TRANSCRIPT -- TRANSCRIPT -- TRANSCRIPT
Thank you! You are unbelievable. Thank you. Thank you. You are unbelievable. Five thousand people here and they had to shut--the fire marshall shut the place down; there's people behind us. I appreciate your sticking with us; I know the sound system doesn't go that far back. Thank you so very, very much. I really appreciate it.
Let me thank Peter Clavell, who's been a great friend, a parent and a great mayor for many, many years. I think it's 14. Let me thank Jim Jeffords. I am so proud of Jim Jeffords' courage. The courage to stand up for what's right in America and put his principles before party.
And let me thank the senior Senator from this incredible state, Patrick J. Leahy, who has stood up, who has stood up for civil rights before it was fashionable and stopped right wing judges from being appointed to the Supreme Court. Patrick Leahy, thank you so very, very much.
And I want to thank Gray. Isn't he unbelievable? Gray, your generation is fueling this campaign to take back this country so that your generation will inherit an America that we were taught to believe in.
It is great to be home. It's where Judy and I got our start as parents and doctors. It's here in Burlington that our children Anne [phon.] and Paul were born. Just up the street is where I first met Esther Sorrell, my mentor, who gave me so much guidance and without whom I would not be standing here today. And I wonder, somewhere in this audience, is her granddaughter McKenzie [phon.] Sorrell and her daughter McKaila [phon.] Sorrell Wallace. Are they here anyplace? Alright. Thank you so very, very much.
And it's from here that I drove to Montepelier in August of 1991 to become the governor of this proud and remarkable state.
I thank Judy, my children, my family for their unconditional love and support: my father and my brother Charlie for their inspiration and eternal presence in my life, my mother and brothers Jim and Bill, who sustain me to this day.
While the mistakes I make during this campaign will be my own, if people see good in me, if people see principles, if people see the values of family and community, it's because of you, the community of Vermont that stands with me today. [big "Nader 7% in Vermont" sign makes its appearance in background]
Today I announce that I am running for the Presidency of the United States of America. I speak not only for my candidacy. I speak for a new American century and a new generation of Americans -- both young people and young at heart. We seek the great restoration of American values and the restoration of our nation's traditional purpose in this world.
This is a campaign to unite and empower people.
It is a call to every American, regardless of party, to join together in common purpose, for the common good, and for the common good to save and restore all that it means to be an American.
Over a year ago I began to travel the country in the way one does when seeking the Presidency.
I believed that by running for President, that I could raise the issues of health care for every American, the need to focus on early childhood development, and I wanted to bring those issues to the forefront of the national debate. And I wanted to balance the budget to bring fiscal stability and jobs back to United States of America.
But most importantly, I have wanted my party to stand up for what we believe again.
Something changed along the way as I listened to Americans around this country. On my first trip to Iowa I heard people speak of a profound fear and the distrust of multi-national corporations. From New Hampshire to Texas I met Americans doubting the words of our leaders and our government in Washington. And everywhere I go people are asking fundamental questions: Who can we trust? Is the media reporting the truth? What is happening to our country?
The Americans I've met love their country. They believe deeply in its promise and our values and our principles. But they know something is wrong and they want to take action. They want to do something to right our path. But they feel Washington's not listening. As individuals, they lack the power to change the course that Washington's put us on.
What they know is that somehow 7 trillion dollars of our country's wealth disappeared. Nearly 1 in 10 retired people have had to return to the workforce because they have lost their pensions. Young people returning home to live with their parents after graduation because they can't find a job.
Companies leaving the country to avoid paying taxes, or avoid paying people a livable wage. And corporations doing this with the support of our own government and a political process in Washington that they rent -- if not own.
This, this is the fear of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson -- the fear that economic power would one day try to seize political power.
And Theodore Roosevelt said it best, "Every special interest is entitled to justice full, fair and complete....but not one is entitled to a vote in Congress, not one entitled to a voice on the bench, and not one to any representation in any public office."
Today, our nation is in crisis. At home, the crisis manifests itself in the President's destruction of the idea of community. The President pushes forward an agenda and policies which divide us. He advocates economic polices which beggar the middle class and raise property taxes so that income taxes may be cut for those who ran Enron.
He divides us, he divides us by race by using the word quota, which appeals to the worst in us by instilling the fear that people of color might take our jobs or places in the universities' best--in the nation's best universities. Even the most conservative Supreme Court since the Dred Scott decision did not completely agree with this President's attack on diversity and the community values that we hold so dear that include every single American.
He divides us by gender by attacking a woman's right to make her own health care decisions. He even divides us by attacking Title IX, which allows a young women to have the same athletic opportunities that young men do. We can do better than that. He divides us by sexual orientation by supporting senators who have slandered gay Americans, and appeals once again to the worst instincts in us, instead of all of that which is good in America.
The tax cuts that are the radicals' weapons are not about tax cuts for working people. and they're not even about tax cuts for millionaires. Instead, these tax cuts are designed to destroy Social Security, Medicare, our public schools and public services through starvation and privatization.
Our President and too many in Washington are giving away our future so that we pass to our children not the flickering flame of freedom but a trail of insurmountable debt. We can do better than this.
No, no parent would do this and America must not do this either.
And so for me the long journey of a Presidential campaign has begun with the people that I have met affecting me far more than any effect that I may have had on them. And because of that, the reasons why I seek the Presidency have changed.
This campaign is about more than issue differences on health care or tax policy, national security, jobs, the environment and our economy. It's about something that's as important as our children. It's about who we are as Americans.
Here are the words of John Winthrop: "We shall be as one. We shall delight in each other, make other's conditions our own; rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always living before our eyes our Commission and Community in our work." That is the ideal, the ideal of American community, which we seek to restore.
An America where it is not enough for me to want health care for my family, the obligation and responsibility of every one of us as American citizens to is insure that health care is for all of our families.
An America, an America, it's not enough for me to want good public schools in my community, that it's important for every one of you to understand that you have an obligation as I do as American citizens, to make sure that every child can go to public schools in their community and have equal opportunity under the law.
An America where it is not enough to protect my rights under the law but where it's a duty, an obligation for each of us as Americans to make sure every single American is equal under the law.
If September 11, 2001 taught America anything it's that we are stronger when we are beholden to each other as a national community, and weaker when we act only as individuals. That tragedy gave us an enormous opportunity to focus not only on our common peril, but also on our common dreams. The peril remains, but the dreams must be resurrected -- and they will be in a new American century.
President Kennedy challenged us to "pass the torch to a new generation of Americans." And so to, we must restore the deepest belief of our people that each generation has a responsibility to pass to our children a nation and a world that is better and stronger than the one that was passed to us.
As we experience the crisis of community at home, we are witnessing an effort to repudiate 225 years of American consensus on what our nation's place is in the world.
Since the time of Thomas Paine and John Adams, our founders have implored that we were not to be the new Rome. We are not to conquer and suppress other nations to submit to our will. We are to inspire them.
The idea of America using its power solely for its own ends is not consistent with the idealistic moral force that this world has known for over two centuries.
We must rejoin the world community. America is far stronger as the moral and military leader of the world than we will ever be relying solely on military power. We destroyed repressive communist regimes without firing a shot, not simply because we have a stronger military, but because we had a better ideal to show the world.
Every American President must and will take up arms in the defense of our nation. It is a solemn oath that cannot -- and that will not -- be compromised.
But there is a fundamental difference between the defense of our nation and the doctrine of preemptive war espoused by this administration. The President's group of narrow-minded ideological advisors are undermining our nation's greatness in the world. They have embraced a form of unilateralism that is even more dangerous than isolationism.
This administration has shown disdain for allies, treaties, and international organizations alike.
And in doing so they would throw aside our nation's role as the inspirational leader of the world, the beacon of hope and justice in the interests of humankind. They would present our face to the world as a dominant power prepared to push aside any nation with which we disagree.
Our foreign and military policies must be about America leading the world, not America against the world.
How did we come to this point?
How is it that our leaders have forgotten and abandoned our communities and repudiated our idealism and our principles?
When confronted with the President's ideologues, too many Americans have stopped participating, stopped voting, stopped believing that they can change America.
And we in politics have not given people a reason to vote or a reason to participate. We have slavishly spewed sound bites, copying each other while saying little. We raise millions of dollars and each year make lofty promises, while every year the struggle of ordinary Americans increases and fewer Americans vote. And our politicians, many of them good people, have been paralyzed by their fear of losing office. This leadership has developed a vocabulary which has become meaningless to the American people.
There is no greater example of this than a self-described conservative Republican president who creates the largest deficits in history of United States of America. Or a President who boasts of the Clear Skies Initiative which allows us to put much more pollution into the air. Or a President who co-opts from an advocacy organization the phrase "No Child Left Behind," while paying for irresponsible tax cuts by cutting small children off of health care.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said that, "Our lives begin to end on the day we become silent about the things that matter."
The history of our nation is clear: At every turn when there has been an imbalance of power, the truth questioned, or our beliefs and values distorted, the change required to restore our nationhood has always come from the bottom up, from our people.
And so, and so while the President raises $4 million more tonight to maintain his agenda, we will not be silent. [chants "Howard Dean"]
He calls his biggest fundraisers Rangers and Pioneers.
But today, we stand with more than 5,000 people in Burlington, Vermont and tens of thousands of people all across America, standing with us right now in every single state in the nation. And we call, we call ourselves, Americans.
And we stand today in common purpose to take our country back. [chants "We want Dean"]
I'm a doctor and I was proud to be Governor of Vermont:
And like MoveOn.org we seek to build a community of millions and strengthen the voice of our people.
And like the founders of the republic, we seek change. And I ask all Americans, regardless of party, to meet with me across this nation, to come together in common cause, to forge a new American century. Help us in the quest for return to greatness and return high moral purpose to the United States of America.
The biggest lie spoken by people on platforms like this is the cry that "if you elect me, I'll solve all your problems."
The truth is that the future of our nation rests in your hands, not in mine.
Abraham Lincoln said that government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from this earth.
You have the power to reclaim our nation's destiny.
You have the power to rid Washington of the politics of money.
You have the power to make right just as important as might.
You have the power to give America a reason to vote again.
You have the power to restore our nation to fiscal sanity and bring jobs back to our people.
You have the power to fulfill Harry Truman's pledge of health care for all Americans.
You have the power to give us foreign policy consistent with American values again.
You have the power to take back the Democratic Party.
You have the power to take our country back.
And you have the power to take the White House back in 2004, and that is exactly what we're going to be doing.
You have the power! You have the power! You have the power! You have the power to take this country back. You have the power. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. We're going to take our country back. Thank you very much. You have the power. Thank you very much.
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