"Change is coming to America"

Wrapping up the Democratic nomination on Super Tuesday, John Kerry gives a gracious nod to John Edwards and Howard Dean, and prepares to battle Bush for the White House.

By Salon Staff
Published March 3, 2004 2:37AM (EST)

Thank you all and thank you to voters from coast to coast who truly did make this a Super Tuesday for our campaign.

And let me thank John Edwards for his generous statement tonight. He brings a compelling voice to our party, great eloquence to the cause of working men and women and great promise for leadership for the years to come. I believe that in 2004, with one united Democratic Party, we can and will win this election and build one America of freedom and fairness for all.

For months, John Edwards has been our competitor. But first of all and always, for Teresa and me, John and Elizabeth are friends and he is a valiant champion of the values for which our party stands.

Let me also congratulate Howard Dean. Today, we are reminded again of the unprecedented contribution he has made to this party and this country by bringing so many into the political process.

Tonight the message could not be clearer all across our country: Change is coming to America. Before us stretch long months of effort and challenge. We have no illusions about the Republican attack machine and what our opponents will try to do.

But I know we are equal to the task. I'm a fighter. For more than 30 years, I've been on the frontlines of the battle for fairness and mainstream American values. And in 2004, we will tell the truth about what s happened in our country, and we will fight to give America back its future and its hope.

There are powerful forces that want America to continue on its present path. And there are also millions of Americans hurt by policies that favor the few, who doubt whether government once again can work for them. Millions more live in fear everyday that they will lose their job, or lose their healthcare or lose their pensions.

My campaign is about replacing doubt with hope, and replacing fear with security.

Together we will build a strong foundation for growth by repealing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy to cut the deficit in half in four years and invest in health care and education. We will repeal every tax break and every loophole that rewards any corporation for gaming the tax code to go overseas and avoid their responsibilities to America. We will provide new incentives for manufacturing that reward good companies for creating and keeping good jobs here at home.

We will fight for worker and environmental protections in the core of every trade agreement and we will raise the minimum wage because no one who works 40 hours a week should have to live in poverty in America. And we will meet one of the historic challenges of our generation with a bold new plan for energy independence that will invest in technologies of the future and create 500,000 new jobs, so young Americans in uniform will never be held hostage to Mideast oil.

We will stand up for the fundamental fairness of health care as a right and not a privilege. For an America where Medicare and Social Security are protected; health care costs are held down; and your family s health is just as important as any politician s in Washington.

We will rejoin the community of nations and renew our alliances because that is essential to final victory in the war on terror. The Bush Administration has run the most arrogant, inept, reckless, and ideological foreign policy in modern history.

This President wants to run on national security. Well, if George Bush wants to make national security the central issue in 2004, I have three simple words for him I know he understands: Bring it on.

This campaign is about the big issues and great challenges that we face as a nation.

But our opponents can't campaign on jobs or health care or fiscal responsibility. Instead, George Bush, who promised to be a uniter, has become the great divider. Just last week, he proposed to amend the Constitution for political purposes. He has no right to misuse the most precious document in our history in an effort to divide this nation and distract us from his failures.

We reject the politics of fear and distortion. And we will keep trust with Lincoln s ideal of America as the last best hope of earth.

When I first led veterans to the Mall here in Washington to stop the Vietnam War, it was a time of doubt and fear in this land. It was a time when millions of Americans could not trust or believe what their leaders were telling them. Now, today, many Americans are once again wondering if they can trust and believe the leadership of our country.

My campaign is about restoring that faith, about speaking plainly and honestly to the American people. About leading America in a new direction, guided by the enduring values that this nation has held to for the last 200 years.

Our campaign is about building a fairer, safer, more prosperous America the nation that is again the great light to all the world.

In closing, let me express my heartfelt thanks to those who have stayed the course even in the hardest hours of our effort: To my amazing wife Teresa and our children and all my family; To my colleague Ted Kennedy, to Max Cleland and so many others in public life who have given so much in these long months and weeks; To the best campaign staff in America and the greatest volunteers, many of whom have now joined us from other campaigns; To the people of Iowa and New Hampshire who gave me a hearing when no one thought we had a chance and sent us on our way; And to those who have been there fighting at my side all along the way from the firefighters of America, to the fellow veterans who are my band of brothers, to the ranks of labor and the millions of citizens who have now rallied to our cause.

So the message rings out tonight across this land: Get ready a new day is on the way.

Good night. God Bless you. And may God Bless the America that we love.

Salon Staff

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