Published September 05, 2012
The following is a transcript of Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren's speech at the Democratic National Convention on Sept. 5, 2012.
WARREN: I -- I never thought I'd run for the Senate, and I
sure never dreamed I would be the warm-up act for President Bill
He is an amazing man who had the good sense to marry one of
the coolest women on this planet .
I -- I want to give a shout out to the Massachusetts
I am counting on your to help me win and to help President
I am here tonight to talk about hard working people, people
who get up early, stay up late, cook dinner and help out with
homework, people who can be counted on to help their kids, their
parents, their neighbors, and a lady down the street whose car
broke down, people who work their hearts out better of it
against a hard truth: the game is rigged against them. It
wasn't always this way.
Like a lot of you, I grew up in a family on the ragged
edges of the middle class. My daddy sold carpeting and ended up
as a maintenance man. After he had a heart attack, my mom
worked the phones at Sears so we could hang on to our house.
All three of my brothers served in the military. One was
career, the second a good union job in construction, and the
third started a small business.
Me, I was waiting tables of 13 and married at 19. I
graduated from public schools, and taught elementary school.
I have a wonderful husband, two great children, and three
beautiful grandchildren, and I am grateful down to my toes for
every opportunity that America gave me. This is a great
I grew up in an America that invested in its kids and built
a strong middle class that allowed millions of children to rise
from poverty and establish secure lives, an America that created
Social Security and Medicare so that seniors could live with
dignity, an America in which each generation built something
solid so the next generation could build something better,
but now, for many years, our middle-class has been chipped,
squeezed, and hammered. Talk to the construction worker I met
from Malden, Massachusetts who went nine months without finding
work. Talk to the head of a manufacturing company in Franklin,
trying to protect jobs, but worried about rising costs, talk to
the student in Worcester who worked hard to finish his degree,
and now he is drowning in debt.
Their fight is my fight, and it's Barack Obama's
People feel like the system is rigged against them, and
here is the painful part, they're right. The system is rigged.
Look around. Oil companies guzzle down the billions in profits.
Billionaires pay a lower tax rate than their secretaries, and
Wall Street CEOs, the same ones the direct our economy and
destroyed millions of jobs still strut around Congress, no
shame, demanding favors, and acting like we should thank them.
Does anyone here have a problem with that?
I do, too. I talked to small business owners all across
Massachusetts, and not one of them, not one, made big bucks from
the risky bets that brought down our economy. I talked to
nurses and programmers, salespeople and firefighters, people who
bust their tails every day, and not one of them,not one, stashes
their money in the Cayman Islands to avoid paying their fair
share of taxes.
These folks don't resent that somebody else made more
money. We are Americans. We celebrate success. We just don't
want the game to be rigged. We fought to level the playing
field before. About a century ago when corrosive greed
threatened our economy and our way of life, the American people
came together under the leadership of Teddy Roosevelt and other
Progressives to bring our nation back from the brink.
We started to take children out of factories and put them
in schools. We began to give meaning to the word consumer
protection by making food and medicine safe, and we gave the
little guys a better chance to compete by preventing the big
guys from rigging the markets. We turned adversity into progress
because that's what we do.
Americans are fighters. We're tough, resourceful and
creative, and if we have the chance to fight on a level playing
field, where everyone pays a fair share and everyone has a real
shot, then no one -- no one can stop us.
President Obama gets it because he spent his life fighting
for the middle-class, and now he's fighting to level that
playing field, because we know the economy doesn't grow from the
top down but from the middle-class out and the bottom up.
That's how we create jobs and reduce the debt.
And Mitt Romney -- he wants to give tax cuts to
millionaires and billionaires, but for middle-class families who
are hanging on by their fingernails, his plan will hammer them
with a new tax hike of of to $2,000. Mitt Romney wants to give
billions in breaks to big corporations, but he and Paul Ryan
would pulverize financial reform, voucherize Medicare and
The Republican vision is clear -- ``I got mine. The rest of
you are on your own.'' Republicans say they don't believe in
government. Sure, they do. They believe in government to help
themselves and their powerful friends.
After all, Mitt Romney is the guy who said corporations are
people. No, Governor Romney, corporations are not people.
People have hearts. They have kids. They get jobs. They
get sick. They cry, they dance. They live, they love, and they
die, and that matters. That matters.
That matters -- that matters because we do not run this
country for corporations. We run it for people, and that is why
we need Barack Obama.
After the financial crisis, President Obama knew that we
had to clean of Wall Street . For years families have been
tricked by credit cards, fooled by student loans, and cheated on
I had an idea for the consumer protection agency to stop
the rip offs.
Now, the big banks did not like this, and they marshalled
one of the biggest lobbying forces on earth to destroy the
agency before it ever saw the light of day . American families
did not have an army of lobbyists on our side. What we haven't
was a president, President Obama leading the way.
And when the lobbyists were closing in for the kill, where
Barack Obama squared his shoulders, planted his feet and stood
firm, and that's how we won
By the way, just a few weeks ago that little agency, caught
one of the biggest credit card companies cheating its customers
and made it give people back every penny it took plus millions
of dollars in fines.
That's what happens when you have a president on the side
of the middle class.
President Obama believes in a level playing field. He
believes in a country where nobody gets a free ride or a golden
parachute, a country where anyone who has a great idea and rolls
of their sleeves has a chance to build a business, and anyone
who works hard can build some security and raise a family.
President Obama believes in a country where billionaires
pay their taxes just like their secretaries do.
And I can't believe I have to say this in 2012, a country
where women get equal pay for equal work.
He believes in a country where everyone is held
accountable, where no one can steal your purse on main street or
your pension on Wall Street.
President Obama believes in a country where we invest in
education, in roads and bridges, in science, and in the future
so we can create new opportunities so the next kid can make it
big and the kid after that and the kid after that, that's what
President Obama believes.
And that's how we build the economy of the future. An
economy with more jobs and less debt, we root it in fairness.
We grow it with opportunity. And we build it together.
I grew up in the Methodist church and taught Sunday school,
and one of my favorite passages of scripture is, ``in as much as
ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye
have done it unto me,'' Matthew 25:40.
The passage teaches about God in each of us, that we are
bound to each other and we are called to act, not to sit, not to
wait, but to act all of us together . Senator Ted Kennedy
understood that call.
Four years ago he addressed our convention for the last
time. He said, ``we have never lost our belief that we are all
called to a better country and a newer world''.
Generation after generation, Americans have answered that
call, and now we are called again. We are called to restore
opportunity for every American. We are called to give America's
working families a fighting chance, we are called to build
something solid so the next generation can build something
So let me ask you -- let me ask you America: are you
ready to answer this call?
(AUDIENCE MEMBERS): Yes.
WARREN: Are you ready to fight for good jobs and and a
solid (ph) level playing field? Are you ready to prove to
another generation of Americans that we can build a better
country and a newer world?
Joe Biden is ready. Barack Obama is ready. I am ready.
Thank you. God Bless you.