up today! So what do you think, this is pink power! Good morning Portsmouth and thank you for sharing part of your Labor Day weekend with us.  Before we begin, I just want to take a minute and introduce the members of my big family who are here with us today. My husband Billy, and with him is Stacy and Stephanie, who you already saw, and Molly and her new husband Hugh, and four of our grandchildren, Ellie, Caroline, Anna and Will, all visiting. Yes, we have seven actually. Hillary has a ways to go to catch us.

I’m here today to endorse my friend Hillary Clinton for President. And we are all here to kick off Women for Hillary. Women are standing with Hillary, because Hillary stands with women. On issue, after issue, from equal pay, to reproductive rights, to childcare, she’s always been there and she always will be. I think that it’s appropriate that we launched Women for Hillary today, on the 20th anniversary of a speech the First Lady Hillary Clinton made in Beijing. Where she declared human rights are women’s rights, our women’s rights are human rights, once and for all.  Hillary’s clarion call, two decades ago, was a Seminole moment for women and girls around the world. That speech had two great impacts. First, it put the world on notice that the United States was going to fully integrate women’s rights into our foreign policy. Years later as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton again made women’s rights a centerpiece of her tenure. Second, Hillary’s words that day gave hope to millions of women and girls around the world, who heard the First Lady of the United States say, you matter and we will fight for you. To me that moment really captures Hillary Clinton. She is a voice for the voiceless, someone who always chooses to lift people up rather than tear people down. Hillary understands that words do matter, they matter for the First Lady and they definitely matter for the President of the United States.

The Presidency requires someone to be judicious and temperate, but sadly we’re not seeing much of that in the republican presidential primary. You know, you’ve been watching, right? The Republican primary has turned into a round the clock spectacle, of scapegoating and name-calling. That’s not the America I want for my children and grandchildren. We need a president who speaks to our highest ideals, not to our basic instincts. It’s not surprising that some Republican candidates have saved their most outrageous attacks for Hillary. Here’s a little secret they should know, Hillary is as tough as they come. We have seen her toughness, again and again, as First Lady, as senator, as secretary of state, and in these difficult times we need a president who was tough, not a bully with a glass jaw. So, when it comes to being attacked by the republican field, Hillary’s in good company. She will proudly stand with women. She will proudly stand with Latino Americans. She will proudly stand with the LGBT community. She will proudly stand with teachers. She will proudly stand with the hard workingmen and women of labor. Now, Hillary doesn’t look for a fight, but neither will she shrink from one if the cause is right.

Now, I’m a proud democrat, like so many of us here, and we have some really fine people running in the democratic primary. They have great ideas, and they have lots of passion, and they will enrich this race. But I choose Hillary, not because she’s a woman candidate, although I think it will be pretty great to have the first woman president, I choose Hillary because I know her, and I trust her.  I trust her to tackle the big challenges that we face in this country, from ISIS in Iran, to pay equity and the high costs of college. Whether leading foreign policy, or domestic policy, Hillary is equal to the task. No one else running for President has the depth of knowledge, and experience that she has.

I trust Hillary to fight for the middle class because it’s what she’s always done. Whether fighting for equal pay, affordable child-care, or paid family leave, she has always been a champion of middle-class families. Hillary has a plan to make college affordable, so that students aren’t saddled with debt. She won’t grandstand or fear monger on immigration, but she’ll reach across the aisle and fix that broken system. Hillary believes in science and she will work to combat climate change. She will never back down on women’s reproductive rights, and I guarantee you that Hillary Clinton is never going to defund Planned Parenthood. Nobody is better to represent the United States on the world’s stage than Hillary Clinton. So for all of those reasons, I’m a woman for Hillary. She has tested, she is our champion, and she is our friend. So please welcome the next President of the United States, Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton: Thank you so much! I am so thrilled to be here, back in New Hampshire. Here for Women for Hillary, I really like the sound of that, and I’m so proud to be here with one of New Hampshire’s finest public servants, my friend, and yours, Jeanne Shaheen. Talk about a great women leader, well Jeanne Shaheen is not only New Hampshire’s first woman senator, she’s not only New Hampshire’s first woman elected governor, she’s also the first and only woman ever to serve as both senator and governor in the history of the United States.  In every office that she has held, she has served with integrity, and skill, and I want to thank New Hampshire, for not only electing her, but also supporting Jeanne. You are lucky to have a public servant of such distinction; I’m lucky to have a friend like Jeanne Shaheen.

