Vice President Joe Biden's Remarks at the 2012 Democratic National Convention - Full Speech


Uploaded by BarackObamadotcom on 06.09.2012

Transcript:
BIDEN: Hello, my fellow Democrats!
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
And my favorite Democrat. Jilly, I want you to know that Beau and Hunt and Ashton and
I, we're so incredibly proud of you. You know, we admire the way with every single solitary
young person, and they're not all young, walking to your classroom. You not only teach them,
you give them confidence. You give me confidence. And the passion -- the passion she brings
trying to ease the burden on the families of our warriors. Jilly, they know you understand
them, and that makes a gigantic difference.
[APPLAUSE]
And folks, I tell you what. It was worth the trip to hear my wife say what I've never heard
her say before. She's always loved me.
[LAUGHTER]
If that's the case, why in the heck did it take five times of asking you? And that’s
true. Five times! I don't know what I would have done--kiddo had you, on that fifth time
said no. I love you. You’re the love of my life and the life of my love.
[APPLAUSE]
We've got three incredible kids. And Beau, I want to thank you for putting my name in
nomination to be Vice President of the United States. I accept. I accept.
[EXTENDED CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
With great honor and pleasure, I accept.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
Thank you. Thank you, my fellow Democrats. And I say to my fellow Americans -- my fellow
Americans, four years ago, a battered nation turned away from the failed policies of the
past, and turned to a leader who they knew would lift our nation out of the crisis. A
journey -- a journey we haven't finished yet. We know we still have more to do. But today,
I say to my fellow citizens, in the face of the deepest economic crisis in our lifetime,
this generation of Americans has proven itself as worthy as any generation before us.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
For we posses that same grit, that same determination, that, that same courage that has always defined
what it means to be an American, has always defined all of you. Together, we're on a mission
-- we're on a mission to move this nation forward. From doubt and downturn to promise
and prosperity. A mission I guarantee you we will complete. A mission we will complete.
[APPLAUSE, CHEERS]
Folks, tonight, what I really want to do is tell you about my friend Barack Obama.
[APPLAUSE]
No one could tell it as well or as eloquently as Michelle. As you did last night, Michelle,
on Monday night. But I know him. To state the obvious from a different perspective.
I know him, and I want to show you -- I want to show you the character of leader who had
what it took when the American people who literally stood on the brink of a new depression.
A leader that has what it takes to lead us over the next four years to a future as great
as our people. I want to take you inside the White House to see the president as I see
him every day. Because I don't see him in sound bites. I walk 30 paces down the hall
into the Oval Office and I see him, I watch him in action. Four years ago, the middle
class was already losing ground. And then, the bottom fell out. The financial crisis
hit like a sledgehammer. On all the people I grew up with. You remember the headlines.
You saw some of them in the previews. Highlight: highest job losses in 60 years. Headlines:
“Economy on the brink.” “Markets, plummet worldwide.” From the very moment President
Obama sat behind the desk, resolute in the Oval Office, he knew -- he knew he had not
only to restore the confidence of a nation, but he had to restore the confidence of the
whole world.
[APPLAUSE]
And he also knew -- he also knew, that one -- one false move could bring a run on the
banks or credit collapse, to put another several million people out of work. America and the
world needed a strong president with a steady hand, and with the judgment and vision to
see us through. Day after day, night after night, I sat beside him as he made one gutsy
decision after the other to stop the slide and reverse it.
[SCATTERED APPLAUSE]
I watched him stand up to intense pressure and stared down enormous -- enormous challenges,
the consequences of which were awesome. But most of all, I got to see first-hand what
drove this man. His profound concern for the average American. He knew -- he knew that
no matter how tough the decisions he had to make were in that Oval Office, he knew that
families all over America sitting at their kitchen tables were literally making decisions
for their family that were equally as consequential. You know, Barack and I, we have been through
a lot together these four years. And we learned about one another. A lot about one another.
One of the things I learned about Barack is the enormity of his heart and I think he learned
about me, the depth of my loyalty to him.
