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2004-07-28

Ronald Reagan’s Son and Teresa Heinz Kerry Address DNC

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We hear speeches by John Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry and Ron Reagan, son of the late Republican president Ronald Reagan on the floor of the Democratic National Convention. [includes rush transcript]

Among the speakers at last night’s Democratic National Convention was Ron Reagan, the son of the late president and Republican icon Ronald Reagan. He spoke about stem cell research, which offers potential help for sufferers of Alzheimer’s disease and which afflicted his father for years.

John Kerry and his party’s platform endorse stem cell therapy while President Bush has imposed and defended restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. While Reagan began by saying he had not come to make a political speech he ended his address by essentially calling for people to vote for Kerry in November. The Houston Chronicle is reporting that the Bush campaign is now trying to lure Nancy Reagan to the Republican convention next month in New York. The Chronicle says that initial inquiries from Republicans have been rebuffed. Nancy Reagan, like her son Ron, is opposed to President Bush’s position on stem cell research. Here is some of what Ron Reagan had to say last night.

  • Ron Reagan

The final speaker of the night was John Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry. She was introduced to the podium by Chris Heinz, her son from her first husband John Heinz–the late Republican Senator and heir to the Heinz ketchup fortune who was killed in a plane accident in 1991.

Teresa married John Kerry in 1995. She grabbed headlines at the start of the convention this week after telling a reporter to "shove it" when he questioned her about a speech she had given. The reporter was Colin McNickle, an employee at the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, the conservative daily owed by Richard Mellon Scaife who is known as the "Funding Father of the Right." He helped fund the attacks on President Clinton.

The paper has long been a critic of her. Last year it ran an article claiming that she was secretly funneling cash from her private foundations to "extreme left-wing activist groups."

Her address last night marked the first time a candidate’s spouse gave a prime-time speech during a convention.

  • Teresa Heinz Kerry, John Kerry’s wife.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Among the speakers at last night’s convention was Ron Reagan, the son of the late President. He spoke about stem-cell research which offers potential help for sufferers of Alzheimer’s disease which afflicted his father for years. John Kerry and his party’s platform endorse stem cell therapy while President Bush has imposed and defended restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. While Reagan began by saying he had not come to make a political speech, he ended his address by essentially calling for people to vote for John Kerry in November. The Houston Chronicle is reporting the Bush campaign’s now trying to lure Nancy Reagan to the Republican Convention next month in New York. The Houston Chronicle says initial inquiries from the republicans have been rebuffed. Nancy Reagan, like her son, Ron is opposed to President Bush’s position on stem-cell research. Here’s some of what Ron Reagan had to say last night.

RON REAGAN: In a few months we will face a choice—yes between two candidates and two parties. But more than that, we have a chance to take a giant stride forward for the good of all humanity. We can choose between the future and the past, between reason and ignorance, between true compassion and mere ideology. [cheers] This is our moment and we must not falter. Whatever else you do, come November 2nd, I urge you, please, cast a vote for embryonic stem-cell research. Thank you for your time.

AMY GOODMAN: Ron Reagan, son of the former President Ronald Reagan, speaking at the Democratic National Convention last night. He was followed by Ilana Wexler, the 12-year-old founder of Kids For Kerry.

ILANA WEXLER: This summer, I was supposed to go to my favorite camp, but instead, I decided to go to the John Kerry office every day. Kids can really help! [cheers] On kidsforkerry.org we have an interactive presidential quiz. There are 270 questions for the electoral vote. John Kerry will win. Plus, 25 questions to make up for Florida from the last election. [cheers] Our next goal is to have a petition for National No Name-Calling Day—a day that the candidates don’t say anything negative about one another. When our Vice President had a disagreement with the democratic Senator, he used a really bad word. [cheers] If I said that—if I said that word, I would be put in a "time out." I think he should be put in a "time out."

AMY GOODMAN: Ilana Wexler, the 12-year-old founder of Kids For Kerry. The final speaker of the night was John Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry. She was introduced to the podium by Chris Heinz, her son from her first husband, John Heinz, the late republican senator and heir to the Heinz catsup fortune who was killed in a plane accident in 1991. Teresa married John Kerry in Œ95. She grabbed headlines at the start of the convention this week after telling a reporter to quote, "shove it" when he questioned her about a speech she had given. The reporter was Colin McNickel an employee of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, the conservative daily owned by Richard Mellon Scaife, who is known as the "funding father" of the right. He helped fund the attacks on President Clinton. The paper has long been a critic of Teresa Heinz Kerry ever since she married the Massachusetts Senator and went from being married to a republican senator to the democratic senator. She switched her own party affiliation last year. Last year, the newspaper ran an article claiming she was secretly funneling cash from a private foundation to, quote, "extreme left-wing activists groups." Well, Teresa Heinz Kerry’s address last night marked the first time a candidate’s spouse gave a prime-time speech during a convention. This is an excerpt of Teresa Heinz Kerry’s speech.

TERESA HEINZ KERRY: This is such a powerful moment for me. Like many other Americans, like many of you, and like even more your parents and grandparents, I was not born in this country. And as you have seen, I grew up in East Africa, in Mozambique, in a land that was then under a dictatorship. My father, a wonderful caring man, who practiced medicine for 43 years and who taught me how to understand disease and wellness, only got to vote for the first time when he was 73 years old. That’s what happens in dictatorships. As a young woman, I attended Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, South Africa, which was then not segregated. But I witnessed the weight of apartheid everywhere around me. And so, with my fellow students, we marched in the streets of Johannesburg against its‚ extension into higher education. [applause] This was the late 1950’s, at the dawn of the civil rights marches in America. And as history records, our efforts in South Africa failed and the Higher Education Apartheid Act passed. Apartheid tightened its ugly grip. The Sharpsville Riots followed and Nelson Mandela was arrested and sent to Robbin Island. I learned something then and I believe it still. There is a value in taking a stand whether or not anybody may be noticing it and whether or not it is a risky thing to do. [cheers] And if even—if those who are in danger, can raise their lonely voices, isn’t it more that is required of all of us in this land where liberty had her birth. I have a very personal feeling about how special America is. And I know how precious freedom is. It is a sacred gift sanctified by those who have lived it and those who have died defending it. My right to speak my mind, to have a voice, to be what some have called opinionated—[cheers]—is a right I deeply and profoundly cherish. And my only hope is that one day soon, women who have all earned their rights to their opinions, instead of being called opinionated, will be called smart and well-informed just like men.

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