Today’s itinerary includes cake, then pizza, then more cake, then milk and cookies. Plus, I can finally publish a little something I’ve been working on for some time. Let me know what you think. Here goes:
My fellow Americans:
We live in troubled times. There are some who say America’s best days are behind her.
Twenty years ago, America looked to Bill Clinton for change. Twelve years ago, America looked to George W. Bush for leadership. Four years ago, America looked to Barack Obama for hope.
And these men let America down. But I say that America never needed them.
I say that America needs you.
And because America needs you, America needs me.
I am pleased today to announce my candidacy for the office of President of the United States.
Let me begin by telling you how I got to this point.
I was born thirty-five years ago this very day in a little town in New Hampshire called Nashua, on the night of a Presidential debate in February 1980. That night, in the debate hall, shortly after Ronald Reagan famously told a newspaper editor that he had paid for a microphone, my mother went into labor. Bob Dole delivered me, with George H.W. Bush assisting. I was swaddled in copies of the Nashua Telegraph and the Manchester Union-Leader.
My father, a young economist from Kenya, and my mother, an unwed teenager from Kansas, weren’t well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.
I was named for my paternal grandfather, the son of Italian immigrants and an architect, and for the priest who married my parents. Rose Kennedy baptized me, the Reverend Jesse Jackson christened me, and Joe Lieberman… well, Joe rendered his services.
Years ago, as a farm boy sitting outdoors with my family on the ground in the middle of the night, gathered close around a radio connected to the automobile battery, eating peanuts and listening to the Democratic and Republican conventions in far-off cities, I was a long way from the selection process. I feel much closer to it tonight.
As a teenager I heard John Kennedy’s summons to citizenship. And then, as a student at Georgetown, I heard that call clarified by a professor I had, named Carroll Quigley, who said America was the greatest country in the history of the world because our people have always believed in two great ideas: first, that tomorrow can be better than today, and second, that each of us has a personal, moral responsibility to make it so.
I moved to Chicago over two decades ago. I was a young man then, just a year out of college; I knew no one in Chicago, was without money or family connections. But a group of churches had offered me a job as a community organizer for $13,000 a year. And I accepted the job, sight unseen, motivated then by a single, simple, powerful idea– that I might play a small part in building a better America.
I’ve seen America from the stadium press box as a sportscaster, as an actor, officer of my labor union, soldier, officeholder and as both a Democrat and Republican. I’ve lived in America where those who often had too little to eat outnumbered those who had enough. There have been seven wars in my lifetime and I’ve seen our country face financial ruin in the Depression. I have also seen the great strength of this nation as it pulled itself up from that ruin to become the dominant force in the world.
I am a man who sees life in terms of missions– missions defined and missions completed. When I was a torpedo bomber pilot in World War II, they defined the mission for us. Before we took off we all understood that no matter what, you try to reach the target. There have been other missions for me– Congress, China, the CIA. But I am here tonight– and I am your candidate– because the most important work of my life is to complete the mission we started so many years ago. How do we complete it? We build it.
Much more than this, it is our aim to give to our country a program of progressive policies drawn from our finest conservative traditions; to unite us wherever we have been divided; to strengthen freedom wherever among us any group has been weakened; to build a sure foundation for sound prosperity for all here at home and for a just and sure peace throughout our world.
As President, I will adamantly defend every woman’s right to choose as well as every unborn child’s right to life.
As President, I will protect the Second Amendment and will protect national security and stop crime by getting rid of assault weapons and handguns.
As President, I will make Wal-Mart stop undercutting its competition by raising its prices, and make the gas companies stop gouging its consumers by lowering the price of gas.
As President, I will provide total financial and medical security to our senior citizens at no cost whatsoever to their children and grandchildren.
As President, I will eliminate the mortgage interest deduction, which has distorted housing markets, and replace it with a deduction for interest on mortgages, which will help make more Americans into homeowners.
One other thing I probably should tell you. A man down in Texas heard my wife on the radio mention the fact that our two youngsters would like to have a dog. And, believe it or not, yesterday we got a message from Union Station in Baltimore saying they had a package for us. We went down to get it. You know what it was? It was a little cocker spaniel dog in a crate that he’d sent all the way from Texas. Black and white spotted. And my daughter– the six-year old– named it Checkers. And you know, the kids, like all kids, love the dog and I just want to say this right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we’re going to keep it.
What I propose tonight is not new. It is as old as America, and as young as America, because America will never grow old.
You will remember when Thomas Jefferson said, “Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself– nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
Teddy Roosevelt reminded us that, “Constitutionally, gentlemen, you have the president, the vice president and the secretary of state, in that order, and should the president decide he wants to transfer the helm to the vice president, he will do so. As for now, I’m in control here, in the White House.”
And Woodrow Wilson said, “We shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”
It’s time for us to change America. They have not led, we will. I still believe in a place called Hope, a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky, yielding only to morning again in America.
And read my lips: I will never lie to you.
I humbly ask for your vote.
I will do everything you’ve ever wanted your President to do.
Because I am you.
And together, we can be us again.
Thank you, and God bless America.
We accept unmarked, low-denomination cash only.