[APPLAUSE]
And there's another thing -- another thing that has bound us together these past four
years. We had a pretty good idea of what all those families -- all you Americans in trouble
were going through. In part because our own families had gone through similar struggles.
Barack, as a young man, he had to sit at the end of his mother's hospital bed, and watch
her fight with their insurance company at the very same time she was fighting for her
life. When I was a young kid in third grade, I remember my Dad coming up the stairs in
my grandpop's house where we were living, sitting at the end of my bed, and saying,
“Joey, I'm going to have to leave for a while. Going down to Wilmington, Delaware
with Uncle Frank, there are good jobs down there honey, and in a little while, I will
be able to send for you and mom and Jimmy and Val, and everything is going to be fine.”
For the rest of our lives, my sister and my brothers -- for the rest of our lives, my
dad never failed to remind us that a job is about a lot more than a paycheck.
[APPLAUSE AND CHEERS]
It is about your dignity. It's about respect. It's about your place in the community.
[EXTENDED APPLAUSE]
It's about being able to look your child in the eye and say, “Honey, it's going to be
OK”, and mean it and know it's true.
[APPLAUSE]
When Barack and I -- when Barack and I were growing up, there was an implicit understanding
in America. That if you took responsibility, you’d get a fair shot at a better life.
And the values behind that bargain, were the values that have shaped both of us and many,
many of you. And today those same values are Barack's guiding star. Folks, I've watched
him. He has never wavered, he never, never backs down.
[APPLAUSE]
He always steps up and he always asks in every one of those critical meetings the same fundamental
question, “How is this going to affect the average American? How is this going to affect
people's lives?” That's what is inside this man. That's what makes him tick.
[EXTENDED CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
That's who he is. And folks, because of the decisions he's made, and the incredible strength
of the American people, America has turned a corner. The worst job loss since the Great
Depression, we've since created 4.5 million private-sector jobs in the last 29 months.
[APPLAUSE]
Look though, president -- President Obama and Governor Romney, they're both -- they're
both loving husbands, they're both devoted fathers. But let's be straight, they bring
a vastly different vision and a vastly different value set to the job.
[APPLAUSE]
And tonight -- tonight, although you've heard people talk about it, I'm going to talk about
two things from a slightly different perspective. From my perspective. I like to focus on two
crises and show you -- show you the character of leadership that each man will bring to
this job. Because as I've said, I have had a ringside seat. The first of these, a lot
has been talked about and God love Jennifer Branham. Wasn't she great?
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
Wasn't she great? I love Jennifer. But the first story I want to talk to you about is
the rescue of the automobile industry.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yeah!
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: And let me tell you let me tell you, from this man's ringside
seat, let me tell you about how Barack Obama saved more than a million American jobs. In
the first -- in the first days, literally, the first days that we took office, General
Motors and Chrysler were literally on the verge of liquidation. If the president didn't
act -- if he didn't act immediately, there wouldn't be any industry left to save. So
we sat hour after hour in the oval office. Michelle remembers how it must of -- what
he must have thought when he came back upstairs. We sat, hour after hour. We listened to Senators,
Congressmen, outside advisers, even some of our own advisers, we listen to them to say
some of the following things. They said, well we shouldn't step up. The risks -- the risks
were too high. The outcome was too uncertain. And the president, he patiently sat there
and he listened. But he didn't see it the way they did. He understood something they
didn't get, and one of the reasons I love him. He understood that this wasn't just about
cars, it was about the people who built and made those cars.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
And about the America that those people built. In those meetings -- in those meetings -- in
those meetings, I often thought about my dad. My dad was an automobile man. He would have
been one of those guys all the way down the line, not on the factory floor, not along
the supply chain, but one of those guys who were selling American cars to American people.
I thought about -- I thought about what this crisis would have meant for the mechanics
and the secretaries and the salespeople who my dad managed for over 35 years. And I know
for certain -- I know for certain that my dad, were here today, he'd be fighting like
heck for the president, because the president fought to save the jobs of those people my
dad cared so much about.
