I am writing you today for two reasons. First, Tipper and I want to express our deep gratitude to you for your support of Leadership '02. With friends like you at our side, we have been able to articulate the issues important to us as Democrats and Americans, and fight for what is right.
Second, I wanted to communicate with you directly about my decision not to be a candidate in 2004. I am extremely grateful for all of the support from the many people who encouraged me to run. But after much deliberation, I have decided that the best contribution I can make in 2004 is not by once again becoming a candidate myself, but rather by serving in other ways and continuing to fight for the right result.
After traveling throughout our nation on behalf of Democratic candidates this year (and then for the past five weeks on a book tour), I concluded that a Bush-Gore rematch would inevitably involve too much focus on the past - partly at the expense of the 100% focus on the future which I believe will be needed to maximize the chances for victory in 2004. I am mindful that for many, there are still deep feelings about the 2000 election that have not gone away and of course, most of us feel very strongly that our nation's current policies under the Bush Cheney administration are unwise and harmful to our country.
I intend to remain very active in fighting for the causes we believe in and working to ensure that the Democratic Party becomes a more effective voice for the values that you and I share. Later in this election cycle, I intend to endorse a candidate for President - but only after carefully reviewing the proposals and plans of all the candidates.
Early in the New Year, I will deliver a series of policy speeches in the hopes that some of the ideas I have been working on will prove of interest to the candidates and others. As always, I welcome your suggestions on what you believe is most important for our country's future.
I hope you will join me, as you have so many times over the years, in continuing to promote the vision that we share for our country.
Again, Tipper and I can never thank you enough for all you have done on our behalf. We will always cherish your friendship.
Let's keep fighting!