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BOSTON, MA • JULY 28, 2004

As chairman of this convention, as a proud New Mexico Democrat, I thank you for the great honor you have given me as the first Hispanic chair of a party convention.

Yes, [speaks in Spanish]

From my experience as a congressman, as a U.N. ambassador and a cabinet secretary, I have come to one unshakable conclusion about our nation's foreign policy and national security: Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, at the end of the day our nation is strongest and better served when our president is respected and admired in the world.

Franklin Roosevelt's courage and perseverance turned the tide against fascism. John Kennedy's energy and vision lifted America to new heights as a beacon for all that was good and possible in the world. And Bill Clinton, his hope and certainty led our nation and the world to an era of unprecedented peace and prosperity. Their leadership kept America strong and respected in the world in the eyes of friend and foe alike. Their leadership made our nation a force for moving the human condition forward, for peace, for optimism, for opportunity.

It's time for that kind of leadership again. It's time for a president who believes deeply that from those who much is given, much is expected. It is time for John Kerry.

As a young man, John Kerry enlisted in the Navy and volunteered for the front lines. And ever since then, he has served his nation, standing up for America's security, defending our values and never faltering in his resolve to keep America safe, secure and strong. It's time for John Kerry.

My fellow Americans, I don't need to tell you that the world is a dangerous place. We are reminded of that every day of our lives. We've seen it on the streets and in the subways and airports outside this convention. Al Qaeda is the heir to enemies who have defeated us before, today's equivalent of Nazi's and Fascists who hate the values at the core of the American way of life. Democracy and pluralism; diversity and tolerance; innovation and achievement; strength and freedom. And the fate of Al Qaeda will be the same as those other tyrants and thugs. We will defeat them. And we need a president to lead that fight. It's time for John Kerry.

Right now America's strength as measured in tanks, aircrafts, ships and missiles has never been greater. But our strength as measured by our standing in the world is at an all-time low. Today because of the administration's go-it-alone foreign policy, we are, not surprisingly, on our own in a dangerous world. We pursue the enemies of civilization with few partners. We are not as safe and secure as we deserve to be. We don't have the leadership that America needs. It's time for John Kerry.

Just four years ago, I was able to go anywhere in the world, meet with allies, former adversaries and even our sworn enemies, and get them to do things that they often did not want to do, but that clearly advanced the security of the United States and the stability of the world. I was able to negotiate the release of hostages and American servicemen from dictators and thugs. I was able to unite the United Nations Security Council around American interests. I was able to solidify sometimes shaky ties with our allies in Latin America, Asia and Africa. I was able to do all that because American strength was understood, American integrity was clear, American leadership was just and American leadership was respected.

After four years, a lot of that good will has disappeared. This administration has failed to understand what commanders in chief of both parties have understood for years: Power breeds indifference and power without respect breeds contempt.

Because this White House decided to go it alone, we are shouldering the burden of Iraq alone. We are paying the bills for the war, nearly $200 billion so far, alone. Our troops are being stretched thin. Our deficit is ballooning. And we are distracted from the important work of chasing Al Qaeda and destroying it once and for all.

My friends, we need a president who understands that America must be strong and respected in the world. We need a president who will unite the world in the war against terrorism. It is time for John Kerry.

He will keep our military strong, but, unlike our current president, John Kerry will also lead strong alliances to fight terrorism and keep America safe. Strong, respected - that was the America I represented around the world. That is the America that John Kerry will build.

My fellow Americans, it is time for a sensible and reliable America that respects its friends and alliances, for a fair and upright America that goes to war only when we need to, not because we want to, where a noble and thoughtful America where the president respects responsibility and demands accountability when things don't go according to plan, for an America where the president understands the price of war and the price of not planning for peace.

My friends, it's time for new leadership in America. It's time for a new president. Now, more than ever, it is the time for John Kerry.


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