[APPLAUSE]
Ladies and gentlemen, my dad -- my dad respected Barack Obama -- would have respected Barack
Obama had he been around, for having had the guts to stand up for the automobile industry
when so many others just were prepared to walk away. You know, when I look back -- when
I look back now -- when I look back on the president's decision, I think of another son
of another automobile man. Mitt Romney -- no, no-- Mitt Romney -- Mitt Romney grew up in
Detroit. My dad managed, his dad owned -- well his dad ran an entire automobile company,
American Motors. Yes, what I don't understand – is that and in spite of that, he was willing
to let Detroit go bankrupt. I don't think he's a bad guy. No -- no, no, I don't think
he's a bad guy. I am sure he grew up loving cars as much as I did. But what I don't understand
-- what I don't think he understood -- I don't think he understood that saving the automobile
worker, saving the industry, what it meant to all of America, not just autoworkers. I
think he saw it the Bain way – no I mean this sincerely. I think he saw it in terms
of balance sheets and write offs. Folks, the Bain way may bring your firm the highest profits,
but it is not the way to lead our country from the highest office.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
When things -- when things -- when things hung in the balance -- when things hung in
the balance, I mean literally hung in the balance, the president understood this was
about a lot more hope than the automobile industry. This was about restoring America's
pride. He understood -- he understood in his gut what it would mean to leave a million
people without hope or work if he didn't act. And he also knew -- he also knew, he intuitively
understood the message that it would have sent around the world if the United States
gave up on an industry that helped put America on the map in the first place.
[APPLAUSE]
Conviction. Resolve. Barack Obama. That is what saved the automobile industry.
[APPLAUSE]
Conviction. Resolve. Barack Obama. Look, you heard my friend John Kerry. This president
-- this president has shown the same result, the same steady hand in his role as commander
in chief. Look -- which brings me to the next illustration. The next crisis he had to face.
In 2008, before he was president, Barack Obama made a promise to the American people. He
said, ``If I have -- if we have bin Laden in our sights, we will -- we will take him
out.'' He went on to say -- he went on to say, ``That has to be our biggest national
security priority.'' Look, Barack understood that the search for Bin Laden was about a
lot more than taking a monstrous leader off the battlefield. It was about more than that.
It was about righting an unspeakable wrong. Literally, it was about healing an unbearable
wound -- a nearly unbearable wound in America's heart. And he also knew -- he also knew the
message we had to send around the world. If you attack innocent Americans, we will follow
you to the end of the earth!
[APPLAUSE]
Look, most of all, President Obama had an unyielding faith in the capacity and the capability
of our special forces. Literally, the finest warriors in the history of the world.
[APPLAUSE]
The finest warriors in the history of the world. So we sat -- we sat originally only five of us. We sat
in the situation room beginning in the fall of the year before. We listened, we talked,
we heard, and he listened, to the risk and reservations about the raid. He asked again
the tough questions, he listened to the doubts that were expressed. But when Admiral Mcraven
looked him in the eye and said, ``sir, we can get this job done''. I sit next to him
and I looked at your husband. And I knew, at that moment, he had made his decision.
And his response was decisive. He said, ``do it'', and justice was done.
[APPLAUSE]
Folks -- folks, Governor Romney didn't see things that way. When he was asked about Bin
Laden in 2007 here's what he said, he said, “It is not worth moving heaven and earth
and spending billions of dollars just to catch one person”.
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Boo.
BIDEN: But he was wrong. He was wrong. Because if you understood that America's heart had
to be healed, you would have done exactly what the president did and you would move
heaven and earth to hunt him down and to bring him to justice.
[APPLAUSE]
Look, four years ago -- four years ago -- only thing missing at this convention this year
is my mom. Four years ago, my mom was still with us, sitting up in the stadium in Denver.
I quoted her -- I quoted her one of her favorite expressions. She used to say to all her children,
she said, “Joey, bravery resides in every heart, and the time will come when it must
be summoned”. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm here to tell you what I think you already
know. I watch it up close. Bravery resides in the heart of Barack Obama. And time and
time again, I witnessed him summon it. This man has courage in his soul, compassion in
his heart, and a spine of steel.
