Senator Orrin G. Hatch
Presidential Campaign Concession Statement
Washington, D.C. - January 26, 2000
Last July, I announced that I was a candidate for President of the United States. I entered the race because I believe our nation is at a miracle moment. We are prosperous and at peace.
The seeds for these fortuitous days were sown under Ronald Reagan. They were nurtured under a responsible, Republican Congress that gave us an unprecedented budget surplus. They have now blossomed, giving us a unique moment in our history.
Today, because of these accomplishments, we have the opportunity to finally stop just talking about the serious problems challenging our nation -- problems with health care and education, with taxes, with the national defense and crime, with the dangers of terrorism and the failures of counter-intelligence -we can stop just talking. We can now start solving these problems.
To seize this moment, the next President must bring to the White House integrity beyond reproach and the principles, ideals, and values that we so cherish in my home state of Utah.
To seize this moment, the next President must bring to the Presidency a common sense, conservative agenda -- an agenda that can be accomplished and not abandoned after the election.
To seize this moment, the next President must have a proven record of success, of bringing people with diverse beliefs and attitudes together to get things done. The next President must be a person who has been tested by the rigors and realities of public service and who knows what it means to stand on principle and not be swayed by the clamor of Washington.
To seize this moment, the next President must understand the judicial selection process. The next President may well appoint half of all federal judges and up to five members of the Supreme Court, thereby determining whether our federal judiciary is governed by the rule of law or becomes a non-elected legislature, immune from recall or censure by the public. This will be the most important issue of this election.
And, to seize this moment, the next President must understand that we will not realize the promise of our future unless we have the courage to repudiate the dangerous political legacy of our immediate past - the destructive, cynical philosophy of the Clinton-Gore administration that you can do no wrong if you can talk your way out of it.
This is why I entered the race.
I also believe the American people want honesty in and about their President. I believe they are tired of campaigns dominated by vague promises and slogans. They want to hear how we intend to accomplish what we are promising to do.
I believe Americans want candidates who speak their own ideas, who avoid trafficking in slogans, sound bites, and the endless repetition of canned statements. They want to have a chance to vote for a person because of what he believes. They are tired of the permanent campaign.
And, I believe that Americans want a candidate who will address the unspoken sense of unease that is abroad in our land, a questioning, after the Clinton Administration, whether those in politics still have the same regard for truth and for the trust that unites us, for the simple, hardy virtues that brought us to where we are today. America's economic success is not the real measure of its greatness. It is, instead, the principles, values and aspirations that we share.
These are the reasons that I decided to run. These are the issues that I have tried to raise over the course of this campaign. I have campaigned hard and, the results were immediate. Within a month of my announcement, I moved to Number 9. A few weeks later, I was number 8. Then, I inched up to Number 7, and then, within a month I was number 6. Some nitpickers may say that it was because Lamar, Dan, Liddy, and Pat dropped out. But I liked the trend.
Unfortunately, the other candidates are not doing their part to keep this trend going.
The remaining Republican candidates are all good people, and each would be a dramatic improvement over the current occupant of the White House, as well as those running in the other party. They should be commended for their courage, their conviction, and their self-sacrifice. And, I hope they will continue to campaign with the objective of not diminishing one another but closing the book on the Clinton-Gore Presidency.
It is now clear that there will not be time to build sufficient support for my candidacy. Therefore, I am announcing today that I will no longer seek the Republican nomination for President of the United States.
I leave the race with no regrets for having tried. I knew that by getting in late, by raising money from small donors, by refusing public funds - that I was defying conventional wisdom and the odds were extremely long. I knew I would be criticized. I knew it would be far more comfortable not to run. But, the goal of public life is service. In a democracy, each of us has an obligation to step forward if we believe we can make a difference for the better. This is an obligation I take seriously.
Our campaign has made a difference. We have forced the debate to address issues and concerns that would not otherwise be discussed. I have also run my campaign, as I would govern - in a frugal, open, and candid way. And, I believe that we have succeeded in injecting more substantial issues into the national dialogue. But, like an army, a campaign travels on its stomach. It has to be fed. I could have kept going by taking a million dollars in federal matching funds, relying on taxpayer subsidies but I didn't think that would be the right thing to do.
Some say that in politics, if you want a friend, get a dog. Well, they are wrong. I can never thank enough the thousands and thousands of friends and supporters I have in Utah and around this nation who had the courage to stand with me, who have helped me in so many countless ways. They come from every walk of life, from every conceivable background, from every political perspective. Yet we have one thing in common. We share a belief in the promise of this nation and a fervent conviction that its best days lie ahead. To these wonderful people, who know who they are, let me simply say this. Bless you. I pray our friendship has brought you as much joy and pride as it has brought me.
And finally, let me thank my family, my six children, my nineteen grandchildren - but above all, let me thank the one person who has made this possible, who has sacrificed so much, endured more than should ever be expected, and yet has expected so little in return. Thank you, Elaine.
Let me end by making one point clear. I will do all that I can over the remainder of this campaign to make sure that the Republican nominee speaks to the issues I have raised, that he articulates not just a vision but also a plan of action. I promise to do everything within my power to make sure that the next President embodies our faith that the key to America's future lies in its adherence to the common sense, conservative principles that are the foundation of our greatness -- and that the next President believes, with all his heart, that our real promise has yet to be seen.
Thank you and God bless.
Source: Orrin Hatch for President Official 2000 Web Site