The Gore Speech

Gore just finished, to the most raucous reception so far. Here’s the prepared text of his speech:

One of the greatest gifts of our democracy is the opportunity it offers us
every four years to change course. It¹s not a guarantee; it¹s only an
opportunity. The question facing us is, simply put, will we seize this
opportunity for change? That¹s why I came here tonight: to tell you why I
feel so strongly that we must seize this opportunity to elect Barack Obama
President of the United States.
Eight years ago, some said there was not much difference between the
nominees of the two major parties and it didn¹t really matter who became
president. Our nation was enjoying peace and prosperity. Some assumed we
would continue both, no matter the outcome. But here we all are in 2008, and
I doubt anyone would argue now that election didn¹t matter.
Take it from me, if it had ended differently, we would not be bogged down in
Iraq, we would have pursued bin Laden until we captured him. We would not be
facing a self-inflicted economic crisis; we would be fighting for
middle-income families. We would not be showing contempt for the
Constitution; we¹d be protecting the rights of every American regardless of
race, religion, disability, gender or sexual orientation. And we would not
be denying the climate crisis; we¹d be solving it.
Today, we face essentially the same choice we faced in 2000, though it may
be even more obvious now, because John McCain, a man who has earned our
respect on many levels, is now openly endorsing the policies of the
Bush-Cheney White House and promising to actually continue them. The same
policies all over again?
Hey, I believe in recycling, but that¹s ridiculous. With John McCain¹s
support, President Bush and Vice President Cheney have led our nation into
one calamity after another because of their indifference to fact; their
readiness to sacrifice the long term to the short term, subordinate the
general good to the benefit of the few and short-circuit the rule of law.
If you like the Bush-Cheney approach, John McCain¹s your man. If you want
change, then vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
Barack Obama is telling us exactly what he will do: launch a bold new
economic plan to restore America¹s greatness; fight for smarter government
that trusts the market, but protects us against its excesses; enact policies
that are pro-choice, pro-education and pro-family, establish a foreign
policy that is smart as well as strong; provide health care for all and
solutions for the climate crisis.
So why is this election so close? Well, I know something about close
elections, so let me offer you my opinion. I believe this election is close
today mainly because the forces of the status quo are desperately afraid of
the change Barack Obama represents.
There is no better example than the climate crisis. As I have said for many
years throughout this land, we¹re borrowing money from China to buy oil from
the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the future of human
civilization. Every bit of that has to change. Oil company profits have
soared to record levels, gasoline prices have gone through the roof and we
are more dependent than ever on dirty and dangerous fossil fuels.
Many scientists predict that the entire north polar ice cap may be
completely gone during summer months in the first term of the next
president. Sea levels are rising, fires are raging, storms are stronger.
Military experts warn us our national security is threatened by massive
waves of climate refugees destabilizing countries around the world, and
scientists tell us the very web of life is endangered by unprecedented
We are facing a planetary emergency which, if not solved, would exceed
anything we¹ve ever experienced in the history of humankind. In spite of
John McCain¹s past record of open mindedness on the climate crisis, he has
apparently now allowed his party to browbeat him into abandoning his support
of mandatory caps on global warming pollution.
And it just so happens that the climate crisis is intertwined with the other
two great challenges facing our nation: reviving our economy and
strengthening our national security. The solutions to all three require us
to end our dependence on carbon-based fuels.
Instead of letting lobbyists and polluters control our destiny, we need to
invest in American innovation. Almost a hundred years ago, Thomas Edison
said, ³I¹d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power!
I hope we don¹t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle
that.² We already have everything we need to use the sun, the wind,
geothermal power, conservation and efficiency to solve the climate
crisis‹everything, that is, except a president who inspires us to believe,
³Yes we can.²
So how did this no-brainer become a brain-twister? Because the carbon fuels
industry‹big oil and coal‹have a 50-year lease on the Republican Party and
they are drilling it for everything it¹s worth. And this same industry has
spent a half a billion dollars this year alone trying to convince the public
they are actually solving the problem, when they are in fact making it worse
every single day.
