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John Kerry
Selection of John Edwards for Vice President
July 6, 2004 • Pittsburgh, PA

This morning I have talked with a number of talented and decent Americans who have been both courageous and patriotic enough to allow themselves to be considered for Vice President of the United States.

Teresa and I are personally so grateful to them and their families for caring enough about the direction of our country to go through what is inevitably a very intrusive and frustrating process.

Each of those individuals would make a great Vice President and indeed, in their own right, could lead our country.

But I can only choose one as a running mate and this morning I have done so.

I have chosen a man who understands and defends the values of America, a man who has shown courage and conviction as a champion for middle class Americans and those struggling to reach the middle class—a man who has shown guts, determination and political skill in his own race for the Presidency—a man whose life has prepared him for leadership and whose character brings him to exercise it. I am pleased to announce that the next Vice President of the United States will be John Edwards of North Carolina.

This campaign for the presidency really began two years ago. Throughout those two years as well as four years before that, I have worked with John Edwards side by side and sometimes head to head.

I’ve seen John Edwards think, argue, advocate, legislate and lead for six years now. I know his skill. I know his passion. I know his strength. I know his conscience. I know his faith. He has honored the lessons of home and family learned in North Carolina, and brings those values to this struggle to shape a better future for America. He is ready for this job.

There’s something else about John Edwards that is important to this campaign and our country at this critical time: I am determined that we reach out across party lines, that we speak the heart of America—hope and optimism. And John Edwards will join me in doing that.

As so many of you know, throughout the campaign, John talked about the great divide in this country—the “Two Americas”—that exists between those who are doing well and those who are struggling to make it from day to day. That concern is at the center of this campaign. It is what it is all about. It has been part of my fight for 35 years. And I am so proud that together we’re going to build one America.

As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a leader in fighting bioterrorism, he shares my unshakable commitment to maintaining a military second to none, and to restoring old and building new alliances.

There’s also a great bonus to having John on this ticket—and that’s a strong, brave woman, Elizabeth Edwards. Teresa and I and our family will be proud to stand with the Edwards family in this campaign—with their daughter Cate, who just graduated from college, and with their little ones Emma Claire and Jack.

Anyone who knows them, knows that this is a family that loves one another and loves America.

In the next 120 days, John Edwards and I will be fighting for the America we love.

We’ll be fighting to make America stronger at home and more respected in the world.

We’ll be fighting for good paying jobs that let American families actually get ahead—an America where the middle class is doing better, not being squeezed.

We’ll be fighting to make healthcare a right for all our people.

We’ll be fighting to make this nation energy independent.

We’ll be fighting to build a strong military and lead strong alliances, so young Americans are never put in harm’s way because we insisted on going it alone.

And we’re going to win this fight by standing together, not as two Americas, but as one America.

When I was in Vietnam, I served on a small boat on the Mekong Delta with men who came from places as diverse as South Carolina and Iowa… Arkansas and California. No one asked us our politics. No one cared where we went to school or what our race or backgrounds were. We were literally all in the same boat—and we came together as one.

We were just a band of brothers who all fought under the same flag, and all prayed to the same God. Today, we’re a little bit older, we’re a little bit greyer. But we still know how to fight for our country. And what we’re fighting for is an America where all of us are truly in the same boat.

So I ask for your help. Talk to your neighbors; talk to your friends. Enlist in our cause.

In great movements for civil rights and equal rights, the environment and economic justice for all, we have come together as one America to give life to our mighty dream.

So come together and stand up for a great purpose – to make America stronger at home and respected in the world. We’re a country of the future; we’re a country of optimists. We’re the can-do people. And we just need to believe in ourselves.

The poet Langston Hughes put it in this way: “Let America be America again. Let it be the dream it used to be.” – for those “whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain, whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain must bring back our mighty dream again.”

In 2004, with your help…with John Edwards by my side…we will bring back our mighty dream again.

Let America be America again!

Thank you and God Bless America!


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