You know there are a lot of statistics to fit this occasion, for New Hampshire. In 2008, New Hampshire became the first state to elect a state legislature with more women than men. In 2012, you were the first state to send an all-women delegation to Washington. Your wonderful governor is a woman. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is a woman. I think the rest of America could learn a few lessons from New Hampshire, don’t you? So there is no place I would rather be to kick off Women for Hillary than right here in Portsmouth, right here in New Hampshire. Nothing makes me prouder to share a platform with Jeanne Shaheen and to see all of you here. I’m grateful for you being here on behalf of this announcement of Women for Hillary, but I also know that many of you are here because you believe in the causes.

You believe in importance of us continuing to push forward on equality. You are here for each other, you’re here for women and men and children and families across New Hampshire and America. You’re here because you believe that working together, you and I, can make a real difference, can make it absolutely clear that we have to renew the basic bargain of America, that if you work hard and you do your part, you should be able to get ahead and stay ahead. That’s the America we love, that’s the America I’m fighting for, and all of you are helping me, and that’s what’s at stake in this election. Whether our country keeps moving toward opportunities and prosperity for all, or whether we slide backward and let all the hard work that we’ve done over the last years, particularly the last six and a half years, slip away.

Now we have come a considerable distance from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and I know that we didn’t make this progress without an enormous amount of effort from hard-working Americans. A lot of you took second jobs; a lot of you postponed home repairs, going to college. Thanks to the hard work, and the sacrifice, of the American people we’re standing again, but we are not yet running the way America should. Families are stretched in a million directions, and so are your budgets. Costs for everything from prescription drugs, to child-care, to college, are going up faster than wages. A full-time minimum wage job cannot lift you out of poverty. Middle-class paychecks haven’t increased in years, even though corporate profits and CEO pay keeps rising. At a time when more women than ever are their family’s main breadwinners, too often, can you believe it, they still don’t get equal pay. Think of the millions of Americans being held back by student debt, many cant start a business, they can’t buy a home, that can’t move out of their parents home, they can’t even get married, because of the huge load of debt hanging over their heads. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be in America. If you work hard and you do your part, you should be able to get ahead and stay ahead. That is the basic bargain I am fighting to renew. Now that bargain made our country great, and gave us gave us a chance. We have seen in our own families, haven’t we?

I’m the granddaughter of a factory worker; my grandfather was a loom operator in the Scranton lace mills for many, many, years. But he never doubted that if he worked hard, his kids can have a better life, and indeed my father did. He graduated from college, and then he started a small business that gave us a good middle-class life. That bargain made my mother’s whole life possible. She had a really difficult childhood. Her own parents abandoned her. By the time she was 14, she was out working in another family as a housemaid. But the woman who’s house she cleaned was kind to her, and encouraged her to go to high school so long as she got her work done. That was a deal my mother leapt to accept. So she worked hard, she graduated from high school, she supported herself with various office jobs, she met and married my dad and she poured all of her love and support into her children. She was a wonderful mother, and as my daughter would say, an even better grandmother. I remember asking her, when I was old enough to understand how different her childhood was from my very stable middle-class one, how had she done it? Where did she get the strength to keep going? Her answer was very simple. Kindness from someone who believed she mattered. My mother taught me that everybody deserves a chance, and everyone deserves a champion. Because some people believed in her, she believed in me. And that’s why, I believe with all my heart and the potential of every single American. That’s what that basic bargain means to me.

