Pennsylvania Primary Night
April 22, 2008
to start by congratulating Senator Clinton on her victory tonight,
and I want to thank the hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians
who stood with our campaign today.
were a lot of folks who didn't think we could make this a close
race when it started. But we worked hard, and we traveled across
the state to big cities and small towns, to factory floors and VFW
halls. And now, six weeks later, we closed the gap. We rallied people
of every age and race and background to our cause. And whether they
were inspired for the first time or for the first time in a long
time, we registered a record number of voters who will lead our
party to victory in November.
Americans cast their ballot for the same reason you came here tonight;
for the same reason that millions of Americans have gone door-to-door
and given whatever small amount they can to this campaign; for the
same reason that we began this journey just a few hundred miles
from here on a cold February morning in Springfield - because we
believe that the challenges we face are bigger than the smallness
of our politics, and we know that this election is our chance to
fourteen long months, it's easy to forget this from time to time
- to lose sight of the fierce urgency of this moment. It's easy
to get caught up in the distractions and the silliness and the tit-for-tat
that consumes our politics; the bickering that none of us are immune
to, and that trivializes the profound issues - two wars, an economy
in recession, a planet in peril.
that kind of politics is not why we're here. It's not why I'm here
and it's not why you're here.
here because of the more than one hundred workers in Logansport,
Indiana who just found out that their company has decided to move
its entire factory to Taiwan.
here because of the young man I met in Youngsville, North Carolina
who almost lost his home because he has three children with cystic
fibrosis and couldn't pay their medical bills; who still doesn't
have health insurance for himself or his wife and lives in fear
that a single illness could cost them everything.
here because there are families all across this country who are
sitting around the kitchen table right now trying to figure out
how to pay their insurance premiums, and their kids' tuition, and
still make the mortgage so they're not the next ones in the neighborhood
to put a For Sale sign in the front yard; who will lay awake tonight
wondering if next week's paycheck will cover next month's bills.
not here to talk about change for change's sake, but because our
families, our communities, and our country desperately need it.
We're here because we can't afford to keep doing what we've been
doing for another four years. We can't afford to play the same Washington
games with the same Washington players and expect a different result.
Not this time. Not now.
already know what we're getting from the other party's nominee.
John McCain has offered this country a lifetime of service, and
we respect that, but what he's not offering is any meaningful change
from the policies of George W. Bush.
McCain believes that George Bush's Iraq policy is a success, so
he's offering four more years of a war with no exit strategy; a
war that's sending our troops on their third tour, and fourth tour,
and fifth tour of duty; a war that's costing us billions of dollars
a month and hasn't made us any safer.
McCain said that George Bush's economic policies have led to "great
progress" over the last seven years, and so he's promising
four more years of tax cuts for CEOs and corporations who didn't
need them and weren't asking for them; tax cuts that he once voted
against because he said they "offended his conscience."
they may have stopped offending John McCain's conscience somewhere
along the road to the White House, but George Bush's economic policies
still offend ours. Because I don't think that the 232,000 Americans
who've lost their jobs this year are seeing the great progress that
John McCain has seen. I don't think the millions of Americans losing
their homes have seen that progress. I don't think the families
without health care and the workers without pensions have seen that
progress. And if we continue down the same reckless path, I don't
think that future generations who'll be saddled with debt will see
these as years of progress.
already know that John McCain offers more of the same. The question
is not whether the other party will bring about change in Washington
- the question is, will we?
the truth is, the challenges we face are not just the fault of one
man or one party. How many years - how many decades - have we been
talking about solving our health care crisis? How many Presidents
have promised to end our dependence on foreign oil? How many jobs
have gone overseas in the 70s, and the 80s, and the 90s? And we
still haven't done anything about it. And we know why.
