Published September 06, 2012
The following is a transcript of Vice President Joe Biden's speech at the Democratic National Convention on Sept. 6, 2012.
BIDEN: Hello, my fellow Democrats!
And my favorite Democrat. Jilly (ph), I want you to know
that Beau and Hunt and Ashton and I we're so incredibly proud of
You know, we admire the way with every single
solitary young person, and they're not all young, walking to
your classroom. You not only to them, you give them confidence.
You give me confidence. And the passion -- the passion she
brings trying to ease the burden on the families of our
warriors. Jilly, they know you understand them, and that makes
a gigantic difference.
And folks, I tell you what. It was worth the trip to hear
my wife said what I've never heard her say before. She's always
If that's the case, why did it take five times of asking
you? And that is true. Five times. I don't know what I would
have done, kiddo if you on that fifth time said no. I love you.
Your the love of my life and the life of my love.
We've got three incredible kids. And Beau, I want to thank
you for putting my name in nomination to be vice president of
the United States. I accept. I accept.
With great honor and pleasure, I accept.
Thank you, my fellow Democrats.
And I say to my fellow Americans -- my fellow Americans,
four years ago, a battered nation turned away from the failed
policies of the past, and turned to a leader who they would know
what lift our nation out of the crisis. A journey -- a journey
we haven't finished yet. We know we still have more to do.
But today, I say to my fellow citizens, in the face
of the deepest economic crisis in our lifetime, this generation
of Americans has proven itself as worthy as any generation
For we posses that same grit, that same determination,
that, that same courage that has always defined what it means to
be an American, has always defined all of you. Together, we're
on a mission -- we're on a mission to move this nation forward.
From doubt and downturn to promise and prosperity. A mission I
guarantee you we will complete. A mission we will complete.
Folks, but tonight, what I really want to do is tell you
about my friend Barack Obama.
No one could tell it as well or as eloquently as Michelle.
As you did last night -- on Monday night. But I know him. To
state the obvious from a different perspective. I know him, and
I want to show you -- I want to show you the character of leader
that had what it took when the American people who literally
stood on the brink of a new depression. A leader that has what
it takes to lead us over the next four years to a future as
great as our people.
I want to take you inside the White House to see the
president as I see him every day. Because I don't see him in
sound bites. I walk 30 paces down the hall into the Oval Office
and I see him, I watch him in action.
Four years ago, the middle class was already losing
ground. And then, the bottom fell out. The financial crisis
hit like a sledgehammer. On all the people I grew up with. You
remember the headlines. You saw some of them in the previews.
Highlight: highest job losses in 60 years. Headlines: ``Economy
on the brink.'' ``Markets, plummet worldwide.''
From the very moment President Obama sat behind the desk,
resolute in the Oval Office, he knew -- he knew he had not only
to restore the confidence of a nation, but he had to restore the
confidence of the whole world.
And he also knew --, he also knew that one -- one false
move could bring a run on the banks or credit collapse, to put
another several million people out of work. America and the
world needed a strong president with a steady hand, and with the
judgment and vision to see us through.
Day after day, night after night, I sat beside him as he
made one gutsy decision after the other to stop the slide and
reverse. I watched him stand up to intense pressure and stared
down enormous -- enormous challenges, the consequences of which
were awesome. But most of all, I got to see firsthand what
drove this man. His profound concern for the average American.
He knew -- he knew that no matter how tough this decisions he
had to make were in that Oval Office, he knew that families all
over America sitting at their kitchen tables were literally
making decisions for their family that were equally as
You know, Barack and I, we have been through a lot together
these four years. And we learned about one another. A lot
about one another. One of the things I learned is the enormity
of his heart and I think he learned about me, the depth of my
loyalty to him.
And there's another thing -- another thing that bound us
together the past four years. We had a pretty good idea of
where all those families -- all you Americans in trouble were
going through. In part because our own families had gone
through similar struggles.
Barack, as a young man, they had to sit at the end of his
mother's hospital bed, and watch her fight with their insurance
company at the very same time that she was fighting for her
life. When I was a young kid in third grade, I remember my Dad
coming up the stairs in my grandpop's house where we were
living, sitting on the end of my bed, and saying, ``Joey, I'm
going to have to leave for a while. Go down to Wilmington,
Delaware with Uncle Frank, there are good jobs down there honey,
and in a little while, I will be able to send for you and mom
and Jimmy and Val, and everything is going to be fine.''
For the rest of our lives, my sister and my brothers -- for
the rest of our lives, my dad never failed to remind us that a
job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It is about your
dignity. It's about respect. It's about your place in the
It's about being able to look your child in the eye and
say, ``Honey, it's going to be OK'', and mean it and know it's
When Barack and I -- when Barack and I were growing up,
there was an implicit understanding in America. That if you
took responsibility, you would get a fair shot at a better life.
