The entourage of staff, supporters, and media who accompanied former Vermont governor Howard Dean on his cross-country presidential-campaign tour last week got used to hearing variations on the Democratic frontrunners patented stump speech. In sequence and emphasis and delivery, it varied somewhat from place to place, but the essentials were the same in all venues. Here was The Speech as delivered by Dean to an overflow downtown crowd of 10,000 in the streets of Seattle last Sunday.
You are unbelievable. Can you hear me all the way back there, by that building over there? All right. All the way down that street over there? Well, I was just in Portland, they just set the record beating Philadelphia, and you just set the record beating Portland.This is unbelievable. Ive got some thank-yous to say first.
First, I want to thank Paul Berendt, whos the chairman of the Washington State Democratic Party. Hes been incredibly helpful to us. Where is he? Professor Hubert Locke, didnt he do a great job welcoming everybody? Councilman Dwight Pelz, whos been with us for a long time, we thank Dwight very, very much. One of the great governors in the history of Washington and the United States of America, former Governor Booth Gardner. Karen Marchioro, whos been a great Washington democratic activist for a long time. I also want to thank Sudden Storms, and I want to thank the Seattle Community Singers for being so helpful. And I want to thank, behind me, all the Meetup volunteers and the hosts and the people who worked so hard to put together the biggest rally that Dean for America has ever seen.
You know, were going to have a little fun at the presidents expense here. BuT its not just going to be about making fun at the presidents expenseÑyou also have to say what youre going to do, you cant just say whats the matter with the other guy, although we will spend a little time on that. If youre the president of the United States, youve got to get two things right. Now, were going to spend some time talking about health insurance and the environment, renewable energy and educationÑthese things are important. But if you cant get the economy right and foreign policy right, then you need a one-way ticket back to Crawford, Texas. You know, in Seattle, I think theres something like 30,000 members of the International Association of Machinists that lost their jobs alone here. Weve lost thousands and thousands of jobs since this president took office. Weve run up the largest deficit in the history of the United States of America, the largest national debt in the history of the United States of America, shipped thousands of jobs to other countries. The president had enough money to give $3 trillion of our money, if you include the interest, away to his friends like Ken Lay. Who do you think is paying for that money?
Thats right, your taxes went up because he wouldnt fund No Child Left Behind. Your taxes went up because he wouldnt give you the homeland security money, so you had the choice between raising taxes or laying off firefighters or police officers. Taxes went up because he decided it was better to give $3 trillion to Ken Lay and the boys instead of funding special education, making the schools better, and taxes lower. Your college tuition went up, because the president of the United States thought cutting Pell Grants was more important than financing students.
[Voice in crowd: Give em hell, Howard!]
Harry Truman used to say, [when] people used to say, Give em hell, Harry, hed say, I dont give them hell, I just tell the truth and Republicans think its hell. We need a balanced budget in this country so were going to have jobs in America again to invest in America. No Republican president has balanced the budget in 34 years in this country. If you want to trust the federal government with your hard-earned money, you had better vote for a Democrat, because the Republicans cant handle money. You know, the presidents given a lot of our tax dollars away to big corporations, but I think we better change our policy, because those corporations take our jobs elsewhere. What we need in this country is an investment policy for small businesses. Small businesses dont pay as well as big businesses, their fringe benefits arent as good, but they stay in their own community.
We need jobs in America. We need to invest in America. Three trillion dollars. Can you imagine, if we could have taken some of that money, to rebuild our roads and our bridges, and our schools, and broadband telecommunications in the most rural parts of America so they can have information jobs as well, and invest in renewable energy and rebuilding the grid, so we can put people to work, and save the environment, and save our national security? We can do better than this.