every election, politicians come to your cities and your towns,
and they tell you what you want to hear, and they make big promises,
and they lay out all these plans and policies. But then they go
back to Washington when the campaign's over. Lobbyists spend millions
of dollars to get their way. The status quo sets in. And instead
of fighting for health care or jobs, Washington ends up fighting
over the latest distraction of the week. It happens year after year
this is your chance to say "Not this year." This is your
chance to say "Not this time." We have a choice in this
can be a party that says there's no problem with taking money from
Washington lobbyists - from oil lobbyists and drug lobbyists and
insurance lobbyists. We can pretend that they represent real Americans
and look the other way when they use their money and influence to
stop us from reforming health care or investing in renewable energy
for yet another four years.
this time, we can recognize that you can't be the champion of working
Americans if you're funded by the lobbyists who drown out their
voices. We can do what we've done in this campaign, and say that
we won't take a dime of their money. We can do what I did in Illinois,
and in Washington, and bring both parties together to rein in their
power so we can take our government back. It's our choice.
can be a party that thinks the only way to look tough on national
security is to talk, and act, and vote like George Bush and John
McCain. We can use fear as a tactic, and the threat of terrorism
to scare up votes.
we can decide that real strength is asking the tough questions before
we send our troops to fight. We can see the threats we face for
what they are - a call to rally all Americans and all the world
against the common challenges of the 21st century - terrorism and
nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease.
That's what it takes to keep us safe in the world. That's the real
legacy of Roosevelt and Kennedy and Truman.
can be a party that says and does whatever it takes to win the next
election. We can calculate and poll-test our positions and tell
everyone exactly what they want to hear.
we can be the party that doesn't just focus on how to win but why
we should. We can tell everyone what they need to hear about the
challenges we face. We can seek to regain not just an office, but
the trust of the American people that their leaders in Washington
will tell them the truth. That's the choice in this election.
can be a party of those who only think like we do and only agree
with all our positions. We can continue to slice and dice this country
into Red States and Blue States. We can exploit the divisions that
exist in our country for pure political gain.
this time, we can build on the movement we've started in this campaign
- a movement that's united Democrats, Independents, and Republicans;
a movement of young and old, rich and poor; white, black, Hispanic,
Asian, and Native American. Because one thing I know from traveling
to forty-six states this campaign season is that we're not as divided
as our politics suggests. We may have different stories and different
backgrounds, but we hold common hopes for the future of this country.
the end, this election is still our best chance to solve the problems
we've been talking about for decades - as one nation; as one people.
Fourteen months later, that is still what this election is about.
of Americans who believe we can do better - that we must do better
- have put us in a position to bring about real change. Now it's
up to you, Indiana. You can decide whether we're going to travel
the same worn path, or whether we chart a new course that offers
real hope for the future.
the course of this campaign, we've all learned what my wife reminds
me of all the time - that I am not a perfect man. And I will not
be a perfect President. And so while I will always listen to you,
and be honest with you, and fight for you every single day for the
next for years, I will also ask you to be a part of the change that
we need. Because in my two decades of public service to this country,
I have seen time and time again that real change doesn't begin in
the halls of Washington, but on the streets of America. It doesn't
happen from the top-down, it happens from the bottom-up.
know that real change has never been easy, and it won't be easy
this time either. The status quo in Washington will fight harder
than they ever have to divide us and distract us with ads and attacks
from now until November.
don't ever forget that you have the power to change this country.
can make this election about how we're going to help those workers
in Logansport; how we're going to re-train them, and educate them,
and make our workforce competitive in a global economy.
can make this election about how we're going to make health care
affordable for that family in North Carolina; how we're going to
help those families sitting around the kitchen table tonight pay
their bills and stay in their homes.
can make this election about how we plan to leave our children and
all children a planet that's safer and a world that still sees America
the same way my father saw it from across the ocean - as a beacon
of all that is good and all that is possible for all mankind.
is now our turn to follow in the footsteps of all those generations
who sacrificed and struggled and faced down the greatest odds to
perfect our improbable union. And if we're willing to do what they
did; if we're willing to shed our cynicism and our doubts and our
fears; if we're willing to believe in what's possible again; then
I believe that we won't just win this primary election, we won't
just win this election in November, we will change this country,
and keep this country's promise alive in the twenty-first century.
Thank you, and may God Bless the United States of America.