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2004-07-29

Ignoring Delegates’ Anti-War Stance, Edwards Delivers Major Pro-War Address at DNC

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Although a recent poll shows 95 percent of Democratic delegates oppose the Iraq war, Edwards vows in a prime-time address to double the number of special forces and to increase funding for military research. [includes rush transcript]

Welcome to Democracy Now!, Breaking with Convention: War, peace and the Presidency, broadcasting from Cambridge Community Television just across the river from Boston’s FleetCenter where the Democratic National Convention has entered its final day.

It’s official, delegates at the DNC have formally nominated John Kerry and John Edwards as their party’s candidates to challenge President Bush and Vice President Cheney in the November presidential elections. On the convention floor, former astronaut John Glenn announced that Ohio-which is a battleground state-cast the votes that put Kerry over the top. John Kerry has now arrived in Boston and will officially accept the nomination tonight in prime time. Last night, though, the spotlight belonged to John Edwards. Here is some of what Edwards had to say.

  • John Edwards, speaking at the Democratic Nation Convention.

Transcript

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

AMY GOODMAN: Senator Kerry has now arrived in Boston and will officially accept the nomination tonight in prime time. Last night, though, the spotlight belonged to John Edwards. Here is some of what the North Carolina Senator had to say.

JOHN EDWARDS: We will always use our military might to keep the American people safe. And we, John and I, will have one clear unmistakable message for al Qaeda and these terrorists. You cannot run. You cannot hide. And we will destroy you. John understands personally about fighting in a war. And he knows what our brave men and women are going through right now in another war — the war in Iraq. The human cost and extraordinary heroism of this war, it surrounds us. It surrounds us in our cities and our towns. And we will win this war because of the strength and courage of our own people. Some of our friends and neighbors saw their last images in Baghdad. Some took their last steps outside of Fallujah. Some buttoned their uniform for the final time before they went out to save their unit. Men and women who used to take care of themselves, they now count on others to see them through the day. They need their mother to tie their shoe. Their husband to brush their hair. Their wife’s arm to help them across the room. The stars and stripes wave for them. The word hero was made for them. They are the best and the bravest. And they will never be left behind. You understand that. And they deserve a president who understands that on the most personal level what they have gone through — what they have given and what they have given up for their country. To us, the real test of patriotism is how we treat the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to defend our values. And let me tell you, the 26 million veterans in this country won’t have to wonder if they’ll have health care next week or next year — they will have it always because they took care of us and we will take care of them. But today, our great United States military is stretched thin. More than 140,000 are in Iraq. Nearly 20,000 are serving in Afghanistan. And I visited the men and women there and we’re praying for them as they keep working to give that country hope. Like all of those brave men and women, John put his life on the line for our country. He knows that when authority is given to the president, much is expected in return. That’s why we will strengthen and modernize our military. We will double our Special Forces, and invest in the new equipment and technologies so that our military remains the best equipped and best trained in the world. This will make our military stronger so we’re able to defeat every enemy in this new world. But we can’t do this alone. We have to restore our respect in the world to bring our allies to us and with us. It’s how we won the World Wars and the Cold War and it is how we will build a stable Iraq. With a new president who strengthens and leads our alliances, we can get NATO to help secure Iraq. We can ensure that Iraq’s neighbors like Syria and Iran, don’t stand in the way of a democratic Iraq. We can help Iraq’s economy by getting other countries to forgive their enormous debt and participate in the reconstruction. We can do this for the Iraqi people and our soldiers. And we will get this done right. A new president will bring the world to our side, and with it — a stable Iraq and a real chance for peace and freedom in the Middle East, including a safe and secure Israel. And John and I will bring the world together to face our most dangerous threat: the possibility of terrorists getting their hands on a nuclear, chemical or biological weapon. With our credibility restored, we can work with other nations to secure stockpiles of the worlds most dangerous weapons and safeguard this dangerous material. We can finish the job and secure all loose nukes in Russia. And we can close the loophole in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty that allows rogue nations access to the tools they need to develop these weapons. That’s how we can address the new threats we face. That’s how we can keep you safe. That’s how we can restore America’s respect around the world. And together, we will ensure that the image of America — the image all of us love — America this great shining light, this beacon of freedom, democracy, and human rights that the world looks up to — that that beacon is always lit. The truth is every child, every family in America will be safer and more secure if you grow up in a world where America is once again looked up to and respected. That’s the world we can create together. Tonight, as we celebrate in this hall, somewhere in America, a mother sits at the kitchen table. She can’t sleep. She’s worried because she can’t pay her bills. She’s working hard to pay the rent and feed her kids. She’s doing everything right, but she still can’t get ahead. It didn’t use to be that way in her house. Her husband was called up in the Guard and he’s been serving in Iraq for more than a year. She thought he’d be home last month, but now he’s got to stay longer. She thinks she’s alone. But tonight in this hall and in your homes — you know what? She’s got a lot of friends. We want her to know that we hear her. And it’s time to bring opportunity and an equal chance to her door. We’re here to make America stronger at home so she can get ahead. And we’re here to make America respected in the world so that we can bring him home and American soldiers don’t have to fight the war in Iraq and the war on terror alone. So when you return home, you might pass a mother on her way to work the late-shift — you tell her……hope is on the way. When your brother calls and says that he’s working all the time at the office and still can’t get ahead — you tell him……hope is on the way. When your parents call and tell you their medical bills are through the roof — you tell them…...hope is on the way. When your neighbor calls you and says that her daughter has worked hard and wants to go to college — you tell her……hope is on the way. When you talk to your son or daughter who is serving this country and protecting our freedoms in Iraq — you tell them……hope is on the way. And when you wake up and sit with your kids at the kitchen table, talking to them about the great possibilities in America, you make sure that they know that John and I believe at our core that tomorrow can be better than today. Like all of us, I have learned a lot of lessons in my life. Two of the most important are that first, there will always be heartache and struggle — you can’t make it go away. But the other is that people of good and strong will, can make a difference. One lesson is a sad lesson and the other’s inspiring. We are Americans and we choose to be inspired. We choose hope over despair; possibilities over problems, optimism over cynicism. We choose to do what’s right even when those around us say "You can’t do that." We choose to be inspired because we know that we can do better — because this is America where everything is still possible. What we believe — what John Kerry and I believe — is that you should never look down on anybody, that we should lift people up. We don’t believe in tearing people apart. We believe in bringing people together. What we believe — what I believe — is that the family you’re born into and the color of your skin in our America should never control your destiny. Join us in this cause. Let’s make America stronger at home and more respected in the world. Let’s ensure that once again, in our one America — our one America — tomorrow will always be better than today. Thank you and God bless you, and God bless the United States of America. Thank you. >> Senator John Edwards addressing the Democratic National Convention last night.

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