[APPLAUSE]
And, and because -- because of all the actions he took, because of the calls he made, because
of the determination of American workers, and the unparalleled bravery of our special
forces, we can proudly say what you've heard me say the last six months: Osama bin…
AUDIENCE AND BIDEN TOGETHER: …Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
BIDEN: That's right. One man. Folks, we know -- we know we have more work to do. We know
we're not there yet. But not a day has gone by in the last four years when I haven't been
grateful, as an American, that Barack Obama is our president because he always has the
courage to make the tough decisions!
[APPLAUSE]
Speaking of tough decisions -- speaking of tough calls, last week, we heard at the Republican
convention, we heard our opponents, we heard them pledge that they, too, had the courage
to make the tough calls. That's what they said.
[LAUGHTER]
But folks…
[RISING LAUGHTER]
…in case you didn't notice, I say to my fellow Americans, in case you didn't notice,
they didn't have the courage to tell you what calls they'd make. They never mentioned any
of that.
[LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE]
Mrs. Robinson, you -- watched from home, I guess. You heard them talk about how they
cared so much about Medicare. How much they wanted to preserve it. That's what they told
you. Well, let's look at what they didn't tell you. What they didn't tell you is that
the plan to have already put down on paper would immediately cut benefits for more than
30 million seniors already on Medicare. What they didn't tell you -- what they didn't tell
you is the plan they are proposing would cause Medicare to go bankrupt by 2016…
[AUDIENCE BOOS]
…and what they really didn't tell you is, they -- if you want to know -- if you want
to know, they're not for preserving Medicare at all. They're for a new plan. It's called
voucher care.
AUDIENCE: Boo!
AUDIENCE MEMBER: No vouchers!
BIDEN: Look folks, that's not courage. That's not even truthful. That's not even truthful.
In Tampa they talked with great urgency about the nation's debt and the need to act, to
act now. But not once -- not one single time did they tell you that they rejected every
plan put forward by us, by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Commission they referenced
or by any other respected group. To reduce the national debt not for any of them. Why?
Because they're not prepared to do anything about the debt if it contained even one dollar
-- I'm not exaggerating, even one dollar or one cent in new taxes for millionaires. Folks,
that's not courage. And that's not fair.
Look -- look...
[APPLAUSE]
...in a sense this can be reduced to a single notion. The two men seeking to lead this country
over the next four years. As I said at the outset, fundamentally visions and got completely
different values. Governor Romney believes in this global economy, it doesn't matter
much where American companies invest and put their money, or where they create jobs. As
a matter of fact, in his budget proposal -- in his tax proposal he calls for a new tax. It's
called a territorial tax, which the experts have looked at and they acknowledged it will
create 800,000 new jobs. All of them overseas. All of them.
AUDIENCE: Boo!
BIDEN: And what I found -- what I found fascinating, the most fascinating thing I found last week
was when Governor Romney said that as president, he would take a jobs tour. Well with his support
for outsourcing, it’s gonna have to be a foreign trip.
[LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE]
It will! Look, President Obama knows that creating jobs in America, keeping jobs in
America, bringing jobs back to America is what the president's job is all about. That's
what presidents do, or at least supposed to do.
[APPLAUSE]
Folks, Governor Romney believes it's OK to raise taxes on middle- class by $2,000 in
order to pay for another -- literally another trillion dollar tax cut for the very wealthy.
President Obama knows that there's nothing decent or fair about asking people with more
to do less and with less to do more. Governor Romney believes, he believes that kids -- kids
like our Dreamers, those immigrant children –
[AUDIENCE CHEERS]
-- those immigrant children who were brought to America's shores through no fault of their
own, he thinks they're a drag on the American economy. President Obama believes that even
those those Dreamers, those kids didn't choose to come here, they have chosen to do right
by America and it’s time for us to do right by them.
[EXTENDED CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
Governor Romney...
[APPLAUSE]
Governor Romney -- Governor Romney looks at the notion of equal pay in terms of a company's
bottom line. President Obama, he knows that making sure that our daughters get the same
pay for the same jobs as our sons is every father's bottom line.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
Folks...
