The Honorable Richard Gephardt

Democratic National Convention

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Jul 27, 2004, 01:00 ET from Democratic National Convention Committee

    BOSTON, July 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Friends, fellow Americans, I have known
 Senator John Kerry for most of my congressional career. I've worked with him,
 I know his values, I know his heart. And I say to you, without one ounce of
 hesitation or regret: There is no one in these United States with more
 courage, more judgment, more resolve, more of the knowledge and experience to
 hold the job of president.
     At the dawn of the global economy and Information Age, we need a president
 like John Kerry, who will turn around the worst job creation record since
 Herbert Hoover. At a time when world markets are getting more competitive,
 John Kerry will put an end to shipping American jobs overseas, to wasteful
 special-interest bailouts, and instead will invest in the skills and education
 of our people again. At a time of global terror, John Kerry will take on the
 terrorists where they live, before they can threaten us where we live. And he
 will never pursue a go-it-alone foreign policy that leaves America isolated
 from its friends and hinders the hunt for our enemies.
     There's another reason we must win this election, and put John Kerry in
 the White House: because he will bring with him a fighter for hard-working men
 and women, Senator John Edwards of North Carolina.
     In an election year, we hear a lot about the word "character." In this
 election, there is a candidate whose character was forged through genuine
 battlefield heroism, through three Purple Hearts in the Vietnam War. John
 Kerry defended our freedom at the barrel of a gun.  He put himself at personal
 peril to save the lives of his crewmates. We know he won't take matters of war
 and peace lightly. John Kerry has the strength to keep America strong.
     This year, in this election, there is a candidate whose character has
 shone through in the many battles he's taken on for our families -- as one of
 the first Democrats to take on the deficit. As a champion of public education
 and our children's future. John Kerry has been a leader on these issues for
     And this year, in this election, there is a candidate who understands the
 middle-class squeeze who understands what it means for a parent to lose a job,
 for a family to go without health care or be hit by rising college costs.
     As some of you know, I've had a single, simple purpose for most of my
 years in public life: to make it possible for hard-working American families
 to succeed. To help the growing number of families where both parents work,
 just to pay the bills; where life is a never-ending scramble of credit-card
 debt; where it's a struggle to pass on the right values, to teach simple
 lessons of discipline and respect, right and wrong, to our children.
     Instead of just helping those at the top, I think we ought to give
 everyone a chance to reach the top. And if we strengthen all our families, if
 we make sure our economy enriches everyone, mark my words, the people at the
 top will do even better. As Dr. Martin Luther King taught us all: "I can never
 be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be."
     If a child doesn't have health insurance, we all pay the price when she
 shows up at the emergency room. If a child drops out of school-we all pay the
 price of violence, dependence, and indigence.
     Words can be cheap in a political year, we all know that. But I'm going to
 borrow some familiar ones, to tell you that we need John Kerry as president --
 because we need a uniter, not a divider, in the White House. We need John
 Kerry as president because it's time to restore honor and dignity to the White
 House -- to have a president whose whole life is a testament to his goodness
 and decency, to his courage under fire.
     We need John Kerry as president of the United States of America, because
 he will fight for working families, and help America to be what it ought to
     When I think back to the months and miles of my own campaign, my heart is
 full. You see, I didn't come from much. My dad was a milk truck driver, a
 proud member of the Teamsters. My mother was a secretary. Neither finished
 high school. I never dreamed I'd have the chance to serve so many people, in
 so many ways.
     I found a true partner in life, my wife Jane who I adore, and children --
 Matt, Chrissy, Kate -- and their families, that I couldn't be prouder of. I
 had the honor to serve my constituents in the Third Congressional District in
 Missouri and a gifted and loyal staff who helped me throughout my career. I'm
 a lucky man. Together they taught me that win or lose, the dream is what
 matters, the fight is what it's all about. For an America that works for the
 many, not just for the few; for an America that lifts up all those who have
 been left out, or locked out, of our bounty and promise.
     I ran for President because I wanted to give those people a voice. And I
 stand proudly at John Kerry's Convention because he speaks for them; he
 strives to lift them up; their cause is his unyielding concern. To all those
 who have supported me, and to all those who share my dream of a better,
 brighter American future: thank you, may God bless you, and may God shine on
 these United States of America.

SOURCE Democratic National Convention Committee