July 30, 2004

"I will be a commander-in-chief, who will never mislead us into war. I will have a vice president who will not conduct secret meetings with polluters to rewrite our environmental laws. I will have a secretary of defense who will..."

Here are, first, perhaps the most important sound bytes from the 2004 Democratic National Convention...since AnythingButSee (ABC), SeeBS (CBS), NotBeSeen (NBC) and SeeNotNews (CNN) selected *none* of them as sound bytes for their lead news stories of either speech...and second, numerous important speeches from the 2004 Democratic Convention...The LNS has already posted (and distributed via e-mail) the speeches of former President Jimmy Carter, Teresa Heinz Kerry, Rev. Al Sharpton and US Navy swift boat veteran Rev. David Alston because they so beautiful epitomized the seriousness of the threat to this Republic and of the importance of this struggle toward Election Day 2004. Here, in response to the requests of LNS foreign correspondent Dunston Woods and the many ex-pats he is in touch with, are the speeches of Jim Rassman, Max Cleland, Wesley Clark, Madeleine Albright, John Kerry, John Edwards, Al Gore, Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton…Each of them is poignant, each of them is powerful, each of them articulates the profound implications of the choices we will all make in this dire moment in the life of our nation...spread them far and wide…”the US mainstream media” has not and will not…Nor sadly it seems apparent will you hear the TRUTH about this race from *progressive* news media like KPFA (Pacifica) in Berkeley or www.commondreams, both of which are in deep denial about what has become of the shell-of-a-man-formerly-known-as-Ralph-Nader...Dennis Kucinich (D-Future) and even Noam Chomsky understand what time it is in America...We are locked in a struggle in which every vote may not get counted, therefore it is imperative that no vote be wasted..."Let us not talk falsely now the hour is getting late."

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) on Iraq:
"Saying there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq
doesn't make it so. Saying we can fight a war on the
cheap doesn't make it so. And proclaiming mission
accomplished certainly doesn't make it so."

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) on the Bush Cabal:
"I will be a commander-in-chief, who will never mislead us into war. I will have a vice president who will not conduct secret meetings with polluters to rewrite our environmental laws. I will have a secretary of defense who will listen to the best advice of the military leaders. And I will appoint an attorney general who will uphold the Constitution of the United States."

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) on Energy:
We value an America that controls its own destiny
because it's finally and forever independent of
Mideast oil. What does it mean for our economy and our
national security when we only have three percent of
the world's oil reserves, yet we rely on foreign
countries for fifty-three percent of what we consume?
I want an America that relies on its own ingenuity and
innovation - not the Saudi royal family.
And our energy plan for a stronger America will invest
in new technologies and alternative fuels and the cars
of the future -- so that no young American in uniform
will ever be held hostage to our dependence on oil
from the Middle East.

Sen. John Edwards (D-North Carolina) on Terrorism:
We will safeguard and secure our weapons of mass
destruction. We will strengthen our homeland security,
protect our ports, protect our chemical plants, and
support our firefighters, police officers, EMTs. We
will always use our military might to keep the
American people safe.
And we, John and I, we will have one clear
unmistakable message for al Qaeda and these
terrorists: You cannot run. You cannot hide. We will
destroy you.

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) on Health Care:
The story of people struggling for health care is the
story of so many Americans. But you know what, it's
not the story of senators and members of Congress.
Because we give ourselves great health care and you
get the bill. Well, I'm here to say, your family's
health care is just as important as any politician's
in Washington, D.C.
And when I'm President, America will stop being the
only advanced nation in the world which fails to
understand that health care is not a privilege for the
wealthy, the connected, and the elected - it is a
right for all Americans.

Sen. John Edwards (D-North Carolina) on Racism:
"From the time I was very young, I saw the ugly face
of segregation and discrimination. I saw young,
African-American kids being sent upstairs in movie
I saw "white only" signs on restaurant doors and
luncheon counters.
I feel such an enormous personal responsibility when
it comes to issues of race and equality and civil
And I've heard some discussions and debates around
America about where and in front of what audiences we
ought to talk about race and equality and civil
rights. I have an answer to that questions:
Everywhere, everywhere, everywhere.
This is not an African-American issue. This is not a
Latino issue. This is not an Asian-American issue.
This is an American issue.
It is about who we are, what our values are and what
kind of country we live in.
Everywhere, everywhere, everywhere, everywhere."

Save the US Consitution, Save the Environment, Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies, Break the Corporatist Stranglehold on the "Mainstream News Media," Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

Scroll through to the speech you are looking for..Rassmann, Cleland, Clark, Graham, Albright, Obama, Kerry, Edwards, Gore and the Clintons are all here...in complete transcripts...

Swift Boat Crew, Max Cleland Introduce John Kerry
Aired July 29, 2004 - 21:49 ET

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. They are introducing now the members of that swift boat crew, the men who served with John Kerry aboard that swift boat in Vietnam. Let's listen in there.
JIM RASSMANN, RESCUED BY JOHN KERRY IN VIETNAM: You know, there was a time when I thought I'd never see these guys again. A lot of our friends never made it home. We still miss them, especially on a night like this. We're all proud and honored to be here.

But let me say something important right up front: Nobody asked me to join this campaign. I volunteered.


And not just because, 35 years ago, John Kerry saved my life.

RASSMANN: I volunteered because I've seen John Kerry in action. I know his character. I've witnessed his bravery and leadership under fire. And I know he will be a great commander in chief.


Any one of these 12 brave men will tell you that in a tight situation, when your whole future, your whole life, depends on the decisions of one man, you can count on John Kerry.


And that's why this band of brothers is here tonight. That's why this band of brothers is still fighting for America. And that's why we are working so hard to elect the next president of the United States: John Kerry.


RASSMANN: There's another soldier here tonight, one who, like John, knows the trials of war and the true meaning of courage.

This man nearly lost his life in Vietnam, but he never lost his will, his sense of duty, or his devotion to country. Whether in state government, the United States Senate, the head of the VA, he has always been a leader of courage and conviction.

And no matter how low the attacks, he has always taken the high road, inspiring us all with his strength and patriotism.

(APPLAUSE) Please welcome a great American: Max Cleland.

MAX CLELAND, FMR. GEORGIA SENATOR: Thank you so much, Jim.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

My fellow Americans, I'd like to share with you tonight my story of how I came to know and love John Kerry.


