FROM THE 2004 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION
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
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
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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