And the values behind that bargain, were the values that have
shaped both of us and many of you. And today those same values
are Barack's guiding star.
Folks, I've watched him. He has never wavered, he
never, never backs down. He always steps up and he always asks
in every one of those critical meetings the same fundamental
question, ``How is this going to affect the average American?
How is this going to affect people's lives? That's what is
inside this man. That's what makes him tick.
That's who he is.
And folks, because of the decisions he's made, and the
incredible strength of the American people, America has turned a
corner. The worst job loss since the Great Depression, we've
since created 4.5 million private-sector jobs in the last 29
Look though, president -- President Obama and Governor
Romney, they're both -- they're both loving husbands, they're
both devoted fathers. But let's be straight, they bring a
vastly different vision and a vastly different values set for
And tonight -- tonight, although you've heard people talk
about it, I'm going to talk about two things from a slightly
different perspective. From my perspective. I like to focus on
to crises and show you -- show you the character of leadership
that each man will bring to this job. Because as I've said, I
have had a ringside seat.
The first of these, A lot has been talked about and God
love Jennifer Branham. Wasn't she great?
Wasn't she great? I love Jennifer.
But the first story I want to talk to you about is the
rescue of the automobile industry. And let me tell you let me
tell you, from this man's ringside seat, let me tell you about
how Barack Obama saved more than a million American jobs. In
the first -- in the first days, literally, the first days that
we took office, General Motors and Chrysler were literally on
the verge of liquidation. If the president didn't act -- if he
didn't act immediately, there wouldn't be any industry left to
So we sat hour after hour in the oval office. Michelle
remembers how it must of -- what he must have thought when he
came back upstairs. We sat, hour after hour. We listened to
Senators, Congressmen, outside advisers, even some of our own
adviser, we listen to them to say some of the following things.
They said, well we shouldn't step up. The risks -- the risks
were too high. The outcome was too uncertain.
And the president, he patiently sat there and he listened.
But he didn't see it the way they did. He understood something
they didn't get, and one of the reasons I love him. He
understood that this wasn't just about cars, it was about the
people that built and made those cars.
And about the America that those people built. In those
meetings -- in those meetings -- in those meetings, I often
thought about my dad. My dad was an automobile man. He would
have been one of those guys all the way down the line, not on
the factory floor, not along the supply chain, but one of those
guys selling American cars to American people.
I thought about -- I thought about what this crisis would
have meant for the mechanics and the secretaries and the
salespeople who my dad managed for over 35 years. And I know
for certain -- I know for certain that my dad, were here today,
he'd be fighting like heck for the president, because the
president fought to save the jobs of those people my dad cared
so much about.
Ladies and gentlemen, my dad -- my dad respected Barack
Obama -- would have respected Barack Obama had he been around,
for having had the guts to stand up for the automobile industry
when so many others just were prepared to walk away.
You know, when I look back -- when I look back now
-- when I look back on the president's decision, I think of
another son of another automobile man. Mitt Romney -- no, no--
Mitt Romney -- Mitt Romney grew up in Detroit. My dad managed,
his dad owned -- well his dad ran an entire automobile company,
American Motors. Yes, what I don't understand -- and in spite
of that, he was willing to let Detroit go bankrupt. I don't
think he's a bad guy. No -- no, no, I don't think he's a bad
guy. I am sure he grew up loving cars as much as I did. But
what I don't understand -- what I don't think he understood -- I
don't think he understood that saving the automobile worker,
saving the industry, what it meant all of America, not just
I think he saw it the Bain way -- I mean this sincerely. I
think he saw it in terms of balance sheets and write offs.
Folks, the Bain way may bring your firm the highest profits, but
it is not the way to lead our country from the highest office.
When things -- when things -- when things hung in the
balance -- when things hung in the balance, I mean literally
hung in the balance, the president understood this was about a
lot more hope than the automobile industry. This was about
restoring America's pride. He understood -- he understood in
his gut what it would mean to leave a million people without
hope or work if he didn't act. And he also knew -- he also
knew, he intuitively understood the message that it would have
sent around the world if the United States gave up on an
industry that helped put America on the map in the first place.
Conviction. Resolve. Barack Obama. That is what saved
the automobile industry.
Conviction. Resolve. Barack Obama. Look, you heard my
friend John Kerry. This president -- this president has shown
the same result, the same steady hand in his role as commander
in chief. Look -- which brings me to the next illustration.
The next crisis he had to face.
In 2008, before he was president, Barack Obama made a
promise to the American people. He said, ``If I have -- if we
have bin Laden in our sights, we will -- we will take him out.''
