JULY 9, 1996
Richard Lamm, the former Democratic governor of Colorado, announced today he was running for the Presidential nomination of Ross Perot's Reform Party and held a news conference this afternoon at the University of Denver. Here are some excerpts.
RICHARD LAMM, Reform Party Presidential Candidate: I believe we have nation threatening problems that both parties ignore. I see this to be a watershed election. America has to ask itself not what it wants but what it can afford. The choices we make now will really determine whether the United States will maintain the mantle of greatness into the new millennium. In the span of a single generation, America has gone from the largest creditor nation in the world to the largest debtor nation in the world, and this is a road to decline. This is not a road to continued greatness. The New Deal in my mind has become a raw deal for our children. My Social Security will create social insecurity for America's children. The current political system is, is simply dysfunctional, and so also are most of our public institutions. They don't work as they were intended. Many of our public institutions have become so dysfunctional that they would be ideal guests on daytime talk shows.
(laughter in audience)
Our two major political parties are leading America astray. We all know it. We know it in our heads, and we know it in our hearts. The Republican Party and the Democratic Party were not created by God. They were not created in our Constitution. They are only useful as long as they remain problem solving institutions. They don't have a franchise. If they would, they would have been--they would have been created in the private sector, umm, and subject to the market rules. They would long be gone because somebody would have created a better problem solving machine. They listen to money, not to people. They have both been taken over by people who want things from the government. Conventional politics, thus, is not working for everyday Americans. We need more than a change of Presidents. We need a change in our political culture--the whole political culture. That's why I'm here today to announce my candidacy as President of the United States on the Reform Party ticket.
I really want to create a whole new political coalition dedicated to reform and renewal. Thirty-nine days ago I traveled to Los Angeles to speak to the Reform Party in California's convention. Looking out at the audience that day I really saw a new gathering of Americans who represented precisely what I think has been missing from politics of the usual. These people were not there as lobbyists of some special interests, but they were there as repairmen of a system that is broke. So as a country, it's time to quit snoozing and to get serious about planting the seeds of change. Time is short, and there is much work to do. America needs a decade of reform and renewal. It just doesn't need a new President. It needs a whole decade of reform and renewal, ten years to balance the budget and stop borrowing from our children, ten years to reduce or eliminate the trade deficit, ten years to fix our institutions and make them work again, ten years to promote responsibility instead of indulgence as a national virtue, ten years to put American politics and American government back in the hands of the people. These will be the pillars of our campaign, and they will be also the pillars of an American renewal.