This administration and the special interests who control it lock, stock and
barrel after barrel, have performed this same sleight-of-hand on issue after
issue. Some of the best marketers have the worst products; and this is
certainly true of today¹s Republican Party. The party itself has on its
rolls men and women of great quality. But the last eight years demonstrate
that the special interests who have come to control the Republican Party are
so powerful that serving them and serving the national well-being are now
irreconcilable choices.
So what can we do about it? We can carry Barack Obama¹s message of hope and
change to every family in America. And pledge that we will be there for
Barack Obama‹not only in the heat of this election, but in the aftermath as
we put his agenda to work for our country.
We can tell Republicans and Independents, as well as Democrats, why our
nation needs a change from the approach of Bush, Cheney and McCain. After
they wrecked our economy, it is time for a change. After they abandoned the
search for the terrorists who attacked us and redeployed the troops to
invade a nation that did not attack us, it¹s time for a change. After they
abandoned the American principle first laid down by General George
Washington, when he prohibited the torture of captives because it would
bring, in his words, ³shame, disgrace and ruin² to our nation, it¹s time for
a change.
When as many as three Supreme Court justices could be appointed in the first
term of the next president, and John McCain promises to appoint more Scalias
and Thomases and end a woman¹s right to choose, it¹s time for a change.
Many people have been waiting for some sign that our country is ready for
such change. How will we know when it¹s beginning to take hold? I think we
might recognize it as a sign of such change, if we saw millions of young
people getting involved for the first time in the political process. This
election is actually not close at all among younger voters ­ you are
responding in unprecedented numbers to Barack Obama¹s message of change and
You recognize that he represents a clean break from the politics of
partisanship and bitter division. You understand that the politics of the
past are exhausted, and you¹re tired of appeals based on fear. You know that
America is capable of better than what you have seen in recent years. You
are hungry for a new politics based on bipartisan respect for the ageless
principles embodied in the United States Constitution.
There are times in the history of our nation when our very way of life
depends upon awakening to the challenge of a present danger, shaking off
complacency to rise, clear-eyed and alert, to the necessity of embracing
A century and a half ago, when America faced our greatest trial, the end of
one era gave way to the birth of another. The candidate who emerged
victorious in that election is now regarded by most historians as our
greatest president. Before he entered the White House, Abraham Lincoln¹s
experience in elective office consisted of eight years in his state
legislature in Springfield, Illinois, and one term in Congress ­ during
which he showed the courage and wisdom to oppose the invasion of another
country that was popular when it started but later condemned by history.
The experience Lincoln¹s supporters valued most in that race was his
powerful ability to inspire hope in the future at a time of impasse. He was
known chiefly as a clear thinker and a great orator, with a passion for
justice and a determination to heal the deep divisions of our land. He
insisted on reaching past partisan and regional divides to exalt our common
humanity. In 2008, once again, we find ourselves at the end of an era with a
mandate from history to launch another new beginning. And once again, we
have a candidate whose experience perfectly matches an extraordinary moment
of transition.
Barack Obama had the experience and wisdom to oppose a popular war based on
faulty premises. His leadership experience has given him a unique capacity
to inspire hope, in the promise of the American dream of a boundless future.
His experience has also given him genuine respect for different views and
humility, in the face of complex realities that cannot be squeezed into the
narrow compartments of ideology. His experience has taught him something
that career politicians often overlook: that inconvenient truths must be
acknowledged if we are to have wise governance.
The extraordinary strength of his personal character ­ and that of his
wonderful wife, Michelle ­ is grounded in the strengths of the American
community. His vision and his voice represent the best of America. His life
experience embodies the essence of our motto ­ e pluribus unum ­ out of
many, one. That is the linking identity at the other end of all the hyphens
that pervade our modern political culture. It is that common American
identity ­ which Barack Obama exemplifies, heart and soul ­ that enables us
as Americans to speak with moral authority to all of the peoples of the
world, to inspire hope that we as human beings can transcend our limitations
and to redeem the promise of human freedom.
Late this evening, our convention will end with a benediction. As we bow in
reverence, remember the words of the old proverb: ³when you pray, move your
feet.² Then let us leave here tonight and take the message of hope from
Denver to every corner of our land, and do everything we can to serve our
nation, our world‹and most importantly, our children and their future‹by
electing Barack Obama President of the United States.
The Gore Speech