Now when my husband, running for president that first time, way back in 1992, here in New Hampshire, when he put people first, he made that bargain means something again, in the nineteen nineties. We had 23 million new jobs, a balanced budget, and for the first time in decades, all the American people grew together. Not just those at the top, but people at the bottom, and people in the middle. When President Obama came into office, facing the worst financial crisis, we were on the brink of depression. Don’t let anybody try to impose amnesia on you. When Barack Obama became president, we were losing 800,000 jobs a month. He pulled us back, he pulled us out of that ditch, he saved the auto industry, he curved wall street abuses, and he provide health care to 16 million people. So, to me the evidence is pretty clear. The basic bargain works, and it works better we have a Democrat in the White House.

If everybody does their fair share, and everyone gets a fair shot, our whole country succeeds. That success doesn’t just go to a few people. It’s widely shared; we’ve proved that again and again. Now it’s up to us to renew that bargain for a new generation. To do what we know works, and what we know is right. To make sure all Americans get a chance to pursue their dreams, live up to their God-given potential. That’s what I will do as President. I want to be your President. And I want a president who takes on all the big problems that fill our screens every day, from Isis, to gun violence, to climate change, but I also want to take on the quieter problems too, the ones that keep us up at night.

How are you going to work if you can’t find anyone to watch your kids? What happens if you lose that job you worked so hard to find? Where can you turn when a loved one, who’s battling addiction, or mental illness, finally asks for help? Now based on the many conversations I’ve been having, I would bet some of you have found yourselves awake in the middle of the night, searching for answers to problems like these, because as I travel the country, people come and talk to me about their lives. You know it’s a very humbling experience if you actually listen, and you find the space, and the time, to give people a chance to talk to you, as opposed to talking at them, they will share what’s on their hearts. I find that an incredible gift. You know like the single mom juggling a job and classes at community college, while raising three kids alone. She’s doing what you have to do to give herself and her children a better life, and she does not expect anything to come easy, but she asked me, isn’t there anything we can do so it doesn’t have to be quite so hard? Or the student, who told me that paying for college, shouldn’t be the hardest thing about going to college. Or the grandmother, who is raising her grandchild, right here in New Hampshire, because her daughter is struggling with drugs, now she needs to find a job after being out of the workforce for a while, and on top of everything else she needs child care. Or the woman who’s here today, who told me in a town hall in Dover, she was taking care of both husband and her mother, who are suffering from Alzheimer’s. And what could be done to invest more in research, so that we could begin to crack these diseases that take such a toll. These are the kinds of things people share with me everyday. Challenges our leaders should care about, problems that don’t get nearly enough attention. Well I am paying attention. Other candidates may be out there hurling insults at everyone, talking about what’s wrong with America, and who’s to blame for it, but I’m going to keep doing what I’ve always done. Fight for you, and fight for your families.

You know, I believe raising incomes and supporting families is the defining economic challenge of our time, that’ why I’ve made at the focus of my campaign, it will be the mission every single day when I’m president. And these are not new fights for me. You know I’m happy to have others join the fight, I’m happy to have people discover some of these problems. My first job out of law school, wasn’t with some big law firm, it was what the children’s defense fund, working on behalf of poor kids, kids with disabilities. A few years later I started an organization called Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, advocating better health care and education for kids. I have spent my entire life working to even the odds for people who have those odds stacked against them. That’s what keeps me going, that’s what public service means to me. And you know, a funny thing happens when you work on behalf of children and families. You start to noticing how often politicians overlook the issues that you spend all of your time worrying about. Issues like affordable child-care, prenatal care, so women can be as healthy as possible when they give birth. Or paid family leave, so parents can stay home for a little while with their new babies.

