Joe Lieberman Announces Candidacy for Presidency of the
January 13, 2003
Stamford High School, Stamford, Connecticut
(AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY)
I wanted to come back home to Stamford today to make this announcement, because it is here that I came to appreciate the miracle of America.
It was here that my parents Henry and Marcia – themselves children of immigrants -- worked their way into the American middle class and gave my sisters and me the opportunities they never had. And it was here that I first understood the power of the promise America makes to all its people – that no matter who you are or where you start, if you work hard and play by the rules, you can go as far as your God-given talents will take you.
When I was growing up and going to school right here, we called that promise the American Dream. It defined our freedom, our opportunity, our strength. It set us apart in the world, but brought us together as a people, around our shared faith in an ever-brighter future.
Today the American Dream is in danger, threatened by terrorists and tyrants from abroad and a weak economy that makes it harder to live a better life here at home. For too many Americans the middle class is drifting out of reach. In fact, over the past two years, 2.8 million people have lost their jobs. And instead of joining the middle class, 1.3 million people have fallen into poverty.
I am confident that we as nation have what it takes to meet these challenges and renew the American Dream. We can make it as real for you students who are here today as it was for me and my generation. But that will only happen if our leaders are ready to lead, willing to fight for what’s right for the American people, and able to rise above partisan politics to put our country first.
We must rise above partisan politics and put our country first to fix our economy and restore economic growth, because a strong middle class means a strong America.
We must rise above partisan
politics to unite to defeat the threat of terrorism and make America safe again.
We must never shrink from using American power to defend our ideals against evil
in a time of war -- and we must never forget to use the power of our ideals as a
force for good in the quest for peace.
We must rise above partisan politics if we are to heal the racial divide, not reopen old wounds, and give a new generation of immigrants their fair chance to live the American Dream.
We must rise above partisan politics and restore independence to the White House, not compromise our economic, environmental, or health security for political contributors or extreme ideologies.
We must rise above partisan politics and stand up for our values here at home, because family, responsibility and faith matter more than power, partisanship, and privilege.
Two years ago we were promised a better America. But that promise has not been kept.
Today I am ready to rise above partisan politics to fight for what’s right for the American people. I am ready to protect their security, revive their economy, and uphold their values. I am ready to announce today I am running for President in 2004. And I intend to win.
This morning I will be filing the necessary papers to form a campaign committee, and I will then begin working to earn the support of the American people.
In the coming months, I want to convince them that I have the strength, the vision, and the values to lead our nation to higher and safer ground.
I want to talk with them about the tough fights I have waged before.
As a young man, I marched in Washington with Dr. King and I went to Mississippi to fight for the right of African-Americans to vote.
As my state’s Attorney General, I stood with single moms to go after deadbeat dads -- and fought against oil companies that were trying to gouge consumers and corporate polluters who were spoiling our water and our air.
As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I have consistently supported a strong defense, our men and women in uniform, and the use of our mighty American military to protect our security and advance our values -- in the Gulf War, Bosnia, Kosovo, and now again in Iraq.
As a father and now a grandfather, I have taken on the entertainment industry for peddling sex and violence to our children -- and spoken up for parents who feel they are in competition with the popular culture to raise their children and give them the right values.
And as the Democratic nominee for Vice President in 2000, I was proud to join with Al Gore in a great fight for America’s families and their future. And I am also proud to say that Al and I got a half million more votes than our opponents, and we actually got more votes than any Democratic ticket in history.
In this campaign, I will talk about the tough fights ahead. Strengthening homeland security while protecting Social Security. Making affordable health care available to every American. Fixing our failing schools. Restoring fiscal responsibility and expanding opportunity, with sensible tax cuts and sound investments that will bring back the prosperity of the Clinton-Gore era.
I intend to talk straight to the American people, and to show them that I am a different kind of Democrat. I will not hesitate to tell my friends when they are wrong -- and to agree with my opponents when they are right.
I know this will be a long journey across America for my family and me, and we look forward to it. Some mornings when I wake up, I may not know exactly where I am. But I promise you – I will always know exactly who I am and what I stand for.
Every day along the way I will feel blessed by God to live in a land where our dreams can become real. And everyday I will remember what President Kennedy said, that here on earth, God's work must truly be our own.
My friends, we have great work to do to secure the hope of a better tomorrow for our beloved country. Let us begin here. Let us begin now. And let us begin together.
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Source: Joe Lieberman for President Web Site