It was April 1968. I was being airlifted out of Vietnam on a stretcher. At that moment, Ensign John Kerry was headed in a different direction. He was on a Navy ship in the Pacific requesting transfer into Vietnam, into the line of fire.


He had graduated from college. The world was his oyster. There were a lot of other things he could have done with his life. But he wanted to serve because he had been raised to believe that service to one's country is honorable, is noble and is good.


CLELAND: While John Kerry was earning a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts, I was being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. I was 25 years old. My body was broken, and my faith was shattered.

I remember, one day, on leave from the hospital, a friend on mine was pushing me, and we were going around the city. I was in my new wheelchair.

Right there in front of the White House, we hit a little bump and it dumped me right on the street, right there on the curb. There were cigarette butts and trash all around me. And I remember trying to lift myself up off the street. I was angry in those days at war, saddened that veterans were not getting good care, and frustrated that people in power were not listening.

CLELAND: Those were difficult days for me. Those were difficult days for my country.

But I ultimately realized that although I had lost a lot, I still had a lot left.


I resolved to make something of my life.


I decided to run for the State Senate in my home state of Georgia.


I won, but when I got there, in 1971, I was a lone voice.

Then I heard this young veteran on TV speaking about the war. It was John Kerry. He put everything I was feeling into words.

CLELAND: Tonight, I'd like to let you know, that even before I met John Kerry, he was my brother.


Even before I knew John Kerry, he was my friend. Even before I spoke with John Kerry, he gave me hope.


The Bible tells me that no greater love has a man than to lay down his life for his friends. John Kerry's fellow crewmates -- the men I am honored to share the stage with -- are living testimony to his leadership, his courage under fire, and his willingness to risk his life for his fellow Americans.


Ladies and gentlemen, there is no greater act of patriotism than that.


CLELAND: As I look back over the last 36 years, I realize John Kerry's service to his country did not end in Vietnam; it began there.


Since Vietnam, John Kerry's life has become an object lesson in what was once described as the true definition of patriotism -- the long and steady dedication of a lifetime.


And when we make John Kerry our next president of the United States, he will put America back on the long and steady road toward the vision of the country we fought for, a vision of the country we can become once again, a country that doesn't alienate our allies, but works with them...


... a country that doesn't lose jobs, but creates them...


... a country that doesn't limit educational opportunity, but expands it..

(APPLAUSE) ... a country that doesn't make health care less available, but more affordable, a country that doesn't spoil our environment, but protects it. A country that is strong a country that is respected, a country that is worthy of generations of sacrifice, and our children's highest hopes.

CLELAND: That is the America John Kerry volunteered to fight for. That is the America John Kerry will lead.


When John Kerry declared he was going to be a candidate for the highest office in our land, the presidency of the United States, on a hot, steamy day in Charleston, South Carolina, a little less than a year ago, I joined the band of brothers at his side.

CLELAND: After the ceremony, I grabbed his John's are and pressed a Bible into his hand. It was the Bible I once read from as a child. I knew that he would need the strength that it provided, the guidance it provided, and the comfort it had to offer in the days ahead.

At first, he said he was afraid he might lose it, he refused to take it. But I insisted. I told him: "Hold on to this. You'll need it like your country needs you now."


He looked with those kind of long sad eyes, and said, "I won't let you down."

My fellow Americans, John Kerry has never let me down. And he won't let you down either.


Why? Why? Because he is an authentic American, an authentic American hero. He is the next captain of our ship of state. And he will be the next president of the United States.


AUDIENCE: Kerry, Kerry, Kerry...

CLELAND: In every hour of challenge our country has faced, in every hour of danger, there have been American heroes who have answered this country's call.

Just blocks from where we are tonight, some 230 years ago, a little group, a small group called the Sons of Liberty assembled to demand democracy and a voice in their future. Mere steps from where we are now, a former slave named Crispus Attucks gave his life for freedom.


And around the corner from where we are tonight, a beacon of light shows -- and showed on that fateful day -- from the old North Church that set Paul Revere on a mission to save this country's people from danger.

CLELAND: Those were fateful hours for our young country.

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 gentlemen, tonight, John Kerry is able to answer this nation's call.

