22 September 2003
Howard University - Washington, D.C.
Benedict College - Columbia, SC
University of Illinois - Chicago, IL
As prepared for delivery
I would like to thank Howard University for
opening these historic halls to us today, and for affording us the opportunity
to take this step on such solid ground in the tradition of excellence that
I would like to thank each and everyone of you for taking time to share this
moment. I am encouraged and inspired by you, and confident in the knowledge
that our democracy is safe so long as young people know that it is not a
I would like to thank the National Organization for Women and the National
Women's Political Caucus for their endorsements. Their clarity and advocacy
for women gives me the hope and the support I must have to engage in this
I would like to thank all of the friends, supporters, and strangers, too, who
have led me along my path towards this day. Over the past several months I
have traveled America, talking with people, listening to them, registering
voters and engaging in a passionate debate about our country's direction. I am
grateful to all those who opened their homes and their hearts, to those who
shared their experiences with me, and who made it possible for me to explore
the prospect of a Presidential campaign. Thank you for your encouragement.
Today, I am officially declaring my candidacy for the Democratic nomination
for President of the United States.
I am running for the Democratic nomination because I believe this party ought
to stand for inclusion, hope, and new ways to resolve old problems.
I am fighting for the nomination because I am determined to move our party in
the direction of our nation's most noble ideals, and live up to our
generation's duty to leave the next generation no less freedom, no less
opportunity, no less optimism than we inherited from our ancestors.
I am dedicated to building partnerships for peace, prosperity and progress
based on new ideas that are as practical as they are innovative. These
partnerships will help us shape an American renaissance and renewal in the
best traditions of our country.
I have the experience, the ability and the ideas to heal and renew America. In
all of my public service, I have broken down barriers, built bridges and
brought people together to achieve solutions that put the public interest
As a young federal prosecutor, I won a Justice Department award for my work to
put an end to exploitation in housing policy.
As a state representative, I fought for education, and passed laws to create
the first local school councils and agriculture schools in Illinois. My
colleagues voted me the "Conscience of the House" for my advocacy
for the poor.
As a county executive, I convened the first advisory council, and worked with
organized labor to improve conditions for the employees and the public. When I
left that office, it had become a profit center for Cook County, the workers
were better off, and the public was better served.
As a United States Senator, and as the first woman to serve on the Finance
Committee, I passed laws for women's pension equity, and for environmental
remediation and alternative energy, for school modernization and restoration
of the interest deduction for college loans.
As Ambassador, I was credited with improving relations on behalf of the United
States, and was the first envoy to be made an honorary member of the Te Atiawa
Breaking barriers; building bridges; bringing people together: I have been
blessed to be an agent for change and progress, but I cannot take full
personal credit for these accomplishments. I have always depended on the help
and support of people of good will who had the vision to imagine the
possibilities borne of giving me a chance to contribute.
I tell the people what I believe in, I keep my promises and I hold myself
accountable for my service. My entire public life has been characterized by
problem solving with new ideas that are as practical as they are innovative. I
want to bring my skills and my experience to bear on healing our country, and
creating a renaissance for America.
Through partnerships for peace and prosperity and progress we will renew the
American dream of freedom and opportunity.
We can make our economy work for everyone, not just the already wealthy, and
assure families that they will be able to provide decent housing, health care,
education, retirement and safety to those they love the most.
We will turn away from the bluster and bravado that has so soured our
friendships and alliances around the world, and build our global
We will respect individuals in their private lives, in their professional
endeavors and in their civic engagements.
And we will tap all of the talent that is available to us, without limitation
of any aspect of personality that serves to divide instead of glorify the
America will be stronger when we engage the full range of talent that is at
our disposal, and when we live up to our most fundamental national virtues.
We can, and must renew the American spirit. What makes this country great is
not the size of its military or its budget or its wealth, but the spirit of
her people. That spirit has been battered since 9/11; not only by the
criminals who killed so many, but by leaders who have pandered to fear in its
aftermath. We must not allow the nightmare of our limitations continue; but
instead dream a world of the best of who we are.
When we come together to create partnerships for peace and prosperity and
progress we will heal the American spirit.Ê
Partnerships for peace will bring a real end to this Iraqi war, and bring our
troops home with honor. Americans don't cut and run, and so we have to see
this misadventure through to a noble conclusion. The sacrifice of those who
lost their lives in the sands of Iraq will not be forgotten, but neither will
the folly of preemptive war. Partnerships for peace will build on the good
will that we had after 9/11, and engage our allies to help us leave Iraq
better than we found it.
