Presidential Campaign and Candidates


Gary Hart 1988 Announcement Speech


April 13, 1987


Senator Gary Hart statement of candidacy


My wife Lee, our daughter Andrea, and, in absentia, our son John, want to thank all of you for coming up here and welcome you to Colorado.  We had originally hoped to make this statement down at our house, and it turned out our yard just wasn’t large enough, and so we had to haul all of you here – we very much appreciate your being here.


We wanted you to come here not only because the spot is near our home, but because it represents the beauty of this state and this region.  Construction was begun on this site using the WPA and the Conservation Corps in 1935 to make this public amphitheater one that has served this community, this state, and this region for about fifty years, and it is the symbol of what a benevolent government can do and, therefore, I think it is a appropriate for the statement I would like to make.


I intend to be a candidate for the Presidency of the United States in 1988.


And I do so for one single reason -- I love my country. 


America is not an abstraction.  It’s 250 million human beings -- united by common geography, history, and heritage.  America is probably best represented to me by our children Andrea and John, and their generation -- for they are the hope of the future. 


But America is also an ideal and always has been.  This land has represented the equality and justice, and hope and opportunity for generations and millions of people around the world.  We have come close to achieving that ideal when were at our best -- and we’ve been at our best when we’ve been tested or tried -- when we’ve been defending democracy, or struggling out of the depression, or achieving civil rights for our people. 


But sadly, in recent years we’ve fallen far short of the ideal of America.  We’ve let personal greed replace a sense of social justice and equity and the national good.  We’ve let right wing ideology skew this nation’s basic priorities.  We’ve increasingly let narrow single interests finance our campaigns and control our political process.  And we’ve let high standards for public officials and public ethics be eroded. 


Most of all, I think we’ve lost a sense of the national interest, and were in serious danger of letting our future pass us by. 


This election in 1988 is not a question of whether our country should move left or right. It’s an issue of recapturing our basic principals, beliefs, and values. And -- as we did in 1932 and 1960 -- moving this country forward. Changing.


We’ve changed throughout our country’s history. In the 19th century, we opened up this vast frontier, including where we are today, and we entered the Industrial age


In the 20th century we moved onto the world stage and became world leaders and we unlocked the secret of the atom.

I believe in the 21st Century, this nation must lead the knowledge revolution and unleash the dynamo of democracy worldwide.


Mostly what I think we must do is rebuild America using a blueprint of new directions and ideas based upon a foundation of the national interest.


We must create the best education system in the world;


We must renew and revitalize our national economy -- modernize our factories, invent new technologies, and empower our workers;


I believe we must make a solemn and moral pledge to our children that we will turn over to them a natural heritage better and cleaner than it is today;


We must replace this era of debt with the new an era of investment in our people and in our nation;


We must reform our conventional defenses and sharply reduce our reliance on nuclear weapons for our security;


We must not be so preoccupied with the super power confrontation that we neglect as we have been in recent years the genuine human needs of our people here at home -- the poor, the elderly, our children, the sick, disadvantaged, and disabled -- and neglect the aspirations and hopes of nations to the South.


In helping the new world to the born, we must be neither bellicose, nor protectionist, nor isolationist.


We must, most of all, recapture that sense of the national interest and direct this country forward.


I believe our leaders in the future must match the reason with the rhetoric, and policy with passion, and foresight and with hindsight.


For ourselves  we hope to enjoy this unique experience, because I’ve found from my own personal experience that’s the best way I have keeping perspective on myself and often chaotic nature of the national campaign.


As a candidate, I can almost guarantee that I’m going to make some mistakes.


But, sense we are running for the highest and most important office in the land, all of us must try to hold ourselves to the very highest possible standards of integrity and ethics, and soundness of judgment and ideas, of policies, of imagination, and vision for the future. Because if we, as candidates, hold ourselves to those highest standards, then the voters cannot do otherwise then select the strongest candidates from a strong field.


I intend -- as I always have -- to run a campaign of ideas. Ideas such as a strategic investment initiative to revitalize this nation’s economy. Ideas such as enlightened engagement as the basis for a new foreign policy, ideas such as military reform to fundamentally change the way we think about our defense. Ideas have power.  Ideas are what governing is all about.


And governing is what this election is all about. Traditional politics must take second place in 1988. Because we are going to select not only a leader, we are going to select a future. We better know what we are doing.


This is serious business. Perhaps deadly serious. Our lives and our national future could depend on the outcome. We will select not only the person who is best qualified to govern this country, but the future leader of the free world. And we will select a future for this nation.


This election is nothing less than a referendum on America’s future, and I believe the contest will be won by the candidate with the clearest vision and the courage to challenge our nation.


I make this race because I love my country and I want America to do better and to move forward.  And I believe -- with the assistance and support of the American people -- I can help lead America toward its future -- and to achieve its promise, its destiny, and its ideal.


Thank you very much




Source:   Gary Hart for President Press Release

Courtesy: Archives University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries


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