Clark: Kerry has moral courage born in battle
Thursday, July 29, 2004 Posted: 10:25 PM EDT (0225 GMT)
BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, a former Democratic presidential candidate, gave a prime time speech at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday. This is a transcript of his remarks.
CLARK: I am an American soldier. Our country has been attacked. We are at war. Our nation is at risk. And we are engaged in a life-and-death struggle against terrorists who are seeking nuclear and biological weapons.
As we are gathered here tonight, our armed forces are in combat.
Our freedoms were won in war. Our freedoms have been protected by generation after generation by the selfless service and sacrifice of men and women in uniform.
From Bunker Hill to Bastogne, from the frozen hills of Korea to the steaming jungles of Vietnam, from Kabul to Baghdad, American men and women in uniform have served with honor. They've given us so much; they've asked for so little.
Tonight, please give them a round of applause. Honor them, our veterans, our families. Give them a round of applause. We love our men and women in uniform.
They have given so much.
I want all America to see our party and how we respect the men and women who serve.
And I want to thank my wife, Gert; my son, Wesley; his wife Astrid; their son; and all of the military families especially who've stood year after year behind those who have served in uniform.
But I ask you now to observe with me just a moment of silence to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, so that we could have the freedoms that we exercise here tonight.
War. War. I've been there. So has John Kerry. I've heard the thump of enemy mortars. I've seen the tracers fly. Bled on the battlefield. Recovered in hospitals. Received and obeyed orders. Sent men and women into battle. Awarded medals, comforted families, attended funerals.
And this soldier has news for you tonight. Anyone who tells you that one political party has a monopoly on the best defense of our nation is committing a fraud on the American people.
Franklin Roosevelt said it best. Franklin Roosevelt said: "Repetition does not transform a lie into the truth."
This hall, this Democratic Party are filled with veterans who have served under the American flag. And this is our flag. Right there, that flag, we saluted this flag. We rose up in the morning and stood reveille to this flag. We fought for that flag. We've seen brave men and women buried under that flag. That flag is ours, and nobody, nobody will take it away from us.
But we've got to tell the truth. And the truth is this: The safety of our country demands urgent and innovative measures to strengthen our armed forces. The safety of our country demands credible intelligence. The safety of our country demands cooperation with our allies. The safety of our country demands making more friends and fewer enemies.
The safety of our country demands an end to the doctrinaire, ineffective policies that currently grip Washington.
Enough is enough.
A safe America, a just America, that's what we want, that's what we need. And with John Kerry and John Edwards, that is what we will achieve.
John Kerry has heard the thump of enemy mortars.
He's seen the flash of the tracers. He's lived the values of service and sacrifice. In the Navy, as a prosecutor, as a senator, he proved his physical courage under fire. And he's proved his moral courage too.
John Kerry fought a war, and I respect him for that. And he came home to fight a peace. And I respect him for that, too.
John Kerry's combination of physical courage and moral values is my definition of what we need as Americans in our commander in chief. And John Edwards with his leadership and extraordinary intelligence, he's going to be a great member of that command team.
John Kerry is a man who in time of war can lead us as a warrior, but in times of peace, he will heed the call of scripture to lead us in beating swords into plowshares.
John Kerry will lead America with strength and wisdom. He has the will to fight. He has the moral courage born in battle to pursue and secure a strong peace. Under John Kerry, I have no doubt -- and neither should any American -- that we are going to attack and destroy the terrorist threat to America.
John Kerry will join that pantheon of great wartime Democrats: great Democrats like Woodrow Wilson, who led us to victory in World War I; great Democrats like Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, who turned back the tide of fascism to win World War II; great Democrats like John Kennedy, who stood firm and steered us safely through the Cuban Missile Crisis; and great Democrats like Bill Clinton, who confronted ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia, and with diplomacy, backed by force, brought peace to a shattered land.
My fellow Americans, Democrats are leaders, and Democrats are fighters. And John Kerry is a leader, a fighter, and he will be a great commander in chief.
You see, John Kerry knows that the power of America is not just our armed forces and our weaponry.
It's really the power of our values and ideals.
And John Kerry knows that members of our armed forces embody the best of America's values: service, sacrifice, courage, compassion.
He knows that the members in the armed forces are serving to build something greater than themselves. They're serving to build something worth fighting for. They're serving to build something worth dying for.
John Kerry knows that the men and women who serve and our veterans are a company of heroes. And everyone who fights for the best in American life is also a hero: firemen, police officers, teachers and so many others.
I say to you tonight: John Kerry's time to lead this company of heroes has arrived. Right here, right now, in this town, tonight, from this place, we set out together to put our country back on track to security and freedom and opportunity.
America, hear this soldier.
Choose a leader whose physical courage, moral values and sound judgment, with the grace of God and our determined commitment, will strengthen our country, protect our liberty, renew our spirit and secure a future for our children that is worthy of our heritage.
Make John Kerry the next president of the United States

Senator Bob Graham
Fellow Democrats, thank you. And most especially, fellow Floridians, thank you for granting me the honor and privilege of serving you for nearly four decades. My family and I are so grateful to all of you for the wonderful adventure of public service you have made possible. Florida, you’ve made the difference for me; I know you’re going to make the difference for John Kerry and John Edwards. And this time, when the votes are counted, fellow Floridians, we are going to make a huge difference for America.
My fellow Americans, I want to tell you why I am casting my vote for John Kerry and John Edwards. The preamble to the Constitution tells us that one of the most important responsibilities of the government is to “provide for the common defense.” It has now been over one thousand days since the September 11th terrorist attacks changed our nation. One thousand days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, America had already landed on the beaches of Normandy and was rolling to victory in World War II. In that same amount of time in this new war on terror, we have not yet secured the beachhead. John Kerry and John Edwards will.
In this new century, we have seen the rise of perilous new threats. And yet we have not stopped them; we haven’t even stood up to them. John Kerry and John Edwards will. At a time when all freedom-loving people are looking for leadership to unite the world in a war against terrorism, America has not provided it. My friends, John Kerry and John Edwards will.
As Governor of Florida, I learned how little the FBI and CIA communicate with the state and local law enforcement agencies that are our first line of defense against terrorist attack. As Florida’s senator, I saw seaports where the greatest security was often little more than a chain-link fence. As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I have seen the places in the world where the worst biological weapons were manufactured, where nuclear materials go unprotected, and where the next generation of terrorists is being recruited. And as chairman of that committee, I investigated the September 11th attacks and saw how they should have been prevented.
From all of my service, I’ve come to this conclusion: Yes, there are real threats. But there are also real solutions.
Just last week, the September 11th commission was the latest to recommend major changes in the way we fight the war on terror. Few of these are new. Most are obvious. Sadly, over one thousand days after September 11th, none of them are in place. The ideas are there. It’s the leadership that has been missing.
We know that North Korea and Iran have nuclear aspirations, if not nuclear weapons. And yet only John Kerry and John Edwards have a plan to keep the world’s deadliest weapons from falling into the world’s most dangerous hands. We know that money is the terrorists’ lifeline, and yet it was John Kerry, long before September 11th, who had a plan to cut off the sources of terrorist funding.
We know that our bridges, tunnels, trains, buses, chemical plants, food and water supplies, are still vulnerable to attack, and yet only John Kerry and John Edwards are willing to make the investments we need to truly be safe. And we know that Iraq didn’t attack the United States on September 11th; Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda did.
And that is why John Kerry and John Edwards will not only win the peace in Iraq, but will fight the war on terror wherever it needs to be fought: the palaces of the Middle East, the banks of Europe, the ports in Florida, the firehouses of Boston. John Kerry recognizes that victory in the war on terror requires all of the resources of the United States—diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military.
Today, “recruiting billboards” for al Qaeda are being erected on the main streets of the Middle East. We need to work with our allies and like-minded people of the Islamic world to tear down those billboards and drain the swamp of terror. Providing for the common defense is not a piece of rhetoric from a founding document – it is the most solemn responsibility we entrust to our leaders. This is a war that demands new resources and new ideas. But most of all, it is a war that demands new leadership.
And when Americans ask, “Who will provide that leadership?” I can tell you, John Kerry and John Edwards will. For our children and grandchildren, for our security, for our country, we must elect John Kerry the next president of the United States.



BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- Barack Obama, who is running for the U.S. Senate from Illinois, gave the keynote speech Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention. This is a transcript of his remarks.
On behalf of the great state of Illinois, crossroads of a nation, land of Lincoln, let me express my deepest gratitude for the privilege of addressing this convention. Tonight is a particular honor for me because, let's face it, my presence on this stage is pretty unlikely.
My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya. He grew up herding goats, went to school in a tin-roof shack. His father, my grandfather, was a cook, a domestic servant to the British.
But my grandfather had larger dreams for his son. Through hard work and perseverance my father got a scholarship to study in a magical place, America, that stood as a beacon of freedom and opportunity to so many who had come before.
While studying here, my father met my mother. She was born in a town on the other side of the world, in Kansas.
Her father worked on oil rigs and farms through most of the Depression. The day after Pearl Harbor my grandfather signed up for duty, joined Patton's army and marched across Europe. Back home, my grandmother raised their baby and went to work on a bomber assembly line. After the war, they studied on the GI Bill, bought a house through FHA, and moved west, all the way to Hawaii, in search of opportunity.
And they, too, had big dreams for their daughter, a common dream, born of two continents.
My parents shared not only an improbable love; they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation. They would give me an African name, Barack, or "blessed," believing that in a tolerant America your name is no barrier to success.
They imagined me going to the best schools in the land, even though they weren't rich, because in a generous America you don't have to be rich to achieve your potential.
They're both passed away now. And yet, I know that, on this night, they look down on me with pride.
And I stand here today, grateful for the diversity of my heritage, aware that my parents' dreams live on in my two precious daughters.
I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that, in no other country on Earth, is my story even possible.
Tonight, we gather to affirm the greatness of our nation, not because of the height of our skyscrapers, or the power of our military, or the size of our economy. Our pride is based on a very simple premise, summed up in a declaration made over two hundred years ago, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
That is the true genius of America, a faith in the simple dreams, an insistence on small miracles. That we can tuck in our children at night and know they are fed and clothed and safe from harm. That we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door. That we can have an idea and start our own business without paying a bribe. That we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution, and that our votes will be counted -- or at least, most of the time.
This year, in this election, we are called to reaffirm our values and commitments, to hold them against a hard reality and see how we are measuring up, to the legacy of our forbearers and the promise of future generations.
And fellow Americans -- Democrats, Republicans, Independents -- I say to you tonight: we have more work to do. More work to do for the workers I met in Galesburg, Illinois, who are losing their union jobs at the Maytag plant that's moving to Mexico, and now are having to compete with their own children for jobs that pay seven bucks an hour. More to do for the father I met who was losing his job and choking back tears, wondering how he would pay $4,500 a month for the drugs his son needs without the health benefits that he counted on. More to do for the young woman in East St. Louis, and thousands more like her, who has the grades, has the drive, has the will, but doesn't have the money to go to college.
Now don't get me wrong. The people I meet in small towns and big cities, in diners and office parks, they don't expect government to solve all their problems. They know they have to work hard to get ahead and they want to.
Go into the collar counties around Chicago, and people will tell you they don't want their tax money wasted by a welfare agency or the Pentagon.
Go into any inner city neighborhood, and folks will tell you that government alone can't teach our kids to learn. They know that parents have to parent, that children can't achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white. They know those things.
People don't expect government to solve all their problems. But they sense, deep in their bones, that with just a change in priorities, we can make sure that every child in America has a decent shot at life, and that the doors of opportunity remain open to all. They know we can do better. And they want that choice.
In this election, we offer that choice. Our party has chosen a man to lead us who embodies the best this country has to offer. And that man is John Kerry.
John Kerry understands the ideals of community, faith, and service, because they've defined his life. From his heroic service in Vietnam to his years as prosecutor and lieutenant governor, through two decades in the United States Senate, he has devoted himself to this country. Again and again, we've seen him make tough choices when easier ones were available. His values and his record affirm what is best in us.
John Kerry believes in an America where hard work is rewarded. So instead of offering tax breaks to companies shipping jobs overseas, he'll offer them to companies creating jobs here at home.
John Kerry believes in an America where all Americans can afford the same health coverage our politicians in Washington have for themselves.
John Kerry believes in energy independence, so we aren't held hostage to the profits of oil companies or the sabotage of foreign oil fields.
John Kerry believes in the constitutional freedoms that have made our country the envy of the world, and he will never sacrifice our basic liberties nor use faith as a wedge to divide us.
And John Kerry believes that in a dangerous world, war must be an option sometimes, but it should never be the first option.
You know, a while back, I met a young man named Shamus at the VFW Hall in East Moline, Illinois. He was a good-looking kid, 6-2 or 6-3, clear eyed, with an easy smile. He told me he'd joined the Marines and was heading to Iraq the following week.
And as I listened to him explain why he'd enlisted, his absolute faith in our country and its leaders, his devotion to duty and service, I thought this young man was all that any of us might hope for in a child. But then I asked myself: Are we serving Shamus as well as he was serving us?
I thought of the 900 men and women, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and neighbors, who will not be returning to their hometowns. I thought of families I had met who were struggling to get by without a loved one's full income, or whose loved ones had returned with a limb missing or nerves shattered, but who still lacked long-term health benefits because they were reservists.
When we send our young men and women into harm's way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they're going, to care for their families while they're gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return, and to never ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace, and earn the respect of the world.
Now let me be clear. Let me be clear. We have real enemies in the world. These enemies must be found. They must be pursued and they must be defeated.
John Kerry knows this. And just as Lieutenant Kerry did not hesitate to risk his life to protect the men who served with him in Vietnam, President Kerry will not hesitate one moment to use our military might to keep America safe and secure.
John Kerry believes in America. And he knows that it's not enough for just some of us to prosper. For alongside our famous individualism, there's another ingredient in the American saga. A belief that we are all connected as one people.
If there's a child on the South Side of Chicago who can't read, that matters to me, even if it's not my child.
If there's a senior citizen somewhere who can't pay for their prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it's not my grandparent.
If there's an Arab-American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties.
It is that fundamental belief -- it is that fundamental belief -- I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper -- that makes this country work.
It's what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. "E pluribus unum." Out of many, one.
Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes.
Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America -- there is the United States of America.
There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America -- there is the United States of America.
The pundits, the pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states; red states for Republicans, blue states for Democrats. But I've got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states.
We coach Little League in the blue states and have gay friends in the red states.
There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it.
We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.
In the end, that's what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or do we participate in a politics of hope?
John Kerry calls on us to hope. John Edwards calls on us to hope. I'm not talking about blind optimism here-the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don't talk about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it.
That's not what I'm talking [about]. I'm talking about something more substantial. It's the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a mill worker's son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too.
Hope in the face of difficulty, hope in the face of uncertainty, the audacity of hope.
In the end, that is God's greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation; a belief in things not seen; a belief that there are better days ahead.
I believe we can give our middle class relief and provide working families with a road to opportunity.
I believe we can provide jobs to the jobless, homes to the homeless, and reclaim young people in cities across America from violence and despair.
I believe that we have a righteous wind at our backs, and that as we stand on the crossroads of history, we can make the right choices and meet the challenges that face us.
America, tonight, if you feel the same energy that I do, if you feel the same urgency that I do, if you feel the same passion that I do, if you feel the same hopefulness that I do, if we do what we must do, then I have no doubt that all across the country, from Florida to Oregon, from Washington to Maine, the people will rise up in November, and John Kerry will be sworn in as president. And John Edwards will be sworn in as vice president. And this country will reclaim its promise. And out of this long political darkness a brighter day will come.
Thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. Thank you.

(AP) We are here tonight because we love our country.

We are proud of what America is and what it can become.

My fellow Americans: we are here tonight united in one simple purpose: to make America stronger at home and respected in the world.

A great American novelist wrote that you can't go home again. He could not have imagined this evening. Tonight, I am home. Home where my public life began and those who made it possible live. Home where our nation's history was written in blood, idealism, and hope. Home where my parents showed me the values of family, faith, and country.

Thank you, all of you, for a welcome home I will never forget.

I wish my parents could share this moment. They went to their rest in the last few years, but their example, their inspiration, their gift of open eyes, open mind, and endless world are bigger and more lasting than any words.

I was born in Colorado, in Fitzsimmons Army Hospital, when my dad was a pilot in World War II. Now, I'm not one to read into things, but guess which wing of the hospital the maternity ward was in? I'm not making this up. I was born in the West Wing!

My mother was the rock of our family as so many mothers are. She stayed up late to help me do my homework. She sat by my bed when I was sick, and she answered the questions of a child who, like all children, found the world full of wonders and mysteries.

She was my den mother when I was a Cub Scout and she was so proud of her fifty year pin as a Girl Scout leader. She gave me her passion for the environment. She taught me to see trees as the cathedrals of nature. And by the power of her example, she showed me that we can and must finish the march toward full equality for all women in our country.

My dad did the things that a boy remembers. He gave me my first model airplane, my first baseball mitt and my first bicycle. He also taught me that we are here for something bigger than ourselves; he lived out the responsibilities and sacrifices of the greatest generation to whom we owe so much.

When I was a young man, he was in the State Department, stationed in Berlin when it and the world were divided between democracy and communism. I have unforgettable memories of being a kid mesmerized by the British, French, and American troops, each of them guarding their own part of the city, and Russians standing guard on the stark line separating East from West. On one occasion, I rode my bike into Soviet East Berlin. And when I proudly told my dad, he promptly grounded me.

But what I learned has stayed with me for a lifetime. I saw how different life was on different sides of the same city. I saw the fear in the eyes of people who were not free. I saw the gratitude of people toward the United States for all that we had done. I felt goose bumps as I got off a military train and heard the Army band strike up "Stars and Stripes Forever." I learned what it meant to be America at our best. I learned the pride of our freedom. And I am determined now to restore that pride to all who look to America.

Mine were greatest generation parents. And as I thank them, we all join together to thank that whole generation for making America strong, for winning World War II, winning the Cold War, and for the great gift of service which brought America fifty years of peace and prosperity.

My parents inspired me to serve, and when I was a junior in high school, John Kennedy called my generation to service. It was the beginning of a great journey - a time to march for civil rights, for voting rights, for the environment, for women, and for peace. We believed we could change the world. And you know what? We did.

But we're not finished. The journey isn't complete. The march isn't over. The promise isn't perfected. Tonight, we're setting out again. And together, we're going to write the next great chapter of America's story.

We have it in our power to change the world again. But only if we're true to our ideals - and that starts by telling the truth to the American people. That is my first pledge to you tonight. As President, I will restore trust and credibility to the White House.

I ask you to judge me by my record: As a young prosecutor, I fought for victim's rights and made prosecuting violence against women a priority. When I came to the Senate, I broke with many in my own party to vote for a balanced budget, because I thought it was the right thing to do. I fought to put a 100,000 cops on the street.

And then I reached across the aisle to work with John McCain, to find the truth about our POW's and missing in action, and to finally make peace with Vietnam.

I will be a commander in chief who will never mislead us into war. I will have a Vice President who will not conduct secret meetings with polluters to rewrite our environmental laws. I will have a Secretary of Defense who will listen to the best advice of our military leaders. And I will appoint an Attorney General who actually upholds the Constitution of the United States.

My fellow Americans, this is the most important election of our lifetime. The stakes are high. We are a nation at war - a global war on terror against an enemy unlike any we have ever known before. And here at home, wages are falling, health care costs are rising, and our great middle class is shrinking. People are working weekends; they're working two jobs, three jobs, and they're still not getting ahead.

We're told that outsourcing jobs is good for America. We're told that new jobs that pay $9,000 less than the jobs that have been lost is the best we can do. They say this is the best economy we've ever had. And they say that anyone who thinks otherwise is a pessimist. Well, here is our answer: There is nothing more pessimistic than saying America can't do better.

We can do better and we will. We're the optimists. For us, this is a country of the future. We're the can do people. And let's not forget what we did in the 1990s. We balanced the budget. We paid down the debt. We created 23 million new jobs. We lifted millions out of poverty and we lifted the standard of living for the middle class. We just need to believe in ourselves - and we can do it again.

So tonight, in the city where America's freedom began, only a few blocks from where the sons and daughters of liberty gave birth to our nation - here tonight, on behalf of a new birth of freedom - on behalf of the middle class who deserve a champion, and those struggling to join it who deserve a fair shot - for the brave men and women in uniform who risk their lives every day and the families who pray for their return - for all those who believe our best days are ahead of us - for all of you - with great faith in the American people, I accept your nomination for President of the United States.

I am proud that at my side will be a running mate whose life is the story of the American dream and who's worked every day to make that dream real for all Americans - Senator John Edwards of North Carolina. And his wonderful wife Elizabeth and their family. This son of a mill worker is ready to lead - and next January, Americans will be proud to have a fighter for the middle class to succeed Dick Cheney as Vice President of the United States.

