Speeches from the 2012 Democratic National Convention
Remarks to the 2012 Democratic National Convention
Charlotte, North Carolina
September 4, 2012
Our platform, crafted by Democrats, is not about partisanship but pragmatism; not about left or right, but about moving America and our economy forward. Our platform—and our president—stand firm in the conviction that America must continue to out-build, out-innovate and out-educate the world.
This platform is a clear choice between economic pathways: forward or back, inclusion or exclusion, grow together as a nation or be a country of savage disparities that favor the fortunate few over the greatest driving force of any economy—a large and robust middle class.
We choose forward. We choose inclusion. We choose growing together. We choose American economic might and muscle, standing strong on the bedrock of the American ideal: a strong, empowered and ever-growing middle class. Our platform emphasizes that a vibrant, free and fair market is essential to economic growth.
We also must pull from our highest ideals of justice and protect against those ills that destabilized our economy—like predatory lending, over-leveraged financial institutions and the unchecked avarice of the past that trumped fairness and common sense. Our platform calls for significant cuts in federal spending. Our platform calls for a balanced deficit reduction plan where the wealthy pay their fair share.
And when your country is in a costly war, with our soldiers sacrificing abroad and our nation facing a debt crisis at home, being asked to pay your fair share isn't class warfare—it's patriotism. But we all know—it's common sense—that for an economy built to last we must invest in what will fuel us for generations to come. This is our history—from the Transcontinental Railroad to the Hoover Dam, to the dredging of our ports and building of our most historic bridges—our American ancestors prioritized growth and investment in our nation's infrastructure.
And today our businesses, industries, entrepreneurs and economy realize a return on those investments. Let us not fall prey to rhetoric that seeks to gut investment and starve our nation of critical, common-sense building for our future. And investment must include the real engine of job growth in America: the American small business.
That is why I'm proud that our president has made a profound difference for people and businesses in Newark, New Jersey and our nation by cutting taxes for 100 percent of working families and giving small businesses 18 different tax cuts.
For President Obama, "home of the brave" are not just the last words of our national anthem, but also a call to action. This is why the president's policies and our platform include incentives to train and hire our troops returning home. Not only because of our moral responsibility, but because it makes for a stronger, more secure American economy.
But investing in people doesn't stop with our troops. Our platform and our president make it clear that the most critical investment we can make in a 21st-century, knowledge-based economy is education. Our president has already doubled Pell grants, raised education standards, invested in research and development at our universities and early childhood education in our neighborhoods. Our platform and our president state it clearly: our nation cannot continue to be the world's number one economy if we aren't committed to being the world's number one educator.
Our platform and our president are not interested in petty political arguments. Instead, this platform of big and practical ideas sets forth an emboldened pathway toward the historic hope which has driven generations of Americans forward—it is our most fundamental national aspiration—that no matter who you are, no matter what your color, creed, how you choose to pray or who you choose to love, that if you are an American—first generation or fifth—one who is willing to work hard, play by the rules and apply your God-given talents—that you should be able to find a job that pays the bills.
You should be able to afford health care for your family. You should be able to retire with dignity and respect.
And you should be able to give your children the kind of education that allows them to dream even bigger, go even farther and accomplish even more than you could ever imagine.
This is our platform. This is our American mission. These are the dreams of our fathers and mothers. This is the demand from the next generation, who call to our conscience in a chorus of conviction, in classrooms from north to south, from sea to shining sea, when they proudly proclaim with those sacred words from our most profound pledge, that we are a nation with liberty and justice for all.
And this November, with the re-election of President Barack Obama, this generation of Americans will ever expand upon the hope, the truth and the promise of America.
Mr. Chairman, I am very pleased to move for the adoption of the 2012 Democratic National Platform.
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