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CONVENTION 2000 / THE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION

'I Will Fight for You'

August 18, 2000

And to me, family values means honoring our fathers and mothers, teaching our children well, caring for the sick, respecting one another--giving people the power to achieve what they want for their families.

Putting both Social Security and Medicare in an iron-clad lockbox where the politicians can't touch them--to me, that kind of common sense is a family value. Hands off Medicare and Social Security trust fund money. I'll veto anything that spends it for anything other than Social Security and Medicare.

Getting cigarettes out of the hands of kids before they get hooked is a family value. I will crack down on the marketing of tobacco to our children, no matter how hard the tobacco companies lobby, no matter how much they spend.

A new prescription drug benefit under Medicare for all our seniors--that's a family value. And let me tell you: I will fight for it, and the other side will not. They give in to the big drug companies. Their plan tells seniors to beg the HMOs and insurance companies for prescription drug coverage.

And that's the difference in this election. They're for the powerful, and we're for the people.

Big tobacco, big oil, the big polluters, the pharmaceutical companies, the HMOs. Sometimes you have to be willing to stand up and say no so families can have a better life. Judge for yourself, look at the attendance, look at the facts.

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.

So I say to you tonight: If you entrust me with the presidency, I will fight for you.

There's one other word that we've heard a lot of in this campaign, and that word is "honor." To me, honor is not just a word but an obligation.

And you have my word: We will honor hard work by raising the minimum wage so that work always pays more than welfare. We will honor families by expanding child care and after-school care and family and medical leave--so working families have the help they need to care for their children--because one of the most important jobs of all is raising our children. And we'll support the right of parents to decide that one of them will stay home longer with their babies if that's what they believe is best for their families.

We will honor the ideal of equality by standing up for civil rights and defending affirmative action. We will honor equal rights and we'll fight for an equal day's pay for an equal day's work.

And let there be no doubt: I will protect and defend a woman's right to choose. The last thing this country needs is a Supreme Court that overturns Roe vs. Wade.

We will remove all the old barriers--so that those who are called disabled can develop all their abilities. And we will also widen the circle of opportunity for all Americans, and we will vigorously enforce all our civil rights laws with the budgets and personnel that are necessary.

And hear me well, we will pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. And we will honor the memory of Matthew Shepard, Joseph Ileto and James Byrd, whose families all joined us this week, by passing a law against hate crimes. It's time.

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We will honor the hard work of raising a family by doing all we can to help parents protect their children.

Parents deserve the simple security of knowing that their children are safe whether they're walking down the street, surfing the World Wide Web, or sitting behind a desk in school.

To make families safer, we passed the toughest crime bill in history, and we're putting 100,000 new community police on our streets. Crime has fallen in every major category for seven years in a row. But there's still too much danger and there's still too much fear. So tonight I want to set another new, specific goal: to cut the crime rate, every year, year after year--every single year throughout this decade. Every single year. That's why I'll fight to add another 50,000 new police--community police who help prevent crime by establishing real relationships between law enforcement and neighborhood residents--which, incidentally, is the opposite of racial profiling, which must be brought to an end.

I will fight for a crime victims' bill of rights, including a constitutional amendment to make sure that victims, and not just criminals, are guaranteed rights in our justice system.

I'll fight to toughen penalties on those who misuse the Internet to prey on our children and violate our privacy.

And I'll fight to make every school in this nation drug-free and gun-free. I believe in the right of sportsmen and hunters and law-abiding citizens to own firearms. But I want mandatory background checks to keep guns away from criminals and mandatory child safety locks to protect our children.

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