Partnerships for peace will give our international institutions new support
for global collaborations to fight crime and terrorism, poverty and disease.
Our foreign policy will follow our values, and serve the interests of the
Trade can create opportunity to share our values, not lose our jobs. We can
engage our private sector in ways that will bolster their bottom line, stem
job hemorrhage at home and help stop the exploitation of workers and the
environment around the world. I want to forge partnerships for prosperity that
will explore new policies to stop our nations' slide toward embedded wealth,
entrenched poverty, and a shrinking middle class.
When we pursue balance in our economic order, we will embrace fiscal, monetary
and trade policies that put working people first. Economic policy is so
interconnected with our nation's social fabric that government has a special
duty to protect the people from the forces of private interest and greed.
I believe in fiscal responsibility and fighting for social justice.
Partnerships for prosperity give us opportunity to do good and do well
simultaneously. We will fight the greedy - whose excesses and crimes have
threatened our capital markets and undermined confidence in our economy. We
will help the needy - whether in childhood or retirement, in sickness or
Achieving a balanced budget again will help restore confidence in our
policymakers' ability to protect our nation's economic health. This
administration has no right to make irresponsible spending decisions that
simply shift the payment burden onto those least able to pay, or to state and
local governments, or, worse still, to our children and grandchildren.
Without spending a dime more than we already pay, we can provide health
security that emphasizes wellness, restores the provider/patient relationship
and maintains the quality of care Americans have every right to expect.
Embracing a single payer system of health insurance that does not depend on
employment will not only provide universal coverage, but boost our
international competitiveness, stimulate our economy at home, and let workers
keep more of their pay.
Education reform that relieves the burden on local property taxpayers, while
empowering parents and teachers to pursue excellence and innovation is an
opportunity for a partnership for prosperity that we cannot afford to ignore
if we are to keep our country strong. The cornerstone of the American dream of
opportunity is education-it is the way our workforce is prepared to engage the
rest of the world. Education is not just a private benefit, but a public good
as well, and our national interest is bound up in providing quality public
education for every child.
We can engage in partnerships for prosperity to build infrastructure, as well.
Especially in the wake of the recent events, storms and blackouts and other
calamities, we all know that our foundations - for energy, for water, for
transportation - are in need of restoration. By bringing together national,
state and local governments with the private sector, including colleges and
universities and non-governmental organizations, we can spark a building boom
that will unleash innovation and technology transfers and create new
industries and new wealth. Private industry will give us the benefit of the
best America has to offer, and when we make government a partner in our
country's renovation, we will create jobs and opportunity and hope for all
As President, I will give you an America as good as its promise. I will reach
out to bring us together to create an American renaissance, revival and
renewal. I am uniquely qualified to do the job of President, and I offer the
clearest alternative to this current administration, whose only new idea has
been preemptive war and a huge new bureaucracy. I can fix the mess they have
created, because I am practical, I am not afraid of partnerships and I am
committed to making the world better for our children. By tapping the talent,
the ideas, and the capacity that our whole society has to offer, we will
expand the probability of succeeding together.
America is at a tipping point; if we stay the course we are on, we won't
recognize this country 5 years from now. But if we shift gears, try another
way, tap some of the talent that has been relegated to the sidelines of
leadership, we can heal and renew and save our country.
Just last week, my little 9-year-old niece Claire called me into her room to
show me her social studies book. Turning to the pages on which all of our
Presidents were pictured, she looked at me and complained: But Auntie Carol,
all the Presidents are boys!
I want Claire, and your daughters and sons to know that in America, everyone
has a chance to serve and contribute. I believe that America is ready to take
the next great step in the direction of her most noble ideals of service and
merit and equality.
This campaign is our way of fighting to give Claire and every American girl or
boy not only the opportunity to become President of this great country, but
the freedom to decide to lead a quality private life if they choose to do so.
There is no human power greater than a made up mind, and we have decided not
to let them take away our liberty, our opportunity, our hope for a better
The time has come to meet the challenge of our founding fathers' vision, and I
am prepared to fight for you and with you to revive the American dream of
freedom and opportunity. Together we will break down barriers. Together we
will rebuild and restore our country. And together we will give ourselves the
greatest gift of all: an America we can be proud of.
Thank you for your patriotism. Thank you for your energy. Thank you for your
faith in the goodness of this country. We will lift up the hearts of the
American people. We will inspire hope. We will renew the American Spirit. And
we will win. Together, failure is impossible.
Source: Carol Moseley Braun for President