We need jobs, Mr. President, not empty promises and $3 trillion of our tax money going to your friends who are writing you those $2,000 checks to finance your campaign. We can do better than that.Now lets talk a little bit about foreign policy. I think most of you know that Im the only one of the people whos leading in the pollsÑcandidates leading the pollsÑwho did not support the presidents invasion of Iraq. Now, you know some of my friends that voted for the warÑSenator Lieberman, Senator Kerry, Senator Edwards, Representative Gephardt, President BushÑthey all said, Oh, you cant get elected unless you voted for the war.
Well let me tell you something. I supported the first Gulf War because our ally was attacked, I thought we had a responsibility to respond. I supported the Afghanistan war because 3,000 of our people were murdered and that was an act of self-defense. But this time, the president told us that Iraq was buying uranium from Africa. That turned out not to be true. This time, the president told us that they were about to make a deal with al Qaeda. That turned out not to be true. This time, the vice president told us the Iraqis were about to get nuclear weapons. That turned out not to be true. And the secretary of defense told us he knew exactly where those weapons of mass destruction were, right around Tikrit and Baghdad, and that turned out not to be true. As the commander in chief of the United States military, I will never hesitate to send our troops to any country in the world to defend the United States of America. But as the commander in chief of the United States military, I will never send our sons and our daughters and our brothers and sisters to a foreign country to die, without telling the truth about why theyre going there.
You know, this president talks mighty big about defense. Hes an awful tough fella defending the United States of America. But he didnt mind cutting 164,000 veterans out of their health-care benefits last January. Hes a pretty tough fella, hes got all those folks over in Iraq that are working their butts off and afraid whats going to happen because al Qaedas in Iraq now, but he didnt mind cutting their pay last Friday, Friday night, when the press wasnt going to recognize the announcement and pay much attention to it, proposing cutting the pay of the people he sent to defend America in Iraq. We can do better than that. We ought to treat our veterans with respect in this country, and hes not doing it.President talks mighty big about defense, but he found three trillion of our tax dollars to give away to Ken Lay and the boys. But he couldnt find enough money to give the city of Seattle and the state of Washington the homeland-security money he promised them.
He managed to find $3 trillion of our tax money to give to Ken Lay and all those guys writing the $2,000 checks, but he couldnt find the money to buy the enriched uranium stocks in the former Soviet Union, which were entitled to buy under the Cooperative Threat Reduction Agreement, and if that stuff gets in terrorists hands, then we really do have a security problem in America.
He could find money for all of those tax cuts for the people writing him those $2,000 checks, but he couldnt find enough money to inspect 90 percent of the cargo containers that come into this country every single day.
Something else I think the president doesnt understand about defense. A little over a decade ago, the Berlin Wall came down, the Soviet Union votedÑAmerica didnt fire a shot. There was a reason for thatÑthere were two reasons that happened. The first was we had a strong military. The other was, most of the people on the other side of the Iron Curtain wanted to be like America, and they wanted to be like Americans. We had strong ideals that the world believed in and respected. And in only two and a half yearsÑthis presidents reign in WashingtonÑyou would be hard-pressed to find a majority in any country in the world that wanted to be like us anymore. And a promise Im going to make to you is, if you make me the president of the United States, I will restore the honor and dignity and the respect for this country that we deserve in the world, by having high moral purposeÉ.
The president says hes awful tough on defense, but theyve got a saying for that in Texas: The presidents all hat and no cattle when it comes to defense.
You know, in my state, in my state everybody under 18 has health insurance. Ninety-nine percent are eligible, 96 percent have it. In my state, in my state everybody under 150 percent of poverty, thats all of our working low-income people, have health insurance. In my state, all of our seniors under 225 percent of poverty have prescription benefits. Seems to me if we can do that in a small rural state, 26th in income in the country, balance our budgets every year, surely the most wealthy and powerful society on the face of the earth can join the British and the Japanese and the Germans and the French, the Israelis, the Canadians, the Italians, the Irish, the Norwegians, the Swedes, even Costa Ricans have health insurance.