You know too often, these are called women’s issues. Well I am a proud lifelong fighter for women’s issues; because I firmly believe what is good for women is good for America. And look at it this way, childcare is a women’s issue, but it’s also an economic issue. If you can’t afford to go to work, or find a safe place to leave your kids, you’re not going to have the kind of economic opportunity you deserve. That’s something all Americans should care about, because when women can fully participate in the workforce, our economy grows and benefits. Paid family leave is a women’s issue, but it’s also an economic issue. You should not have to lose your paycheck, or your job, when you have a baby or someone in your family gets sick. By the way, it’s not only women who would like these policies, plenty of new dads would also like some time to bond with their newborns. And like the young man I said hello to earlier, lots of sons are taking care of their aging parents, along with daughters. Now of course equal pay is a women’s issue, but it’s also an economic issue, and it’s about basic fairness too. Look, we have to just get over this. Women should be paid the same as men, and when they’re not, their whole families get short-changed. Let’s not stop there. As far as I’m concerned, any issue that affects women’s lives and futures is a women’s issue. At a time when a majority of minimum wage workers across America are women, raising the minimum wage is a woman’s issue. Holding corporations accountable when they just on drug prices, pollute our environment, or exploit workers are women’s issues. Making sure when a company does well, the people who work at that company day-in and day-out share in the profits, like market basket, not just the shareholders and the executives. At a time, when more women than ever are getting a higher education, making college affordable, helping people refinance their student debt, and helping students with kids to find childcare, those are women’s issues too. Protecting the equal rights of all Americans, no matter what they look like, or who they love, that’s a women’s issue.

That’s why I believe and I will continue to stand up for the basic principle of creating a pathway to citizenship, for the millions of immigrants who love this country, and contribute to it every day. Fighting to make social security even stronger, and keep our commitment to America’s seniors, because the people who are suffering the most on social security right now are women. Insisting that everyone deserves access to quality affordable health care, and that the Affordable Care Act is here to stay. These are all women’s issues, but they’re also American issues. People across our country are working hard every single day, and I am behind you every step of the way. If we women stand together and fight together, we can make our country stronger, we can make our country fairer, we can give our children and grandchildren the brighter futures that they deserve. Now I have to tell you, I have to say we women are not afraid of hard work. And that’s good, because we got some hard work to do. Because there are people out there with a very different vision about our country, and they will say, do, and spend whatever it takes, to advance their out of touch, out of date agenda.

Last month, as Jeanne was saying, we heard from all 17 of the republican candidates and their first presidential debate. They basically agreed with each other about everything, they’re still talking about the same top-down, out of touch, policies they have been hawking for years, and they all seemed oblivious to how their ideas would hurt people, or they’re just not interested in how that would happen. Not one of them had a single word to say about how to make college affordable, not a word about equal pay or paid family leave, or quality affordable preschool for our kids, no solutions for skyrocketing prescription drug costs, no serious plans for how to keep growing the economy. Their only policy is more tax cuts for the rich, more trickle-down plans that haven’t worked, and won’t work. No promises to end the era of mass incarceration, no one saying loudly and clearly that black lives matter. Hardly any ideas, hardly any ideas, I listened, about climate change, or promoting clean energy. No one is standing up and saying, what we all know to be true, we need real solutions for ending the gun violence that plagues our families and communities. Look, I know well that politics around guns are hard. Many would just rather throw up their hands, or give up the fight, but not me. I’m not going to sit by while more good people including, including more children die across America.

But republicans don’t want to talk about any of these things. Their flamboyant front-runner has grabbed a lot of attention lately. But if you look at everyone else’s policies, they’re pretty much the same, they’re Trump without the pizzazz or the hair. Mr. Trump says hateful things about immigrants, even about their babies. But how many of the others disagree with him, or support a real path to citizenship, or draw the line at changing the 14th amendment to the Constitution. You know, somehow the party of Lincoln has become the party Trump. And that is sad news for all Americans, whether you’re a Republican or not, Mr. Trump insults and dismisses women; he’s been throwing a lot of heat my way. That’s fine, as Jeanne said I can take it. But I do find a lot of what he says pretty ridiculous. For example, I don’t have a clue about women’s health issues. Really? I mean you can’t make this stuff up. He said he would do a much better job for women then I would. Now that’s a general election debate that’s going to be a lot of fun. And you know, whenever he is pressed about the things he says about women, he says he loves women, in fact, quote him, he cherishes us. Well, if it’s all the same to you, Mr. Trump, I’d rather you stop cherishing women and start respecting women.

