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CAMPAIGN 2000 | EXCERPTS OF LIEBERMAN SPEECH

'We Will Expand the Prosperity'

August 17, 2000

Excerpts from remarks by vice presidential candidate Joseph I. Lieberman.

Is America a great country or what? . . .

Tonight, I am so proud to stand as your candidate for vice president of the United States.

Only in America . . .

In my life, I have seen the goodness of this great country through many sets of eyes.

I have seen it through the eyes of my grandmother. She was raised in Central Europe, in a village where she was often harassed just because of the way she worshiped God.

Then, she immigrated to America. . . .

It was a source of endless delight and gratitude for her that here in this country, she was accepted for who she was.

I have seen America through the eyes of my parents, Henry and Marcia Lieberman. My dad lived in an orphanage when he was a child. He went on to work in a bakery truck and then own a package store in Stamford, Conn. . . .

And I have tried to see America through the eyes of people I have been privileged to know.

In the early 1960s, when I was a college student, I walked with Martin Luther King in the March on Washington for jobs and freedom. That was my honor. That was my opportunity.

Later that fall, I went to Mississippi, where we worked to register African Americans to vote.

The people I met never forgot that in America, every time a barrier is broken, the doors of opportunity open wider for every single one of us. . . .

When you try to see the world through other people's eyes, you understand that the smallest changes can make the biggest differences in all of our lives.

That's something I'm sorry to say I don't think our Republican friends really understand.

They're fond of dismissing the extraordinary achievements of the past eight years. But at the end of the day, the people I talk with, the real people on the street, tell me that their lives are better than they were eight years ago. They want it to continue, they want the prosperity to continue.

Our opponents are decent and likable men. . . . but America must understand: There are very real differences between us in this election.

Two weeks ago, our Republican friends tried to walk and talk a lot like us. Did you notice?

But let's be honest about this: We may be near Hollywood tonight, but not since Tom Hanks won an Oscar has there been that much acting in Philadelphia.

I am glad the GOP has changed their rhetoric, but you know what, I wish they would also change their policies. . . .

I think it's a good thing that our opponent talks about the environment.

But I'm sad to say that in Texas, the quality of the air and water is some of the worst in America.

We see the environment through a different set of eyes. . . .

And it's a good thing that our opponent is talking about health care.

But I'm sad to say that . . . Texas led the nation in the percentage of residents who did not have insurance. Today, it ranks next to last for health insurance for both women and children. We see health care through a different set of eyes . . .

And, I think it's a good thing that our opponent talks about education.

Schools need to be held to the highest standards of performance and accountability.

But I'm sad to say their plan doesn't provide the resources our schools need to meet those high standards. . . .

We see education through a different set of eyes. . . .

This is a question of priorities.

Our opponents want to use America's hard-earned surplus to give a tax break to those who need it least. . . .

Their tax plan operates under that old theory that the best way to feed the birds is to give more oats to the horse.

We see the surplus through a different set of eyes, the eyes of working middle-class families. . . .

We Democrats will expand the prosperity--they will squander it. . . .

And this party will reform campaign finance, because it is only Al Gore, and not George W. Bush, who will send the McCain-Feingold bill to Congress and sign it when it's passed.

For those of you at home who haven't made up your mind how to vote in this election, if you want to build on our prosperity, if you want progress not partisanship in Washington, if you want to reform the system and not retreat from the problems, then I respectfully say to you, your choice is clear. Al Gore and I are the guys who are ready to do the job. . . .

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