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Excerpts from the speech

By Compiled from Times wire reports

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 18, 2000

Remarks by Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore to the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles on Thursday. Remarks are as prepared for delivery:

Instead of the biggest deficits in history, we now have the biggest surpluses ever. The highest home ownership ever. And the lowest inflation in a generation. Instead of losing jobs, we have 22-million new jobs. Above all, our success comes from you, the people who have worked hard for your families. But let's not forget that a few years ago, the American people were working just as hard. But your hard work was undone.

* * *

Tonight, I ask for your support on the basis of the better, fairer, more prosperous America we can build together. Together, let's make sure that our prosperity enriches not just the few, but all working families. Let's invest in health care, education, a secure retirement and middle class tax cuts. I'm happy that the stock market has boomed and so many businesses and new enterprises have done well. This country is richer and stronger.

But my focus is on working families -- people trying to make house payments and car payments, working overtime to save for college and do right by their kids. Whether you're in a suburb, or an inner city, or on a farm -- whether you drive a big rig on the interstate or drive e-commerce on the Internet -- whether you're starting out to raise your own family, or getting ready to retire after a lifetime of hard work.

So often, powerful forces and powerful interests stand in your way, and the odds seemed stacked against you -- even as you do what's right for you and your family. How and what we do for all of you -- the people who pay the taxes, bear the burdens and live the American dream -- that is the standard by which we should be judged.

And for all of our good times, I am not satisfied.

Power should be in your hands

I want you to know this: I've taken on the powerful forces. And as president, I'll stand up to them, and I'll stand up for you.

To all the families who are struggling with things that money can't measure -- like trying to find a little more time to spend with your children, or protecting your children from entertainment that you think glorifies violence and indecency -- I want you to know: I believe we must challenge a culture with too much meanness and not enough meaning. And as president, I will stand with you for a goal that I know we share: to give more power back to the parents, so that you can choose what your own children are exposed to and pass on basic lessons of responsibility and decency.

The power should be in your hands. The future should belong to everyone in this land. We could squander this moment -- but our country would be the poorer for it. Instead, let's lift our eyes and see how wide the American horizon has become.

We're entering a new time. We're electing a new president. And I stand here tonight as my own man, and I want you to know me for who I truly am.

For almost 25 years now, I've been fighting for people. And for all that time, I've been listening to people -- holding open meetings, in the places where they live and work. And you know what? I've learned a lot. And if I'm your president, I'm going to keep on having open meetings all over this country. I'm going to go out to you, the people, because I want to stay in touch with your hopes, with the quiet, everyday heroism of hardworking Americans. So this is not just an election between my opponent and me. It's about our people, our families and our future -- and whether forces standing in your way will keep you from having a better life.

I'm here to talk seriously about the issues. I believe people deserve to know specifically what a candidate proposes to do. I intend to tell you tonight. You ought to be able to know, and then judge for yourself.

Fighting for all the people

Not so long ago, a balanced budget seemed impossible. Now our budget surpluses make it possible to give a full range of targeted tax cuts to working families. Not just to help you save for college, but to pay for health insurance or child care. To reform the estate tax, so people can pass on a small business or a family farm. And to end the marriage penalty -- the right way, the fair way -- because we shouldn't force couples to pay more in income taxes just because they're married.

But let me say it plainly: I will not go along with a huge tax cut for the wealthy at the expense of everyone else and wreck our good economy in the process.

I know one thing about the job of the president. It is the only job in the Constitution that is charged with the responsibility of fighting for all the people. Not just the people of one state, or one district; not just the wealthy or the powerful -- all the people. Especially those who need a voice; those who need a champion; those who need to be lifted up, so they are never left behind.

I say to you tonight: We've got to win this election -- because every hardworking American family deserves to open the door to their dream. In our democracy, the future is not something that just happens to us; it is something we make for ourselves -- together. So to the young people watching tonight, I say: this is your time to make new the life of our world. We need your help to rekindle the spirit of America.

And I ask all of you, my fellow citizens: from this city that marked both the end of America's journey westward and the beginning of the New Frontier, let us set out on a new journey to the best America. A new journey on which we advance not by the turning of wheels, but by the turning of our minds; the reach of our vision; the daring grace of the human spirit.

There are big choices ahead, and our whole future is at stake. And I do have strong beliefs about it. I have strong values, the love of my family, my faith, my love for this country.

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