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
I kind of expected all that from him, but one thing truly perplexed me a their convention,
the thing that perplexed me most was this idea they kept talking about, about the culture
of dependency. They seem to think you create a culture of dependency when you provide a
bright, young, qualified kid from a working-class family, a loan to get to college. Or, when
you provide a job-training program in a new industry for a dad who lost his job because
it was outsourced. Folks -- folks, that's not how we look at it. That's not how America's
ever looked at it. What he doesn't understand is that all these men and women are looking
for is a chance, just a chance to acquire the skills to be able to provide for their
families so they can once again hold their heads high and lead independent lives with
dignity. That's all they are looking for. Look.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
And it literally amazes me they don’t understand that. You know, I told you at the outset the
choice is stark. Two different visions, two different value sets. But at its core, the
difference is ably reduced to be a fundamental difference. You see, we, most Americans have
incredible faith in the decency and hard work of the American people, and we know what has
made this country. It's the American people. As I mentioned at the outset, four years ago
we were hit hard. You saw -- you saw your retirement accounts drained, the equity in
your homes vanish, jobs lost or on the line. But what did you do as Americans? What you've
always done. You didn't lose faith, you fought back. You didn't give up, you got up. You're
the ones. The American people -- you're the reason why we are still better positioned
than any country in the world to lead the 21st century. You'd never quit on America,
and you deserve a president who will never quit on you.
[EXTENDED CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
Folks, there is one more thing -- one more thing that our Republican opponents are just
dead wrong about. America is not in decline. America is not in decline. I've got news for
Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan. Gentlemen, never, ever -- it never makes sense, it's
never been a good bet to bet against the American people. Never.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE CONTINUES WHILE BIDEN SPEAKS]
My fellow Americans, America is coming back, and we're not going back. And we have no intention
of downsizing the American dream.
AUDIENCE: Joe! Joe! Joe! Joe!
BIDEN: Never. Never a good bet. Ladies and gentlemen, in a moment we are going to hear
from a man whose whole life is a testament to the power of that dream…
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Say it, Joe!
…and whose presidency is the best hope to secure that dream for our children. For you
see -- we see a future -- we really honest to god do -- we see a future, where everyone,
rich and poor does their part and has a part. A future where we depend more on clean energy
from home, and less on oil from abroad. A future where we're number one in the world
again in college graduation. A future where we promote the private sector, not the privileged
sector.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
And a future where women once again control their own choices, their destiny, and their
own health care.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
And Ladies and gentlemen, Barack and I see a future, it's in our DNA, where no one -- no
one is forced to live in the shadows of intolerance.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Tell ‘em, Joe!
BIDEN: Folks, we see a future where American-- where America leads not only by power of our
-- the example of our power, but by the power of our example. Where we bring our troops
home from Afghanistan just as we proudly did from Iraq.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
A future, a future where we fulfill the only truly sacred obligation we have as a nation
-- the only truly sacred obligation we have is to prepare those who we send to war and
care for them when they come home from war. And tonight -- tonight I want to acknowledge
– [voice breaking from emotion] I want to acknowledge as we should every night the incredible
debt we owe to the families of those 6,473 fallen angels, and those 49,746 wounded. Thousands
critically. Thousands who will need our help for the rest of their lives. Folks, we never
– [clears throat, stifles sob] we must never ever forget their sacrifice, and always keep
them in our care and in our prayers. My fellow Americans, we now -- we now find ourselves
at the hinge of history. And the direction we turn is not figuratively, it is literally
in your hands. It has been a truly great honor to serve you and to serve with Barack who
has always stood up with you for the past four years. I have seen him tested and I know
his strength, his commands, his faith. I also know his incredible confidence he has in all
of you. I know this man. Yes, the worker recovery is not yet complete, but we are on our way.
The journey of hope is not yet finished, but we are on our way. And the cause of change
is not fully accomplished, but we are on our way. So I say to you tonight, with absolute
confidence, America's best days are ahead of us and, yes, we are on our way.
[ENDURING CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
And in light of that horizon, for the values that define us, for the ideals that inspire
us, there is only one choice. That choice is to move forward -- morally forward, and
finish the job and re-elect President Barack Obama.
[EXTENDED CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
God bless you all, and may god protect our troops. God bless you. Thank you.