Harry Truman put health insurance in the 1948 Democratic Party platform. Fifty-five years later, its time we stood up for our promises. I dont want to be a second-class citizen in the industrialized world anymore, Mr. President. I dont like America being number two. We ought to join all of the industrialized countries of the world, and have health insurance for every man, woman, and child in America.
This country, we have nearly two million people in prison. Now prisons are a necessary part of American lifeÑyou cant have violent people walking around the street. But prisons are the most expensive and the least effective social-service intervention that we do in this country. And, furthermore, any competent, qualified kindergarten teacher can tell you who the five kids are in his or her class that are most likely to end up in prison 15 or 20 years from now. And it seems to me, one of the questions weve gotten in this campaign, is that we have some idea whos going to prison, the most expensive and the least effective social-service intervention that we make in this countryÑif we have some idea whos going to use that service 15, 20 years from now, why is it that were not investing in small children, their families, now, to stop that from happening? In [my] state, we do. We visit every mom in the hospital, whether shes the wealthiest or the poorest woman in the state, and we ask if shed like a home visit. Ninety-one percent say yes, so we visit 91 percent of all our newborn children within two to four weeks of their birth. Now, most of the people dont need any helpÑtheir families are fine, theyre happy to see a friendly face from the community. But the ones that do need help get childcare, health care, parenting skills and parenting classes, job training, programs to keep the dads visiting the kids if its a single mom. In 10 years, our child-abuse rate is down 43 percent. Child sexual abuse is down 70 percent.
And those kids have a much better chance of going to college than they do of going to prison, and we need to make that change in America. We have got to stop thinking in two- and four- and six-year increments in this country, and start thinking in 20-year increments, if we want to do something for children. And weve got to start thinking in 100-year increments if we want to preserve the environment of this country and of this world. We need a president who doesnt think a renewable energy program consists of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
I can see Karl Rove rubbing his hands together and cackling, this liberal Birkenstock governor from Vermont whos going to run against us. Anybody here have Birkenstocks on?
The Danes, the Danes get 20 percent of all their electricity from the wind. It used to be that California had 80 percent of the wind turbines in the world. Today, Europe has 75 percent of the wind turbines of the world. Mr. President, I dont like being second-class in America. We have fallen behind the Europeans. We are supposed to be the most technologically advanced nation on the face of the earth. Mr. President, how is it that you let the Europeans get ahead of us in renewable energy? You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. You dont believe in global warming, but its real.
This presidents so tough on defense, Ill tell you about renewable energyÑits an environmental issue, and its probably the most important one we face, among a lot of important ones. Although, lets talk about the environmentÑcan you imagine the clear skies which [unintelligible] allows you to put more pollution in the air? I understand the president was up here talking about the Healthy Forests Initiative, which allows cutting old-growth trees.
Thanks, Mr. President, for the healthy forest, thanks for helping these children you didnt leave behind either, Mr. President, we appreciate that too. Renewable energys a matter of creating jobs in this country, as we rebuild our grid. Its a matter of saving this country, this environment, from global warming and all the things that go with it. And its a matter of national security, because right now our oil moneys going to the Middle East to fund terrorism, and teaching its small children to hate America, Mr. President. Until youre willing to stand up to the Saudis, dont tell me youre tough on defense!
Now, I need your help. Boy are there ever a lot of you to help. I have to say, this crowd is so enormous that Im really awestruck. This is a really good crowd. Im not supposed to use numbers from the podium, because nobody trusts politicians to estimate their own crowds, but this crowds about 2,000 people bigger than I was told [to expect], and thats a much bigger crowd than Ive ever seen before. The numbers in double digits with three zeros coming after it. This is an unbelievable crowd. And Ill tell you what. I need your help. I need you to go to deanforamerica.com. Weve got a little bat up [on our website] this weekend [to track our fundraising]. The president came to Oregon and raised a million dollars, he came to the Northwest and raised an awful lot of money up here. You know what were going to do? Were going to raise a million dollars this weekend over the Internet without flying around with all of those $2,000 checks. The average hits going to be 53 dollars. Were going to take back America from all those people writing those $2,000 checks.Go to the net, go to the net, look up deanforamerica.com, give us your e-mail, we will not spam you, except for the last three weeks of every quarter, when were desperately trying to raise money.