And what can I say about Teresa? She has the strongest moral compass of anyone I know. She's down to earth, nurturing, courageous, wise and smart. She speaks her mind and she speaks the truth, and I love her for that, too. And that's why America will embrace her as the next First Lady of the United States.

For Teresa and me, no matter what the future holds or the past has given us, nothing will ever mean as much as our children. We love them not just for who they are and what they've become, but for being themselves, making us laugh, holding our feet to the fire, and never letting me get away with anything. Thank you, Andre, Alex, Chris, Vanessa, and John.

And in this journey, I am accompanied by an extraordinary band of brothers led by that American hero, a patriot named Max Cleland. Our band of brothers doesn't march together because of who we are as veterans, but because of what we learned as soldiers. We fought for this nation because we loved it and we came back with the deep belief that every day is extra. We may be a little older now, we may be a little grayer, but we still know how to fight for our country.

And standing with us in that fight are those who shared with me the long season of the primary campaign: Carol Moseley Braun, General Wesley Clark, Howard Dean, Dick Gephardt, Bob Graham, Dennis Kucinich, Joe Lieberman and Al Sharpton.

To all of you, I say thank you for teaching me and testing me - but mostly, we say thank you for standing up for our country and giving us the unity to move America forward.

My fellow Americans, the world tonight is very different from the world of four years ago. But I believe the American people are more than equal to the challenge.

Remember the hours after September 11th, when we came together as one to answer the attack against our homeland. We drew strength when our firefighters ran up the stairs and risked their lives, so that others might live. When rescuers rushed into smoke and fire at the Pentagon. When the men and women of Flight 93 sacrificed themselves to save our nation's Capitol. When flags were hanging from front porches all across America, and strangers became friends. It was the worst day we have ever seen, but it brought out the best in all of us.

I am proud that after September 11th all our people rallied to President Bush's call for unity to meet the danger. There were no Democrats. There were no Republicans. There were only Americans. How we wish it had stayed that way.

Now I know there are those who criticize me for seeing complexities - and I do - because some issues just aren't all that simple. Saying there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq doesn't make it so. Saying we can fight a war on the cheap doesn't make it so. And proclaiming mission accomplished certainly doesn't make it so.

As President, I will ask hard questions and demand hard evidence. I will immediately reform the intelligence system - so policy is guided by facts, and facts are never distorted by politics. And as President, I will bring back this nation's time-honored tradition: the United States of America never goes to war because we want to, we only go to war because we have to.

I know what kids go through when they are carrying an M-16 in a dangerous place and they can't tell friend from foe. I know what they go through when they're out on patrol at night and they don't know what's coming around the next bend. I know what it's like to write letters home telling your family that everything's all right when you're not sure that's true.

As President, I will wage this war with the lessons I learned in war. Before you go to battle, you have to be able to look a parent in the eye and truthfully say: "I tried everything possible to avoid sending your son or daughter into harm's way. But we had no choice. We had to protect the American people, fundamental American values from a threat that was real and imminent." So lesson one, this is the only justification for going to war.

And on my first day in office, I will send a message to every man and woman in our armed forces: You will never be asked to fight a war without a plan to win the peace.

I know what we have to do in Iraq. We need a President who has the credibility to bring our allies to our side and share the burden, reduce the cost to American taxpayers, and reduce the risk to American soldiers. That's the right way to get the job done and bring our troops home.

Here is the reality: that won't happen until we have a president who restores America's respect and leadership -- so we don't have to go it alone in the world.

And we need to rebuild our alliances, so we can get the terrorists before they get us.

I defended this country as a young man and I will defend it as President. Let there be no mistake: I will never hesitate to use force when it is required. Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response. I will never give any nation or international institution a veto over our national security. And I will build a stronger American military.

We will add 40,000 active duty troops - not in Iraq, but to strengthen American forces that are now overstretched, overextended, and under pressure. We will double our special forces to conduct anti-terrorist operations. We will provide our troops with the newest weapons and technology to save their lives - and win the battle. And we will end the backdoor draft of National Guard and reservists.

To all who serve in our armed forces today, I say, help is on the way.

As President, I will fight a smarter, more effective war on terror. We will deploy every tool in our arsenal: our economic as well as our military might; our principles as well as our firepower.

In these dangerous days there is a right way and a wrong way to be strong. Strength is more than tough words. After decades of experience in national security, I know the reach of our power and I know the power of our ideals.

We need to make America once again a beacon in the world. We need to be looked up to and not just feared.

We need to lead a global effort against nuclear proliferation - to keep the most dangerous weapons in the world out of the most dangerous hands in the world.

We need a strong military and we need to lead strong alliances. And then, with confidence and determination, we will be able to tell the terrorists: You will lose and we will win. The future doesn't belong to fear; it belongs to freedom.

And the front lines of this battle are not just far away - they're right here on our shores, at our airports, and potentially in any town or city. Today, our national security begins with homeland security. The 9-11 Commission has given us a path to follow, endorsed by Democrats, Republicans, and the 9-11 families. As President, I will not evade or equivocate; I will immediately implement the recommendations of that commission. We shouldn't be letting ninety-five percent of container ships come into our ports without ever being physically inspected. We shouldn't be leaving our nuclear and chemical plants without enough protection. And we shouldn't be opening firehouses in Baghdad and closing them down in the United States of America.

And tonight, we have an important message for those who question the patriotism of Americans who offer a better direction for our country. Before wrapping themselves in the flag and shutting their eyes and ears to the truth, they should remember what America is really all about. They should remember the great idea of freedom for which so many have given their lives. Our purpose now is to reclaim democracy itself. We are here to affirm that when Americans stand up and speak their minds and say America can do better, that is not a challenge to patriotism; it is the heart and soul of patriotism.

You see that flag up there. We call her Old Glory. The stars and stripes forever. I fought under that flag, as did so many of you here and all across our country. That flag flew from the gun turret right behind my head. It was shot through and through and tattered, but it never ceased to wave in the wind. It draped the caskets of men I served with and friends I grew up with. For us, that flag is the most powerful symbol of who we are and what we believe in. Our strength. Our diversity. Our love of country. All that makes America both great and good.

That flag doesn't belong to any president. It doesn't belong to any ideology and it doesn't belong to any political party. It belongs to all the American people.

My fellow citizens, elections are about choices. And choices are about values. In the end, it's not just policies and programs that matter; the president who sits at that desk must be guided by principle.

