Thank you. Now, you know why Elizabeth is so amazing.
I am a lucky man: to have the love of my life at my side. We have been blessed with four beautiful children: Wade, Cate, Emma Claire, and Jack.
My mother and father, Wallace and Bobbie Edwards are here tonight. You taught me the values that I carry with me in my heart: faith, family, responsibility, and opportunity for everyone. You taught me that there's dignity and honor in a hard days work. You taught me that you look out for your neighbors, you never look down on anybody, and you treat everyone with respect.
Those are the values John Kerry and I believe in, and nothing makes me prouder than standing with him in this campaign. I am so humbled to be your candidate for Vice President of the United States.
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If you have any question about what he's [John Kerry] made of, you need to spend three minutes with the men who served with him then and stand by him today.
They saw up close what he's made of. They saw him reach down and pull one of his men from the river and save his life. And in the heat of battle, they saw him decide in an instant to turn his boat around, drive it straight through an enemy position, and chase down the enemy to save his crew.
Decisive. Strong. Aren't these the traits you want in a Commander in Chief?
We hear a lot of talk about values. Where I come from, you don't judge someone's values based on how they use that word in a political ad. You judge their values based upon what they've spent their life doing.
So when a man volunteers to serve his country, and puts his life on the line for others -- that's a man who represents real American values.
This is a man who is prepared to keep the American people safe and to make America stronger at home and respected in the world.
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For the last few months, John has been talking about his positive, optimistic vision for the country -- talking about his plan to move this country in the right direction.
But we've seen relentless negative attacks against John. So in the weeks ahead, we know what's coming -- don't we -- more negative attacks.
Aren't you sick of it?
They are doing all they can to take this campaign for the highest office in the land down the lowest possible road.
This is where you come in. Between now and November-you, the American people-you can reject the tired, old, hateful, negative, politics of the past. And instead you can embrace the politics of hope, the politics of what's possible because this is America, where everything is possible.
I am here tonight because I love my country. And I have every reason to love my country because I have grown up in the bright light of America.
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I have had such incredible opportunities in my life, and I was blessed to be the first person in my family to go to college. I worked my way through, and I have had opportunities way beyond what I could have ever imagined.
And the heart of this campaign -- your campaign -- is to make sure that everyone has those same opportunities that I had growing up-no matter where you live, who your family is, or what the color of your skin is. This is the America we believe in.
I have spent my life fighting for the kind of people I grew up with. For two decades, I stood with families and children against big HMOs and big insurance companies. And as a Senator, I fought those same fights against the Washington lobbyists and for causes like the Patients' Bill of Rights.
I stand here tonight ready to work with you and John to make America strong again.
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And you know what I'm saying. You don't need me to explain it to you, you know -- you can't save any money, can you? Takes every dime you make just to pay your bills, and you know what happens if something goes wrong -- a child gets sick, somebody gets laid off, or there's a financial problem, you go right off the cliff.
And what's the first thing to go. Your dreams.
It doesn't have to be that way.
We can strengthen and lift up your families. Your agenda is our agenda-so let me give you some specifics.
[. . .]
Let me talk about why we need to build one America. I saw up close what having two Americas does to our country.
From the time I was very young, I saw the ugly face of segregation and discrimination. I saw young African-American kids sent upstairs in movie theaters. I saw white only signs on restaurant doors and luncheon counters. I feel such an enormous responsibility when it comes to issues of race and equality and civil rights.
I have heard some discussions and debates about where, and in front of what audiences we should talk about race, equality, and civil rights. Well, I have an answer to that question. Everywhere.
This is not an African-American issue, not a Latino issue, not an Asian- American issue, this is an American issue. It's about who we are, what our values are, what kind of country we want to live in.
What John and I want -- what we all want -- is for our children and our grandchildren to be the first generations to grow up in an America that's no longer divided by race.
We must build one America. We must be one America, strong and united for another very important reason -- because we are at war.
None of us will ever forget where we were on September 11th. We share the same terrible images: the Towers falling, the Pentagon in flames, and the smoldering field in Pennsylvania. And we share the profound sadness for the nearly three thousand lives lost.
[. . .]
The human cost and extraordinary heroism of this war, it surrounds us. It surrounds us in our cities and towns. And we will win this war because of the strength and courage of our own people.
Some of our friends and neighbors saw their last images in Baghdad. Some took their last steps outside of Fallujah. And some buttoned their uniform for the final time before they went out to save their unit.
Men and women who used to take care of themselves, they now count on others to see them through the day. They need their mother to tie their shoe. Their husband to brush their hair. And their wife's arm to help them across the room.
The stars and stripes wave for them. The word hero was made for them. They are the best and the bravest. They will never be left behind. You understand that. And they deserve a president who understands that on the most personal level what they have gone through -- what they have given and what they have given up for their country.
To us, the real test of patriotism is how we treat the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to defend our values. And let me tell you, the 26 million veterans in this country won't have to wonder if they'll have health care next week or next year -- they will have it always because they took care of us and we will take care of them.
[. . .]
Like all of those brave men and women, John put his life on the line for our country. He knows that when authority is given to the president, much is expected in return. That's why we will strengthen and modernize our military.
We will double our Special Forces, and invest in the new equipment and technologies so that our military remains the best equipped and best trained in the world. This will make our military stronger so we're able to defeat every enemy in this new world.
But we can't do this alone. We have to restore our respect in the world to bring our allies to us and with us. It's how we won the World Wars and the Cold War and it is how we will build a stable Iraq.
[. . .]
And together, we will ensure that the image of America -- the image all of us love -- America this great shining light, this beacon of freedom, democracy, and human rights that the world looks up to-that that beacon is always lit.
The truth is every child, every family in America will be safer and more secure if you grow up in a world where America is once again looked up to and respected. That's the world we can create together.
Tonight, as we celebrate in this hall, somewhere in America, a mother sits at the kitchen table. She can't sleep. She's worried because she can't pay her bills. She's working hard to pay the rent and feed her kids. She's doing everything right, but she still can't get ahead.
It didn't use to be that way in her house. Her husband was called up in the Guard and he's been serving in Iraq for more than a year. She thought he'd be home last month, but now he's got to stay longer.
She thinks she's alone. But tonight in this hall and in your homes -- you know what? She's got a lot of friends. We want her to know that we hear her. And it's time to bring opportunity and an equal chance to her door.
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What we believe -- what John Kerry and I believe -- is that you should never look down on anybody, that we should lift people up. We don't believe in tearing people apart. We believe in bringing people together. What we believe -- what I believe -- is that the family you're born into and the color of your skin in our America should never control your destiny.
Join us in this cause. Let's make America stronger at home and respected in the world. Let's ensure that once again, in our one America -- our one America -- tomorrow will always be better than today.
Thank you and God bless you.
I love this guy, but if I have to hear that fucking mill town story ONE MORE TIME, I'm gonna shoot my damn self. I've only read the transcript but I taped it and I'm gonna watch it with the Mrs. tonight, after I get home from the tailor. Oy!