You know, it’s pretty clear, as Jeanne said, he wants to bully his way into the presidency, but I want to build, build people up, build up our country. He’s not alone in this by the way, senator Rubio brags about denying victims of rape and incest access to abortion. Governor Bush says five hundred million dollars is too much to spend on women’s health. And when Ben Carson, a medical doctor, was asked if he supports “life of the mother” exceptions to abortion bans, he said, I’m not sure that’s a legitimate argument.

And they all want to defund Planned Parenthood.  In fact Rand Paul says of Planned Parenthood, they come up with all these fake things they supposedly do, like cancer screenings. Well with all due respect, Senator Paul, I’d like him to say that to the mom who called her breast cancer early, thanks to one of those quote, “fake screenings.” that she got at Planned Parenthood. And maybe while he’s at it, he can talk to some of the women who avoided becoming pregnant because they had access to contraception, or they actually were protected by taking an HIV test. Now New Hampshire has been dealing with this first hand and last month your Executive Council cut off funding to Planned Parenthood in New Hampshire. Let me slightly rephrase that, three men voted to deny women across the state, the health care you need and deserve. It just shows how out of touch, and out of date they are too. Now I know that when I talk like this, some people, you’ll probably hear them on cable or elsewhere, they will say, there she goes again with the women’s issues. Republicans actually say I’m playing the gender card. Well if calling for equal pay, and paid leave, and women’s health is playing the gender card, deal me in. I’m not going to sit idly by while republican’s shame and blame women. I’m not going to stay quiet while they demonized immigrants. I’m not going to keep silent when they say climate change isn’t real, or same-sex couples threaten our freedom, or trickle-down economics works. I’ve been fighting for families and underdogs my entire life, and I’m not going to stop now.

You know today is a special anniversary, for me. On this exact day, twenty years ago, I went to Beijing to give a speech at the UN’s fourth World Conference on Women. In fact, there are some women here today, that were there too. And they might remember that there were people in our own government, in our congress who didn’t want me to go to China. They didn’t think a First Lady should be so vocal, and the Chinese government wasn’t thrilled about it either. They were ready to censor any criticism, and I did have some critical things to say, but I didn’t get distracted by any of that. I just wanted to break the silence around all the terrible things happening to women and girls worldwide. Things like forced prostitution, babies killed for being born girls, so-called honor killings. And a lot of places people didn’t talk about these matters out loud, but I believe that if you want to solve a problem, you’ve got to start by talking about it. And for me I wanted to say that I believed in something so basic, and so true. I wasn’t sure how the speech would be received, but I really believe what I had to say, needed to be said. And it’s worth saying again. Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all.

So, we’ve come a long way in the last twenty years, but there’s still work to be done to secure woman’s rights. Around the world, and that goes for our own country too. We still have more work to do to protect women’s health, respect women’s choices, and ensure that every woman and every girl gets the chance at a quality education. We still have more work to do to make sure women are equal pay, and workers don’t have to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for their families. We still have work to do to encourage women leaders, in every field to help get more women elected to office, and to ensure that all ages, all races, all income levels are treated with the dignity, that every citizen deserves. And as we approach Labor Day, it’s important to remind ourselves, that the right to organize and to bargain collectively is a right that helped build the middle class of America. So lets keep working, lets work together towards that better future that we want for our children and our grandchildren. Let’s build an America, where everyone, women and men, can rise as far as their talents and hard work take them. Where everyone, everyone, has a shot at achieving their dreams and living up to their potential. And yes, we’re a father can say to his daughter, you can be anything you want, even President of the United States of America.

Advertisements