For four years, we've heard a lot of talk about values. But values spoken without actions taken are just slogans. Values are not just words. They're what we live by. They're about the causes we champion and the people we fight for. And it is time for those who talk about family values to start valuing families.

You don't value families by kicking kids out of after school programs and taking cops off our streets, so that Enron can get another tax break.

We believe in the family value of caring for our children and protecting the neighborhoods where they walk and play.

And that is the choice in this election.

You don't value families by denying real prescription drug coverage to seniors, so big drug companies can get another windfall.

We believe in the family value expressed in one of the oldest Commandments: "Honor thy father and thy mother." As President, I will not privatize Social Security. I will not cut benefits. And together, we will make sure that senior citizens never have to cut their pills in half because they can't afford life-saving medicine.

And that is the choice in this election.

You don't value families if you force them to take up a collection to buy body armor for a son or daughter in the service, if you deny veterans health care, or if you tell middle class families to wait for a tax cut, so that the wealthiest among us can get even more.

We believe in the value of doing what's right for everyone in the American family.

And that is the choice in this election.

We believe that what matters most is not narrow appeals masquerading as values, but the shared values that show the true face of America. Not narrow appeals that divide us, but shared values that unite us. Family and faith. Hard work and responsibility. Opportunity for all - so that every child, every parent, every worker has an equal shot at living up to their God-given potential.

What does it mean in America today when Dave McCune, a steel worker I met in Canton, Ohio, saw his job sent overseas and the equipment in his factory literally unbolted, crated up, and shipped thousands of miles away along with that job? What does it mean when workers I've met had to train their foreign replacements?

America can do better. So tonight we say: help is on the way.

What does it mean when Mary Ann Knowles, a woman with breast cancer I met in New Hampshire, had to keep working day after day right through her chemotherapy, no matter how sick she felt, because she was terrified of losing her family's health insurance.

America can do better. And help is on the way.

What does it mean when Deborah Kromins from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania works and saves all her life only to find out that her pension has disappeared into thin air - and the executive who looted it has bailed out on a golden parachute?

America can do better. And help is on the way.

What does it mean when twenty five percent of the children in Harlem have asthma because of air pollution?

America can do better. And help is on the way.

What does it mean when people are huddled in blankets in the cold, sleeping in Lafayette Park on the doorstep of the White House itself - and the number of families living in poverty has risen by three million in the last four years?

America can do better. And help is on the way.

And so we come here tonight to ask: Where is the conscience of our country?

I'll tell you where it is: it's in rural and small town America; it's in urban neighborhoods and suburban main streets; it's alive in the people I've met in every part of this land. It's bursting in the hearts of Americans who are determined to give our country back its values and its truth.

We value jobs that pay you more not less than you earned before. We value jobs where, when you put in a week's work, you can actually pay your bills, provide for your children, and lift up the quality of your life. We value an America where the middle class is not being squeezed, but doing better.

So here is our economic plan to build a stronger America:

First, new incentives to revitalize manufacturing.

Second, investment in technology and innovation that will create the good-paying jobs of the future.

Third, close the tax loopholes that reward companies for shipping our jobs overseas. Instead, we will reward companies that create and keep good paying jobs where they belong - in the good old U.S.A.

We value an America that exports products, not jobs - and we believe American workers should never have to subsidize the loss of their own job.

Next, we will trade and compete in the world. But our plan calls for a fair playing field - because if you give the American worker a fair playing field, there's nobody in the world the American worker can't compete against.

And we're going to return to fiscal responsibility because it is the foundation of our economic strength. Our plan will cut the deficit in half in four years by ending tax giveaways that are nothing more than corporate welfare - and will make government live by the rule that every family has to follow: pay as you go.

And let me tell you what we won't do: we won't raise taxes on the middle class. You've heard a lot of false charges about this in recent months. So let me say straight out what I will do as President: I will cut middle class taxes. I will reduce the tax burden on small business. And I will roll back the tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals who make over $200,000 a year, so we can invest in job creation, health care and education.

Our education plan for a stronger America sets high standards and demands accountability from parents, teachers, and schools. It provides for smaller class sizes and treats teachers like the professionals they are. And it gives a tax credit to families for each and every year of college.

When I was a prosecutor, I met young kids who were in trouble, abandoned by adults. And as President, I am determined that we stop being a nation content to spend $50,000 a year to keep a young person in prison for the rest of their life - when we could invest $10,000 to give them Head Start, Early Start, Smart Start, the best possible start in life.

And we value health care that's affordable and accessible for all Americans.

Since 2000, four million people have lost their health insurance. Millions more are struggling to afford it.

You know what's happening. Your premiums, your co-payments, your deductibles have all gone through the roof.

Our health care plan for a stronger America cracks down on the waste, greed, and abuse in our health care system and will save families up to $1,000 a year on their premiums. You'll get to pick your own doctor - and patients and doctors, not insurance company bureaucrats, will make medical decisions. Under our plan, Medicare will negotiate lower drug prices for seniors. And all Americans will be able to buy less expensive prescription drugs from countries like Canada.

The story of people struggling for health care is the story of so many Americans. But you know what, it's not the story of senators and members of Congress. Because we give ourselves great health care and you get the bill. Well, I'm here to say, your family's health care is just as important as any politician's in Washington, D.C.

And when I'm President, America will stop being the only advanced nation in the world which fails to understand that health care is not a privilege for the wealthy, the connected, and the elected - it is a right for all Americans.

We value an America that controls its own destiny because it's finally and forever independent of Mideast oil. What does it mean for our economy and our national security when we only have three percent of the world's oil reserves, yet we rely on foreign countries for fifty-three percent of what we consume?

I want an America that relies on its own ingenuity and innovation - not the Saudi royal family.

And our energy plan for a stronger America will invest in new technologies and alternative fuels and the cars of the future -- so that no young American in uniform will ever be held hostage to our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

I've told you about our plans for the economy, for education, for health care, for energy independence. I want you to know more about them. So now I'm going to say something that Franklin Roosevelt could never have said in his acceptance speech: go to johnkerry.com.

I want to address these next words directly to President George W. Bush: In the weeks ahead, let's be optimists, not just opponents. Let's build unity in the American family, not angry division. Let's honor this nation's diversity; let's respect one another; and let's never misuse for political purposes the most precious document in American history, the Constitution of the United States.

