I have the credentials, the experience and the vision to put our nation
back on the track we enjoyed with the last Democratic administration, a
time of economic prosperity and peace in the world. We can show our
country that we are clever enough to defeat terror without destroying our
own liberty. [applause]. That we can provide for long term
security by making peace everybody's business. That we can show the
world that we are creative enough to brave today's challenges to our planet,
to our safety, to our future with the boldness that is America's middle
These are times that demand the highest and best contribution every American can make.
My campaign began when citizens from across this country challenged me to bring my experience in the law and in local, state, national and international government to bear on the substantive issues facing our country, and to help develop the voice of the Democratic Party in a national dialogue about future directions.
Less than two years ago, the world opened its heart to us, and shared our pain and our loss. Allies everywhere resolved to join us in a fight to rid the planet of the scourge of terrorism and the fanaticism that gave birth to such horrors. Today, that goodwill has all but evaporated.
Rather than fritter away that support in a mad rush to preemptive, unilateral, military action, and in the process isolate us in a country on perpetual alert, we would do well to foster cooperation to freeze the very ground in which extremism and terrorism fester. [applause].
This new form of worldwide chaos can only be contained and eliminated with worldwide support, because it threatens us all over the world. Saddam, bin Laden and all their pals can and must be driven out of business, and the world wants to see us succeed in that endeavor.
Everybody's long term security is ultimately tied up in how well we work with others to fight terrorism around the world. But duct tape is no substitute for diplomacy [applause], and the saber rattling that has made us all hostages to fear must stop. [applause].
The Congress, and I served in the United States Senate, but I believe with Robert Byrd that the Congress abdicated its Constitutional duty to declare war. Let us however insist that it live up to its responsibility to balance the budget. Our economy is in the doldrums of recession, retrenchment and reversal, not because of any natural phenomenon, or even the threat of war, but because of failed leadership.
Budget deficits matter, and we have no right to borrow from our children to pay for tax rebates today. [applause]. I'm probably telling my age with this one, but remember the comic strip character whose motto was "I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today?" Policy that sees no harm in tax cuts creating budget deficits is Wimpy tax policy. It failed before and it will fail again. [applause].
It might be different if they had squandered the budget surplus for a $300 billion dollar deficit to pay for our national security. But that is not the case.
Balanced national budgets are important for the same reason that a family budget has to be balanced: debt eventually catches up with you.
Today's tax cuts must not be allowed to become a millstone on our future, and our generation must not be the first one to leave less for the next generation than we inherited from the last one. Fiscal discipline and financial prudence give hope to the next generation, and put all of America in a better place.
The last Democratic administration balanced the budget, and created surpluses.
It inspired the private sector to create millions of new jobs, and was on the way toward fixing long-term challenges such as retirement security and health care and education finance and infrastructure preservation.
It was an administration that understood our stewardship of the air, the water and the land. It was an administration that built bridges to bring us together, not walls and wedges to divide us. It was a government the people chose, and that THEY elected to lead. [applause].
We Democrats can provide for the security and the harmony of the entire community and revive the American spirit in ways that keep faith with our ancestors as well as our children.
The American spirit calls upon us to value every American: to work ceaselessly to make every American welcome in this democracy, confident in the importance of their vote and in the relevance of their participation.
Inclusion is our challenge; it also our mission.
When we look beyond our differences and see our needs, we claim what Abraham Lincoln called "the higher angels of our nature" and we will open ourselves up to tap the talents of all Americans who have something in their hearts and their minds to contribute.
We can restore prosperity to our nation, and give the people hope, with priorities that seek balance and the harmony of the whole community. Education funding that provides opportunity for every child is not wishful thinking, but an American birthright. [applause]. Universal health care that respects the patient/provider relationship can be ours to choose. [applause].
And of course the most important family value is still a good job and a living wage [applause], and support for workers and businesses that invest in America should be everybody's goal. And when we retire, we should be able to do so with dignity and pride in the country we've created. [applause].
I have an abiding faith in the capacity of the American people to rise to the occasion and embrace the progress that will shape a world we will be proud to have as our legacy. I have served my country as a legislator, as an executive, as a prosecutor, as a diplomat, and most important of all, as a citizen.
I have responded to the challenge of a campaign for your Presidential nomination because I have walked the storied halls of Congress as well as the crowded hallways of our public schools. I have raised my voice to speak truth to power in public debate. And now I am prepared to breach that last barrier, shatter that last great glass ceiling that limits the contributions a woman can make in the leadership of this country. [applause]. New Zealand, where I served as Ambassador, has already had 2 women prime ministers; America is ready for its first woman President. [applause].
My campaign will be a people's campaign. We will listen to everyday people, we will register voters, we will mobilize those who perhaps have questioned the relevance of this process. We will give voice to the hopes and aspirations, to the hearts and minds of citizens whose patriotism moves them to ask the hard questions about our country's direction.
Peace, Prosperity and Progress can be ours again when we remember that in a democracy, power rests in the people, and when we unite for the good of this country we cannot fail—we never have and we never will.
Ours is the greatest nation in the world not because we have the biggest military or the most money. America's greatness lies in the spirit of her people. That spirit of hope defines and undergirds the American Dream, and now is the time for Democrats to renew hope that we will leave that Dream for the next generation in even better shape than we found it. And a woman can lead the way.
Thank you all very much. Thank you.