Remarks of Senator John Kerry
Market Square
Pittsburgh, PA
Tuesday July 06, 2004


Thank you for coming here this morning to be part of this journey together, and thank you for deciding to be part of the future. [applause].

This morning, this morning I've had the privilege of talking with a number of talented and decent Americans who have been both courageous enough and patriotic enough to allow themselves to be considered for the vice presidency of the United States of America.

Teresa, Teresa and I and all citizens are so grateful to them and to their families for caring enough about changing the direction of our country that they decided to go through what is inevitably a very intrusive and even frustrating process.

Each of those individuals, and I mean this, each of those individuals would make a great Vice President and indeed, in their own right, could lead our country.  [applause].

But I can only choose one running mate and this morning I have done so.  [applause].

I have chosen a man who understands and defends the values of America, a man who has shown courage and conviction as a champion for middle class Americans and for those struggling to reach the middle class-a man who has shown guts and determination and political skill in his own race for the presidency--a man, a man whose life has prepared him for leadership and whose character brings him to exercise it.  I am pleased to announce that with your help the next Vice President of the United States will be John Edwards from North Carolina.  [applause, music].

This --well I trust that met with your approval. [cheers].  This campaign, this campaign for the presidency really began --Now wait we got plenty of those.  Don't worry.  We got four months for you to get a hold of those things; we're going to get 'em around.  [reference to signs].  This campaign for the presidency really began two years ago.  And throughout those two years as well as four years before that, I have worked with John Edwards side by side and sometimes head to head.

I've seen John Edwards think, argue, advocate, legislate and lead for six years now.  I know his skill.  I know his passion.  I know his strength.  I know his conscience.  I know his faith.  He has honored the lessons of home and family that he learned in North Carolina, and he brings those values to shape a better America together with all of us.  John Edwards is ready for this job.

He is ready for this job, and there is something else about John Edwards that is important in this campaign and our country at this critical time.  As you know I am determined that we reach out across party lines, that we speak the heart of America, that we speak of hope and of optimism, and John Edwards will join me in doing that.  [cheers].

As so many, as so many of you know, throughout this campaign, John talked about the great divide in America—the "Two Americas"—that exists between those who are doing very well and those who are struggling to make ends meet in our country.  That concern is at the center of this campaign.  It is what it is all about.  It is what the 35 years of my struggle have been about, and I am so proud that together John Edwards and I are now going to fight to build one America for all Americans.  [cheers, applause, chants].

As you know as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and also a leader in fighting bioterrorism and understanding the threats we face, he shares my unshakable commitment to having a military that is second to nobody in the world, but also to restoring old and rebuilding new alliances that make America stronger.  [cheers].

And there is also a great bonus--a great bonus--in having John on this ticket.  He, like me, is blessed with a remarkable wife, a strong, brave woman, Elizabeth Edwards.  [cheers].  And Teresa and I will be proud to stand with the Edwards family—with their daughter Cate, who just graduated from college this year, and with their two little ones Emma Claire and Jack.

And anyone who knows them--and America will get to know them--knows that this is a family that loves each other and loves America.

We, we are--Teresa and I have talked with John and Elizabeth this morning; we've invited them to come here to Pittsburgh tonight.  [cheers].  And we're going to spend the evening together, have a little chance to break bread; get a chance to talk.  Our families will have a chance to meet and get to know each other well.  And tomorrow morning together we all look forward to coming out and speaking to the nation for the first time as a team that will lead this country in a new and stronger direction.  [cheers].

In the next 120 days, John and I and Elizabeth and Teresa are going to crisscross this country and fight for the nation that all of us know that we can be.  This is about fairness; it's about fundamental fairness for all Americans.  It's about people being able to go to work and actually getting the ability through a week's work and a month's work and a year's work to pay their bills, to live decently, to get ahead, to be able to be fair.  [cheers].

This is a fight about creating jobs in America that don't pay less than the jobs that we're losing overseas.  [cheers].

This is about having a President who fights as hard for your job as he fights for his own job.  [cheers].

This is about once and for all ending the shame of the United States of America being the only industrial nation on this planet, and the richest one at that, that doesn't yet understand, but it will at the end of this campaign--health care is not a privilege for the wealthy and the connected, health care is for all Americans, and we're going to fight for it.  [chants "Kerry"].

This is, this, this is also a fight for common sense.  And I can pledge you this.  John Edwards and I would never think about sending young America's sons and daughters into harm's way anywhere in the world without telling the American people the truth.  [cheers].

And part of that common sense is pretty straightforward.  God only gave us three percent of the world's oil reserves, right?  But the Middle East has 65 percent.  I think it's smart for America to control its own destiny.  I think it's smart  for us to be able to know that our security is in our hands.  I think it's smart for us to know that no young American in uniform will ever be held hostage to America's dependence on oil in the Middle East.  We're going to liberate ourselves. [cheers]

And as John learned in North Carolina and as both of us have heard all across this country, we've met too many parents who are forced to send their kids to a school that's overcrowded in its classes, that's lost its after-school programs--parents who feel frustrated that they just can't even get their kids the opportunities that parents live and die for.

Well when I'm president, with John Edwards as vice president, I promise you this.  We're going to stop being a country that's content to build a prison and spend $70,000 a year or $50,000 a year to house a young person there for the rest of their life, rather than invest 10, 11 thousand dollars in Head Start, Early Start, Smart Start.  Give kids a chance to be full citizens.  [cheers, applause].

So I ask you over these next days as we build this team and as we go forward in this race--we got four months, four months.  And I have you.  You, right.  You bet we do.  We have you.  And that's exactly the point that I want to make.

Every generation in American history--think of your parents and your grandparents and go back and read your history books-- every generation has had a chance to contribute to who we are as Americans.  Teresa who came from East Africa--a dictatorship--to become American and know the passion of being an American, who saw her father vote only for the first time when he was 71 years old, understands as we all do the blessings of this great country of ours.  But what makes this country great is our ability to come together like this in a square in a city and talk with each other and build a movement that writes our future.  We have the ability to be able to do these things but we have to go out and make it happen.

I, I learned the great blessing of this country years ago when I fought for it.  And I came together on a small boat in the jungles of Vietnam with five other guys from places as diverse as South Carolina, Arkansas, California, Iowa and Massachusetts.  And you know what?  When we were on that boat, folks, nobody worried about bank accounts and schools and backgrounds and religion.  We covered for each other.  We worked together.  We were literally all in the same boat.  [cheers].  And what we need is a president who understands that there aren't people who are powerful and special interests that you take care of in this country.  We're all in the same boat.  And when I'm president we're going to have a country that reflects that.  We're going to have a president who fights for all Americans--doesn't divide them; brings people together to solve problems.

I pledge to you that while we may be older and greyer now, those of us who served, we still know how to fight for our country, and we're going to fight for our country.  [cheers, chants].

Langston Hughes was a poet--a black man and a poor man.  And he wrote in the 1930's powerful words that apply to all of us today.  He said, "Let America be America again.  Let it be the dream that it used to be." -- for those "whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain, whose hand at the foundry" --something Pittsburgh knows about-- "for those whose plow in the rain must bring back our mighty dream again."

We've come here today to put a team together that's going to fight to bring back America's mighty dream.

We're going out of here today to let America be America again!  Let's go out and make it happen together.

Thank you and God Bless.  Thank you very much!  [cheers, music: "Go Johnny Go"]

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