He went on to say -- he went on to say, ``That has to be our
biggest national security priority.'' Look, Barack understood
that the search for Bin Laden was about a lot more than taking a
monstrous leader off the battlefield. It was about more than
that. It was about righting an unspeakable wrong. Literally,
it was about healing an unbearable wound -- a nearly unbearable
wound in America's heart. And he also knew -- he also knew the
message we had to send around the world. If you attack innocent
Americans, we will follow you to the end of the earth!
Look, most of all, President Obama had an unyielding faith
in the capacity and the capability of our special forces.
Literally, the finest warriors in the history of the world.
The finest warriors in the history of the world. So we sat
-- we sat originally only five of us. We sat in the situation
room beginning in the fall of the year before.
We listened, we talked, we heard, and he listened,
to the risk and reservations about the raid.
He asked again the tough questions, he listened to the
doubts that were expressed. But when Admiral Mcraven looked him
in the eye and said, ``sir, we can get this job done''. I sit
next to him and I looked at your husband. And I knew, at that
moment, he had made his decision. And his response was
decisive. He said, ``do it'', and justice was done.
Folks -- folks, Governor Romney didn't see things that way.
When he was asked about Bin Laden in 2007 here's what he said,
he said, ``it is not worth moving heaven and Earth and spending
billions of dollars just to catch one person''.
(AUDIENCE MEMBERS): Boo.
BIDEN: But he was wrong. He was wrong. Because if you
understood that America's heart had to be healed, you would have
done exactly what the president dead and you would move heaven
and Earth to hunt him down and to bring him to justice.
Look, four years ago -- four years ago -- only thing
missing at this convention is my mom. Four years ago, my mom
was still with us, sitting up in the stadium in Denver. I
quoted -- I quoted her one of her favorite expressions. She
used to say to all children, she said, ``Joey, bravery resides in
every heart, and the time will come when it must be summoned''.
Ladies and gentlemen, I'm here to tell you what I think you
already know. I watch it up close. Bravery reside in the heart
of Barack Obama. And time and time again, I witnessed him some
and its. This man has courage in his soul, compassion in his
heart, and a spine of steel.
And because -- because of all the actions he took, because
of the calls he made, because of the determination of American
workers, and the unparalleled bravery of our special forces, we
can proudly say what you've heard me say the last six months:
Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.
That's right. One man.
Folks, we know -- we know we have more work to do. We know
we're not there yet. But not a day has gone by in the last four
years when I haven't been grateful, as an American, that Barack
Obama is our president because he has the courage to make the
Speaking of tough decisions -- speaking of tough calls,
last week, we heard at the Republican convention, we heard our
opponents, we heard them pledge that they, too, had the courage
to make the tough calls. That's what they said.
But folks, in case you didn't notice, I say to my fellow
Americans, in case you didn't notice, they didn't have the
courage to tell you what calls they'd make. They never
mentioned any of that.
Mrs. Robinson, you -- watched from home, I guess. You
heard them talk about how they cared so much about Medicare.
How much they wanted to preserve it. That's what they told you.
Let's look at what they didn't tell you. What they
didn't tell you is that the plan to have already put down on
paper would immediately cut benefits for more than 30 million
seniors already on Medicare. What they didn't tell you -- what
they didn't tell you is the plan they are proposing would cause
Medicare to go bankrupt by 2016 and what they really didn't tell
you is, they -- if you want to know -- if you want to know,
they're not for preserving Medicare at all. They're for a new
plan. It's called voucher care.
BIDEN: Look folks, that's not courage. That's not even
truthful. That's not even truthful. In Tampa they talked with
great urgency about the nation's debt and the need to act, to
act now. But not once -- not one single time did they tell you
that they rejected every plan put forward by us, by the
bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Commission they referenced or by any
other respected group. To reduce the national debt not for any
of them. Why? Because they're not prepared to do anything
about the debt if it contained even one dollar -- I'm not
exaggerating, even one dollar or one cent in new taxes for
millionaires. Folks, that's not courage. And that's not fair.
Look -- look...
...in a sense this can be reduced to a single notion. The
two men seeking to lead this country over the next four years.
As I said at the outset, fundamentally visions and got
completely different values. Governor Romney believes in this
global economy, it doesn't matter much where American companies
invest and put their money, or where they create jobs. As a
matter of fact, in his budget proposal -- in his tax proposal he
calls for a new tax. It's called a territorial tax, which the
experts have looked at and they acknowledged it will create
800,000 new jobs. All of them overseas. All of them.
BIDEN: And what I found -- what I found fascinating, the
most fascinating thing I found last week was when Governor
Romney said that as president, he would take a jobs tour. Well
with his support for outsourcing, it would have to be a foreign
It will. Look, President Obama knows that creating jobs in
America, keeping jobs in America, bringing jobs back to America
is what the president's job is all about. That's what
presidents do, or at least supposed to do.