My friends, the high road may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And that's why Republicans and Democrats must make this election a contest of big ideas, not small-minded attacks. This is our time to reject the kind of politics calculated to divide race from race, group from group, region from region. Maybe some just see us divided into red states and blue states, but I see us as one America - red, white, and blue. And when I am President, the government I lead will enlist people of talent, Republicans as well as Democrats, to find the common ground - so that no one who has something to contribute will be left on the sidelines.

And let me say it plainly: in that cause, and in this campaign, we welcome people of faith. America is not us and them. I think of what Ron Reagan said of his father a few weeks ago, and I want to say this to you tonight: I don't wear my own faith on my sleeve. But faith has given me values and hope to live by, from Vietnam to this day, from Sunday to Sunday. I don't want to claim that God is on our side. As Abraham Lincoln told us, I want to pray humbly that we are on God's side. And whatever our faith, one belief should bind us all: The measure of our character is our willingness to give of ourselves for others and for our country.

These aren't Democratic values. These aren't Republican values. They're American values. We believe in them. They're who we are. And if we honor them, if we believe in ourselves, we can build an America that's stronger at home and respected in the world.

So much promise stretches before us. Americans have always reached for the impossible, looked to the next horizon, and asked: What if?

Two young bicycle mechanics from Dayton asked what if this airplane could take off at Kitty Hawk? It did that and changed the world forever. A young president asked what if we could go to the moon in ten years? And now we're exploring the solar system and the stars themselves. A young generation of entrepreneurs asked, what if we could take all the information in a library and put it on a little chip the size of a fingernail? We did and that too changed the world forever.

And now it's our time to ask: What if?

What if we find a breakthrough to cure Parkinson's, diabetes, Alzheimer's and AIDs? What if we have a president who believes in science, so we can unleash the wonders of discovery like stem cell research to treat illness and save millions of lives?

What if we do what adults should do - and make sure all our children are safe in the afternoons after school? And what if we have a leadership that's as good as the American dream - so that bigotry and hatred never again steal the hope and future of any American?

I learned a lot about these values on that gunboat patrolling the Mekong Delta with young Americans who came from places as different as Iowa and Oregon, Arkansas, Florida and California. No one cared where we went to school. No one cared about our race or our backgrounds. We were literally all in the same boat. We looked out, one for the other - and we still do.

That is the kind of America I will lead as President - an America where we are all in the same boat.

Never has there been a more urgent moment for Americans to step up and define ourselves. I will work my heart out. But, my fellow citizens, the outcome is in your hands more than mine.

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.

Goodnight, God bless you, and God bless America.

©MMIV, The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina addressed the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night. Here is a transcript of his speech.
Thank you. Now you know why Elizabeth is so amazing, right?
I am a lucky man: to have the love of my life at my side. Both of us have been blessed with four extraordinary children: Wade, Cate, who you heard from, Emma Claire, and Jack.
We are having such an extraordinary time, myself and my entire family, at this convention.
And by the way, how great was Teresa Heinz Kerry last night?
My father and mother, Wallace and Bobbie Edwards, are here tonight.
You taught me the values that I carry in my heart: faith, family, responsibility, opportunity for everyone. You taught me that there's dignity and honor in a hard day's work. You taught me to always look out for our neighbors, to never look down on anybody, and treat everybody with respect.
Those are the values that John Kerry and I believe in. And nothing makes me prouder than standing with him in this campaign. I am so humbled to be your candidate for vice president of the United States.
I want to talk about our next president. For those who want to know what kind of leader he'll be, I want to take you back about 30 years. When John Kerry graduated college, he volunteered for military service, volunteered to go to Vietnam, volunteered to captain a swift boat, one of the most dangerous duties in Vietnam that you could have. As a result, he was wounded, honored for his valor.
If you have any question about what he's made of, just spend three minutes with the men who served with him then and who stand with him now. They saw up close what he's made of.
They saw him reach into the river and pull one of his men to safety and save his life. They saw him in the heat of battle make a decision in a split second to turn his boat around, drive it through an enemy position, and chase down the enemy to save his crew. Decisive, strong: Is this not what we need in a commander in chief?
You know, we hear a lot of talk about values. Where I come from, you don't judge somebody's values based upon how they use that word in a political ad. You judge their values based upon what they've spent their life doing.
So when a man volunteers to serve his country, the man volunteers and puts his life on the line for others, that's a man who represents real American values.
This is a man who is prepared to keep the American people safe, to make America stronger at home and more respected in the world.
John is a man who knows the difference between right and wrong. He wants to serve you. Your cause is his cause. And that is why we must and we will elect him the next president of the United States.
You know, for the last few months, John's been traveling around the country talking about his positive, optimistic vision for America, talking about his plan to move this country in the right direction.
But what have we seen? Relentless negative attacks against John. So in the weeks ahead, we know what's coming, don't we? More negative attacks -- aren't you sick of it?
They are doing all they can to take the campaign for the highest office in the land down the lowest possible road.
But this is where you come in: Between now and November, you, the American people, you can reject the tired, old, hateful, negative politics of the past. And instead you can embrace the politics of hope, the politics of what's possible because this is America, where everything is possible.
I am here tonight for a very simple reason: because I love my country. And I have every reason to love my country. I have grown up in the bright light of America.
I grew up in a small town in rural North Carolina, a place called Robbins.
My father, he worked in a mill all his life, and I still remember vividly the men and women who worked in that mill with him. I can see them. Some of them had lint in their hair; some of them had grease on their faces. They worked hard, and they tried to put a little money away so that their kids and their grand-kids could have a better life.
The truth is, they're just like the auto workers, the office workers, the teachers and shop keepers on main streets all across this country.
My mother had a number of jobs. She worked at the post office so she and my father could have health care. She owned her own small business. She refinished furniture to help pay for my education.
I have had such incredible opportunities in my life. I was blessed to be the first person in my family to go to college. I worked my way through, and I had opportunities beyond my wildest dreams.
And the heart of this campaign -- your campaign, our campaign -- is to make sure all Americans have exactly the same kind opportunities that I had no matter where you live, no matter who your family is, no matter what the color of your skin is.
This is the America we believe in.
I have spent my life fighting for the kind of people I grew up with.
For two decades, I stood with kids and families against big HMOs and big insurance companies.
When I got to the Senate, I fought those same fights against the Washington lobbyists and for causes like the patients' bill of rights.
I stand here tonight ready to work with you and John to make America stronger. And we have much work t

Posted by richard at July 30, 2004 01:14 PM