Campaign Snapshot: Dick Gephardt
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REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT: My name is Dick Gephardt. I’m going to win the Democratic nomination, and I’m going to beat George Bush in November, 2004. ( Applause ) Let me, if I can, tell you why for a minute we need to replace this president — as if you needed to know.
He’s leading us in all the wrong directions. Every area you want to look at, he’s leading us in the wrong direction, not the right direction. The economy is a mess. Yeah, I know, they say, “oh, we had 7 percent growth last quarter. Everything’s fine, everything’s terrific.”
Well, you know, that’s what economists say when they look at numbers. You ought to come out here to Iowa, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, South Carolina, North Carolina, even California, and ask that question: Where is the 7 percent growth? Is it going to be sustained? Is it going to continue? And what about jobs? Where are the jobs?
This president has lost 3.3 million jobs since he’s been president. That’s more jobs than the last 11 presidents put together lost. They don’t get it. They think the way to make the economy work is to give more money to people at the top, they’ll spend the money and that’ll make the economy work better. Well, it doesn’t work. Just think about it for a minute.
If you give somebody who’s really wealthy more money, they’re not going to spend it. Give it to people that will spend the money. One of the best things we did in the Clinton administration is raise the minimum wage. Why did that help? Because people who are at the minimum wage spend it instantaneously. The money courses through the economy and the pie gets bigger for everybody. We’re the builders, we’re the growers, we’re the people that know how to make the economy better for everybody. Everything that I talk about in this campaign is designed to create jobs, to get this economy moving again.
I have three goals for my presidency: Jobs, jobs, jobs. And everything I’m talking about here will create jobs. All my competitors in this race are now coming around saying, “I’d never be for a NAFTA that doesn’t have enforcement of labor and environment in it.” Well, check the record. They were for it. I not only talk the talk, I walk the walk.
When I fought against NAFTA, I was taking on my own president. I was majority leader. I was his right-hand person. But I don’t back up when I think something is wrong. And I thought that was wrong, and I will always fight for what I think is right.
We need to stop the human exploitation that’s going on in this world. I’ve been in the villages. The people live on the ground. They live in cardboard boxes that bring the products back to the United States. They live in worse condition than most farm animals do in Iowa. This is nothing short of human exploitation for the profit of some big corporations.
When I’m president, we’re going to bring it to an end. We’re going to have a trade policy that’s good for everybody. ( Applause ) And finally, finally, I will have a foreign policy. I told George Bush in the Oval Office on 9/12, “We got to trust one another.” I told him early in the last year, I said, “If you want to deal with Iraq, you got to go to the U.N., you got to go to NATO, you got to get us the help that we need.” I said, “We’re not going to need their help going in. We’re going to need their help coming out.” He went to the U.N. and said, “We’re going to do this with or without you. Have a nice day.” Is that a way to get people to help you? This is not complicated, folks. It is not complicated.
You know how you have to deal with members of your own family, you know how you have to deal with colleagues and friends in the community, you know how you have to deal with people that you work with.
You have to deal with people with respect, and you have to listen as well as talk. And you have to collaborate and you have to work with people and cooperate and get things done. That’s the kind of president I will be. In the end, my philosophy of life is a little bit different than W.’s, and I guess I’ll leave with you that.
I think we’re all tied together. I think Bush thinks we’re all separate, isolated individuals. If you make it, great. If you don’t make it, it doesn’t matter, according to him. It’s called survival of the fittest. And my problem with it is that I don’t think it works and I don’t think it’s moral. My own life is a good example. I grew up poor.
My dad was a Teamster and a milk truck driver. It’s the best job he ever had. We had no money. I got a great education because I got church scholarships, government loans. I’m the example of the American dream. I’m running … I’ve been leader in the House for 13 years. I’m running for president of the United States of America.
GROUP: Bravo! ( Applause )
REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT: I didn’t do it on my own. No way. I wouldn’t be here today without all that help. There aren’t many of us that don’t need some help to fulfill our God-given potential.
And I just want to leave you with this: When I’m president, every day, on every issue, I’m going to be trying to figure out how every person in this country fulfills their God-given potential. Nobody left out. Nobody left behind. We can make America a better place, a better place than it’s ever been if we bring everybody forward together. Thank you very much. ( Applause )