Wesley K. Clark
September 17, 2003 - Little Rock, AR
Americans for Clark—Announcement Day in Little Rock at Boys & Girls Club
Thank you. Thank YOU. I like that. The Wes Wing. I like that. Great signs. Thank
you very much. Thank you so much for being here; my family - Gert, Wes (son),
Astrid (daughter in law), Senator David Pryor, Congressman Marion Berry, the
Boys and Girls Club members on stage here with me, and all of you from Little
Rock, Arkansas and all over America, thank you so much for coming here today and
being with us.
My name is Wes Clark. I am from Little Rock, Arkansas, and I'm here to announce
that I intend to seek the Presidency of the United States of America.
(Crowd starts to repeatedly cheer "We Want Clark")
Well for my family and me, it's been a long journey from Little Rock. From West
Point to Vietnam, 34 years in the United States Army, through war in the
Balkans, back to Little Rock for business. And I'm proud to have made that
journey, proud to have served my country in uniform, and proud to be back home
today in Little Rock.
Now we're talking about a new journey. This is a journey I couldn't begin
without all of you, friends and family, high school classmates, business
colleagues, close personal friends, from all over the state, especially I want
to recognize the hundreds of people who are here because of the Draft Clark
movement. Thank you. (Crowd cheers)
You took an inconceivable idea and made it conceivable (big smile). But many
things are conceivable today because we do live in historic times. For the first
time since Herbert Hoover's presidency, a President's economic policy has cost
us more jobs than our economy has had the energy to create. For the first time
since the 1960's and early 70's more than 100,000 American troops are fighting
abroad and once again at home, Americans are concerned about their civil
For the first time since the Cold War, many Americans no longer feel safe at
their homes and workplaces. These are historic times. And we're going to run a
campaign that's worthy of the historic times in which we live. We're going to
run a campaign that will move this country FORWARD, not back.
And we're going to talk straight to the American people. Because in times of
historic challenges, the American people deserve to hear the truth and hear it
in plain and simple language. And in this campaign, we're going to bring people
together, in the great tradition of the Democratic Party because now we need
leaders, more than ever before, leaders who will put the interests of all our
And when I say we're going to bring people together, I mean all people, not just
Democrats, but Independents, and Republicans, too. And especially those who have
never participated before. You'll come with us.
Now I warn you, we'll ask the tough questions as we move forward and we'll hold
this administration accountable. Why has America lost 2.7million jobs? Why has
America lost the prospect of a $5 trillion surplus and turned it into a $5
trillion deficit that deepens every day? Why has our country lost our sense of
security? And feels the shadow of fear? (Crowd answers "BUSH") Why has
America lost the respect of so many people around the world? (Crowd answers
"BUSH") That's the questions we're going to be asking and more; WHY
are so many here in America hesitant to speak out and ask questions? (Crowd
answers "BUSH"; Clark nods his head) Well we're going to ask those
hard questions my friends and we're going to demand the answers. But we're going
to do so, not in destructive bickering or personal attacks but in the highest
tradition of democratic dialogue. We're going to seek out the facts, search for
the causes, to find the solutions, and in questioning and proposing
alternatives, we're going to reach for the very essence of our democracy.
And in a time of war, we're going to ask those questions and propose those
alternatives in the highest sense of patriotism.
So we are going to hold the administration accountable for its policies and the
results. But let's remember, the results belong to all of us. Each and every one
of us. They're the foundation on which we must build anew. And in this campaign
we'll have a plan to restore the millions of jobs that have been lost and to
restore our economic opportunities again.
We'll work out how to deal with the deficits created by this administration;
deficits that will kill jobs and burden children. We'll find a way to restore
safety and security for America and a sense of security for every American. In
this campaign we're going to travel the country , listen, learn and grow. We're
going to take the talents of ordinary Americans, their diverse talent and bring
together the vision of the way ahead. In the coming weeks I'll deliver a major
speech that will outline my vision for the economy and the vision for our
national security and I hope that these speeches and that my entire campaign
will generate the kind of frank, honest, open public debate this nation
(Crowd cheers "We Want Clark")
Let's recognize who we are. We are Americans and we have extraordinary promise
and live in a time of extraordinary promise. We're the strongest nation in the
world. We don't have to fear. We're the leading economy in the world. We can
create jobs. We're a military without peer, and we're proud of our Armed Forces
and our Veterans.
We've got a heritage of democracy, the rule of law, the respect for the rights
and dignity of each and every individual that makes America the envy of the
world. And I think to put it in business terms, we're diverse, energetic,
practical and innovative. This 21st century is going to be our American century,
just like the 20th century was.
And together, we're going to march forward. Forward with a new vision. Forward
to bring our children and grandchildren into a future, brightened by hope,
courage, and our determination that we can do better. We will do better. And we
will do it together.
So that's our campaign. We're firm in our intent, we're clear in our purposes,
we're mustering the resources, building the nucleus, drawing the support of
people from all across this great land. We're underway and moving forward, we
need your help here in Little Rock. Here in Arkansas and across America. But I
want to reach out especially to those in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and
everywhere across America. Get ready, we're moving out!
Source: Wes Clark for President Web Site