That was a heck of a campaign in 2000, wasn’t it? And when it was all over, Al and I won, didn’t we? But campaigns are about the future – not the past. And I am proud to stand before you tonight and say that America’s future will be a lot brighter with John Kerry and John Edwards in the White House. They’re not only going to win the popular vote, as Al and I did -- they’re actually going to get to take office, and then they’re going to lead an America that is strong at home, strong abroad, and respected the world over.
America looks very different today than it did four years ago. People are worried about their jobs, their rising health care bills, their kids’ education, their retirement, and their environment. John Kerry and John Edwards have practical, sensible plans to relieve those worries. But all of these plans won’t mean much unless we can restore Americans’ sense of personal security; unless we can free the American people from the fear of terrorism. On September 11, 2001, we were brutally attacked by Islamist terrorists who hate us more than they love their own lives; fanatics who are as great a threat to our security and freedom as the Nazis and Communists we defeated in the last century. Make no mistake: this war, like those earlier conflicts, is a war of values.
Our enemies reject our founding faith that every child on earth is
endowed by our Creator with the right to life, liberty, and
opportunity. To make America safe again, we need strong leaders who
know when to use American power to destroy these Islamist terrorists.
But we also need wise leaders who also know when and how to build
bridges with Islamic people throughout the world; bridges that are
built on the faith we share in one God, and the dreams we share of a
better future for all of our children. In other words, we need the
strong and balanced leadership of John Kerry and John Edwards. To make
America safe again, we must keep our military strong. We must support
our brave and brilliant troops – the new greatest generation - who have
liberated Afghanistan and Iraq from murderous tyrannies, and who are
fighting tonight in both nations to defeat terrorists and allow free
and stable governments to grow there.
John Kerry and John Edwards are committed to finishing that work, to honoring the service of our soldiers, and to supporting them and their families when they come home. We owe them our support in this noble cause. To make America safe again, we must strengthen our defenses here at home. I am proud that we Democrats led the way in creating the Department of Homeland Security after September 11th, and I know that John Kerry and John Edwards will keep us united in the common defense of America’s homeland.
In this campaign, we will vigorously disagree with the other side. But we should not resort to personally demonizing them to win the election. Such tactics are wrong, regardless of who practices them, because they divide and diminish America at a time when we must stand united and strong. Instead, we will support John Kerry and John Edwards’ vision for a positive, hopeful future for the American people.
Look at this week’s convention: we have set the standard. And if we keep it up, we will win the voters whose support we need – Americans yearning to cast a vote, not of protest, but of promise. And when we do that, we will send John Kerry and John Edwards to the White House. These two leaders are guided by the values and commitments that Democratic presidents have put into action over the decades: Woodrow Wilson’s commitment to make the world safe for democracy; FDR’s commitment to end isolationism and defeat fascism; Harry Truman’s commitment to stop communism with the swords of America’s military and the plowshares of the Marshall Plan; John F. Kennedy’s commitment to muscular and idealistic internationalism; and Bill Clinton’s commitment to strengthen our alliances throughout the world.
John Kerry and John Edwards are on the right side of this proud history. They are heirs to this legacy of leadership, and they will carry it forward as our next President and Vice President. We know that to some generations much is given, and from others, much is asked. Ours is a unique generation that has both been given much, and asked much. I have known John Kerry for four decades since we met at college, and I can tell you that throughout his life, he has cared about his community and answered his country’s call to duty with patriotism and purpose. He is ready now to be the leader this generation of Americans needs. So let us go forward from this convention to give him and our country that great opportunity for a better tomorrow. Thank you. God bless you, and God bless America.