BOSTON – The following is the transcript of a speech by New York Sen. Hillary Clinton at the Democratic convention -- as prepared for delivery, as released by the Democratic National Convention Committee -- Monday, July 26, 2004:
Twelve years ago, when our country needed new leadership, Americans elected a Democrat who gave us eight years of peace, prosperity, and promise. Tonight I have the pleasure of introducing the last great Democratic President.
But first I want to say a few words about the next great Democratic president, John Kerry.
We meet at a moment of great peril, but also of great hope. Together we can widen the circle of opportunity for all Americans, transcend our differences and divisions, and give our children a safer and more secure future. That's the promise of America. And John Kerry will renew that promise.
He will lead the world, not alienate it. Lower the deficit, not raise it. Create good jobs, not lose them. Solve a health care crisis, not ignore it. I know a thing or two about health care. And the problems have only gotten worse in the past four years.
We need to rededicate ourselves to the task of providing coverage for the 44 million Americans who are uninsured and the millions of others who face rising costs. We need to lift the ban on stem cell research, and find cures that will help millions of Americans.
Health care is a serious issue that requires serious solutions and that's what John Kerry will give us. John Kerry will give America something else, a great vice president. I've served with John Edwards. He's smart, he's energetic, he's empathetic. And he understands the challenges that hard- working Americans face in their daily lives.
Americans will be proud to have the Kerry-Edwards team in the White House, and they'll be proud to have their extraordinary partners, Teresa Heinz Kerry and Elizabeth Edwards, there as well.
We've been through our share of challenges as Americans, from a Civil War to a Great Depression to World Wars and more. Today we face a new threat.
Being a Senator from New York, I saw first-hand the devastation of 9/11. I visited Ground Zero right after we were attacked. I felt like I was standing at the Gates of Hell. I hope no American ever has to witness a sight like that again. That tragedy changed all of us. I know it changed me. And every day now, as a mother, as a Senator, and as an American I worry about whether we are acting as wisely as we can to protect our country and our people.
Last week, the bipartisan 9/11 commission issued its report. It was a sober call to action that we ignore at our peril. John Kerry understands what's at stake. We need to fully equip and train our firefighters, police officers and emergency medical technicians -- our first responders in the event of a terrorist attack.
We need to secure our borders and our ports, as well as our chemical and nuclear plants. We need to reorganize our federal government to meet the new threats of these times. We need to make sure that homeland security is properly funded and that resources go to the areas at greatest risk.
We need to take care of our men and women in uniform who risked their lives for our country. These brave Americans deserve better. We need to increase our troop strength, raise their pay, and provide veterans, the National Guard, and Reserve with the benefits they're entitled to.
Do you know what we need to meet these challenges? We need John Kerry. John Kerry is a serious man, for a serious job. So let's work our hearts out and send him to the White House in 2004. And I'm optimistic we will because I know a great leader when I see one. And so does America.
In 1992 and 1996, Americans chose a President who left our country in far better shape than when he took office. He still spends his days working to empower the powerless, promote racial, religious, and ethnic reconciliation, inspire young people to citizen service, and bring life saving medicines to people living with HIV/AIDS around the world.
He showed Democrats how to win again. And so will John Kerry. Please welcome the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton.