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Edwards: "We didn't used to be the country of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib" (Announcement Transcript)

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JohnLocke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 12:03 AM
Original message
Edwards: "We didn't used to be the country of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib" (Announcement Transcript)
Edited on Fri Dec-29-06 12:11 AM by JohnLocke
MODS: I believe speech transcripts are exempt from the four-paragraph rule; please correct if I'm wrong.
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John Edwards Announces Bid for 2008 Democratic Presidential Nomination
TRANSCRIPT HIGHLIGHTS
----
EDWARDS: Good morning. I'm here in New Orleans to -- in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans to announce that I'm a candidate for the presidency of the United States in the election in 2008.
The reason I'm here -- actually, the best explanation of the reason I'm announcing here in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans are these young people who are behind me right here and who worked with me yesterday at this house just over to my right.
New Orleans, in so many ways, shows the two Americas that I have talked about in the past and something that I feel very personally. And it also exemplifies something that I've learned since the last election, which is that it's great to see a problem and to understand it. It's more important to actually take action and do something about it.
(...)
And what I've seen -- I learned a lot in the last campaign, which some of you heard me talk about -- but I've actually learned more since the last campaign, because I've seen firsthand what actually happens when, instead of waiting for somebody else to take care of our problems, we do something.
We were concerned about the Congress not having raised the minimum wage, so we went out to six states -- not just be, my by the way; there were a lot of people involved in this -- went out to six states and got it on the ballot and raised the minimum wage in six states in America, which is a good thing.
We've made college available to young kids who are actually willing to work while they're in college for their tuition and books. We've organized thousands of workers around this country so that they can have a voice and have decent wages and decent benefits. It's helped strengthen America, strengthen the middle class and grow the middle class in this country, which is important for all of us.
(...)
And it is a mistake -- I want to be absolutely clear about this -- it is a mistake for America to escalate its role in Iraq. It is a mistake to surge troops into Iraq. It sends exactly the wrong signal to the Iraqis and the rest of the world about what our intentions are there.
So it's not -- and by the way, it's not just Iraq that'll help establish America's leadership role in the world again. We have to show that we have the moral authority to lead. You can't lead through raw power.
And in order to do that, we're going to have to lead on things that, at least in the short term, seem like they're beyond our self- interests, things like the genocide in Sudan and Darfur. We said after Rwanda we'd never let anything like this happen again. Well, it's happening right now. America needs to lead.
I was in Uganda a few weeks ago where there are huge atrocities going on in northern Uganda. America can make an enormous difference there. I was there with the International Rescue Committee, who are another group of Americans that are making a huge difference in the world.
There's so many opportunities -- global warming, which is a huge moral issue for America and for the entire world.
We need to ask Americans to be willing to be patriotic about something beyond war. We need to ask America to be willing to conserve, to take the steps necessary to get off our addiction to oil, to create a new energy economy in this country.
(...)
You know, we've got 46 million, 47 million people without health care coverage? When are we finally going to say, "America needs universal health care"? Because we do. We need it desperately.
(...)
But we should be the example for the rest of the world. We're not the only ones that saw these pictures that came out of New Orleans. The whole world saw. And we need to show that the most powerful nation on the Earth won't stand by and let this continue.
So whether it's poverty, energy, health care, demonstrating that we are once again the beacon for the rest of the world, which is what we need to be, not just for us, but also for them -- because when America doesn't lead, there is no stability. We are the stabilizing force in the world. We are the preeminent power in the world. And we need to maintain that power, we need to maintain our strength. That what allows us -- gives us the capacity to lead.
(...)
We ought to be patriotic to do something about global warming. I don't mean in an abstract way. I mean, we've made mistakes in the past. We walked away from Kyoto unilaterally, which was, in my judgment, a serious mistake.
(...)
And this is another example of a place where Americans can get off their addiction to oil, we can drive more fuel-efficient vehicles, we can invest in some of the cleaner alternative sources of energy -- wind, solar, biomass. There are a whole series of things that we need to do.
Because it's not just, by the way, a global warming or an energy security question, it's also a national security question, because it drives so much of our policy, particularly in the Middle East. And that has got to change.
(...)
The answer to that question is, we do need, in my judgment, to get rid of some of the tax cuts that have been put in place, particularly for people at the top. I think that it may be necessary to put in place a tax on some of the windfall profits that oil companies are making in order to implement some of these changes that I've just talked about.
I think it's also really important that we be honest with people. We're in a -- we've gotten in a deep hole, in terms of our deficit. We have investments that need to be made. I've talked about some of them: Investments to strengthen the middle class; investments to end poverty; universal health care, which I'm completely committed to; some of these energy proposals that I've talked about briefly here today.
Those things cost money. So we're going to have to invest if we're going to transform America the way it needs to be transformed to make us successful in the 21st century, which is going to require rolling back some of these tax cuts, in my judgment, that have been put into place.
(...)
EDWARDS: Of course, there is. And my own view about this is, this was a place where presidential leadership would have been critical. I really do believe that. I think if the president of the United States had come to New Orleans, spent some time here -- I mean, the president has a lot of responsibilities. He can't stake himself out for the long term in New Orleans, but he should have spent a period of days here, saw what was actually happening on the ground, and then demanded action.
EDWARDS: Should have had somebody at a high level coming into his office every day -- if I'd been president, I would have had somebody coming into my office every morning, and I would say to him, "What did you do in New Orleans yesterday?"
And then the next day, "What did you do yesterday? What steps do we need to take? What are we not doing? What are the people in New Orleans telling us that we're not doing?"
(...)
QUESTION: Senator, your call to action seems, at this point, a little bit vague or non-specific. What specifically are you saying that you want people to do, when you talk about the responsibility the people have?
EDWARDS: We're going to have a whole series of things that we're going to ask people to do, very specific.
For example, in January, January 27th, we will have a national call to action day, where we ask people to do a very specific thing. Let me give you some examples of what I think we can do -- the best examples, by the way, in terms of what's possible are the things I've actually seen done in the past: raising the minimum wage, making college available to kids who are willing to work when they're in college, the humanitarian work I saw occur in Uganda, the work that has been done to organize workers all over this country. The government had, basically, nothing to do with any of that.
(...)
QUESTION: Senator, you've done a lot of international travel recently, but some of your critics say all that's done is highlight how little experience you have in international and especially military affairs.
And in this age of the war on terror and the war in Iraq, why would the American people select as the commander in chief somebody with a relatively modest amount of experience in those areas?
EDWARDS: It's a very fair question and it's a question that I would ask if I were deciding who I thought should be the next commander in chief and the president of the United States.
My answer to that question is that what I've done over the last couple of years -- I've been all over the world, met with leaders, met with the people all over the world. And it's been helpful to me. It's given me some depth and understanding that didn't exist before that time.
EDWARDS: But if you look at what's happened over the last six years, we've had one of the most experienced foreign policy teams in American history -- Rumsfeld, Cheney. They've been an absolute disaster by any measure. Rumsfeld just resigned under -- resigned or was asked to quit by the president of the United States.
I don't think anybody in America thinks those people have done a good job, and they were extraordinarily experienced.
Experience, number one, doesn't equal good judgment, and, number two, doesn't indicate that you have a vision, long-term vision for what America should be doing, and, secondly, that you can adapt to a rapidly changing world. Because we've seen no capacity to be mobile, to be able to move when the environment changes, when the world changes.
(...)
My vote -- for those of you who can't hear, he asked if I wish I could take back my vote on the war. My vote was a mistake and I should never have voted for this war. I now know that. I came to that conclusion some time ago. I didn't do it for the first time here today.
I do think it's important to note, for anybody who voted for the war, that we didn't conduct the war. Bush, Cheney, those people -- Rumsfeld, they conducted the war. And they've been an absolute disaster in the conducting of the war.
But none of that changes or affects my responsibility. I'm responsible for what I did.
And I believe that my vote was a mistake. I also feel a responsibility now to tell the truth about the circumstances we're in, which are very, very difficult.
I think America -- my own view is I think America can accept that we can't guarantee what the results are going to be in Iraq, no matter what path we take. And I think we should be honest with people about that.
(...)
Yes. The answer's yes. The question was, should we be a part of the International Criminal Court? The answer's yes. America -- when America doesn't engage in these international institutions, when we show disrespect for international agreements, it makes it extraordinarily difficult when we need the world community to rally around us to get them there.
(...)
You know, we didn't used to be the country of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. We were the great light for the rest of the world, and America needs to be that light again. And we can -- and we can be that light again. Thank you all very much.
----
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...
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Hieronymus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 12:05 AM
Response to Original message
1. I support John Edwards too.
:hi:
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JohnLocke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 12:06 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Hi!
:hi: ;)
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Erika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 12:08 AM
Response to Original message
3. Edwards has a vision and hope
Such a refreshing change from the gloom and doom of the GOP where we must funnel all our money to protect us from those evil doers to the oil/defense industry.
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JohnLocke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 12:17 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. True.
:)
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Triana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 12:09 AM
Response to Original message
4. "My vote was a mistake and I should never have voted for this war"
I'd like to hear other Dems who voted for that war admit their mistake as readily as Edwards. (Hillary?) He acknowledged it, admitted it. That wins him points with me.

He's honest, decent, and very common-sense. I LIKE him.
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pstans Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 12:17 AM
Response to Original message
6. Here's info from the event in Des Moines
Edited on Fri Dec-29-06 12:17 AM by pstans
I attended and wrote about it here... http://commoniowan.blogspot.com/2006/12/report-from-edw...

And here is a recap with direct quotes... http://learfield.typepad.com/radioiowa/2006/12/tomorrow...
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JohnLocke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 12:28 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Wow, cool.
Thanks for the link, I'll keep up with that blog.
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President Jesus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 12:33 AM
Response to Original message
8. Thousands of Japanese-Americans say 'Wha?'
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Ghost in the Machine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 12:52 AM
Response to Original message
9. I've been a fan of John Edwards since the 1st time I saw him speak.
The man has a passion burning in him, and you can see it in his eyes and hear it in his voice. John Edwards is the real deal. He's well spoken and articulate.... and educated too! He doesn't need teleprompters or ear pieces to give a speech... I think that's the lawyer in him. After all, there are no telepromters in a court room where you have to state your case, know facts, remember details, etc. This isn't a man who has been mollycoddled all his life and never been held to account for anything. John Edwards has my support and vote.




PEACE!

Ghost
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JohnLocke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 09:31 AM
Response to Original message
10. Kick (nt).
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Catchawave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 09:45 AM
Response to Original message
11. That was an inspiring speech.....
I swear, Cspan had it on a continuous loop yesterday, replayed often :D
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JohnLocke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-30-06 11:32 PM
Response to Original message
12. Kick (nt).
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JohnLocke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-31-06 10:45 AM
Response to Original message
13. Kick (nt).
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