Folks, Governor Romney believes it's OK to raise taxes on
middle- class by $2,000.00 in order to pay for another --
literally another trillion dollar tax cut for the very wealthy.
President Obama knows that there's nothing decent or fair about
asking people with more to do less and with less to do more.
Governor Romney believes, he believes that kids -- kids like our
Dreamers, those immigrant children -- those immigrant children
who were brought to America's shores through no fault of their
own, he thinks they're a drag on the American economy.
President Obama believes that even those those Dreamers,
those kids didn't choose to come here, they have chosen to do
right by America and it's right for us to do right by them.
Governor Romney -- Governor Romney looks at the notion of
equal pay in terms of a company's bottom line. President Obama,
he knows that making sure that our daughters get the same pay
for the same jobs as our sons is every father's bottom line.
I kind of expected all that from him, but one thing truly
perplexed me a their convention, the thing that perplexed me
most was this idea they kept talking about, about the culture of
dependency. They seem to think you create a culture of
dependency when you provide a bright, young, qualified kid from
a working-class family, a loan to get to college. Or, when you
provide a job training program in a new industry for a dad who
lost his job because it was outsourced. Folks -- folks, that's
not how we look at it. That's not how America's ever looked at
it. What he doesn't understand is that all these men and women
are looking for is a chance, just a chance to acquire the skills
to be able to provide for their families so they can once again
hold their heads high and lead independent lives with dignity.
That's all they are looking for. Look.
And it literally amazes me they do not understand that.
You know, I told you at the outset the choice is stark. Two
different visions, two different value sets. But at its core,
the difference is ably reduced to be a fundamental difference.
You see, we, most Americans have incredible faith in the decency
and hard work of the American people, and we know what has made
this country. It's the American people. As I mentioned at the
outset, four years ago we were hit hard. You saw -- you saw
your retirement accounts drained, the equity in your homes
vanish, jobs lost or on the line. But what did you do as
Americans? What you've always done. You didn't lose faith, you
fought back. You didn't give up, you got up. You're the ones.
The American people -- you're the reason why we are still better
positioned than any country in the world to lead the 21st
century. You'd never quit on America, and you deserve a
president who will never quit on you.
Folks, there is one more thing -- one more thing that our
Republican opponents are just dead wrong about. America is not
in decline. America is not in decline. I've got news for
Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan. Gentlemen, never, ever --
it never makes sense, it's never been a good bet to bet against
the American people. Never.
My fellow Americans, America is coming back, and we're not
going back. And we have no intention of downsizing the American
Never. Never a good bet. Ladies and gentlemen, in a
moment we are going to hear from a man whose whole life is a
testament to the power of that dream and whose presidency is the
best hope to secure that dream for our children.
For you see -- we see a future -- we really honest to god
do we see a future, where everyone, rich and poor does their
part and has a part. A future where we depend more on clean
energy from home, and less on oil from abroad. A future where
we're number one in the world again in college graduation. A
future where we promote the private sector, not the privileged
And a future where women once again control their own
choices, their destiny, and their own health care.
Ladies and gentlemen, Barack and I see a future, it's in
our DNA, where no one -- no one is forced to live in the shadows
Folks, we see a future where America leads not only by
power of our -- the example of our power, but by the power of
Where we bring our troops home from Afghanistan
just as we proudly did from Iraq.
A future where we fulfill the only truly sacred obligation
we have as a nation -- the only truly sacred obligation we have
is to prepare those who we send to war and care for them when
they come home from war. And tonight -- tonight I want to
acknowledge -- I want to acknowledge as we should every night
the incredible debt we owe to the family of those 6,473 fallen
angels, and those 49,746 wounded. Thousands critically.
Thousands who will need our help for the rest of their lives.
Folks, we never -- we must never ever forget their sacrifice,
and always keep them in our care and in our prayers.
My fellow Americans, we now -- we now find ourselves at the
hinge of history. And the direction we turn is not
figuratively, is literally in your hands. It has been a truly
great honor to serve you and to serve with Barack who has always
stood up with you for the past four years.
I have seen him tested and I know his strength, his
commands, his faith. I also know his incredible confidence he
has in all of you. I know this man. Yes, the worker recovery
is not yet complete, but we are on our way. The journey of hope
is not yet finished, but we are on our way. And the cause of
change is not fully accomplished, but we are on the our way.
So I say to you tonight, with absolute confidence, America's
best days are ahead and, yes, we are on our way.
And in light of that horizon, for the values that define
us, for the ideals that inspire us, there is only one choice.
That choice is to move forward -- morally forward, and finish
the job and re-elect President Barack Obama.
God bless you all, and may god protect our troops. God
bless you. Thank you.