But Ill tell you something. Ill tell you how many people I think are here, and do the math. If theres a hundred names on your e-mail list, give us your e-mail and well send you all the information. If you send outÑthis is the first time Ive ever been able to say this in the campaignÑif you send [the information] out to your list, if its a hundred people, this gathering will reach one million Americans. One million Americans. One million Americans because of you here. You know how were going to beat this president? Were not going to do what the other Democrats in Washington do. Were not going to beat George Bush by being Bush Lite. Were going to beat this president, by standing up for what it means to be a Democrat. Be proud to be Democrats, stand up for what Harry Truman said in 1948Ñhealth insurance for every single AmericanÑstand up for jobs, stand up for foreign policy with American values, stand up for equal rights for every single American.
Were going to beat this president by giving the 50 percent of Americans whove given up on voting a reason to vote again. And Ill tell you what Im going to do. If you make me the Democratic nominee of this party, Ill make you proud to vote Democrat again. The biggest lie people like me tell people like you at election time is, if you vote for me, Ill solve all your problems.
The truth is, the power to change this country is in your hands, not mine. You have the power to take this party back and make it stand for something again, you have the power to give this country a foreign policy thatll inspire respect around the world again, you have the power to give us back our sense of community again. When I was 20 or 21 years old, it was towards the end of the civil rights movement. And I believed that we were all in this together, and that the promise of America was that if any one of us was left behind, then the country could never be as great as it should be.
And so we were all held togetherÑthat it wasnt just enough for me to say that I wanted good schools in Vermont, or it wasnt enough for you to say as American citizens that you just wanted good schools in Seattle, or in the state of Washington. That we had and you had an obligation as an American citizen to say that we want good schools in Washington, and in Vermont, and we want good schools in Alabama, and in Mississippi, and in Oakland, California, too. And it wasnt enough to say we want health insurance for everybody in Vermont, or everybody in Washington, but every one of those 230,000 kids who lost their health insurance in Texas last year, we want their families to have health insurance.
We are all in this together. This president, this president ran saying he was a uniter, not a divider. That was one of the things that he said that was the least true, of any of the things he said. We have a president who talked about the quotas at the University of Michigan. Even the most conservative Supreme Court since the Dred Scott decision didnt agree with him on that one.
The president knows, his pollsters know, not only did University of Michigan not have a quota systemÑit never did have a quota system. But that the word quota is a racially loaded word, which is designed to appeal to peoples fears that theyre going to lose their jobs or their position at the university to a member of a minority group. This president played the race card. And for that reason alone, he needs to go back to Crawford, Texas.I am tired of people divided by race in this country.
I am tired of being divided by gender when the president of the United States thinks that he knows better than a woman what kind of reproductive health care she needs.
I am tired of a president who attacks Title IX, thats allowed my daughter to have the same sports programs that my son had. Im tired of the president dividing us by sexual orientation, saying what a great senator Rick Santorum is, and why Chief Justice Antonin Scalia is the next thing on his plate.
I want equal rights for all Americans, every single American.I want my country back, and so do you, and were going to take it back. And when we take it back, this time were not going to give it up again, because were never going to let the Rush Limbaughs and the fundamentalist preachers, were never going to let them take over this country again.
Were going to speak up for ourselves this time. I want my country back, we want our country back, we want the promise of America that was given to us by Martin Luther KingÑwe are all in this together, and the day that we stop caring and standing up for things that matter is the day we start to die.
This countrys not ready to die, and were going to take it back. You have the power to take this party back, you have the power to take this country back, we have the power to take the White House back, and thats exactly what were going to do in 2004.
Thank you very, very much.You have the power, you have the power, thank you very, very much. See you around. Thank you, Seattle, very, very much. Thank you, Seattle.