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Kerry's Speech

'We Must Stand Together'

Associated Press
Thursday, November 4, 2004; Page A31

Following are excerpts of Sen. John F. Kerry's concession speech yesterday in Boston, as transcribed by eMedia MillWorks Inc.:

I'm sorry that we got here a little bit late and little bit short. I spoke to President Bush, and I offered him and Laura our congratulations on their victory. We had a good conversation, and we talked about the danger of division in our country and the need -- the desperate need -- for unity, for finding the common ground, coming together.

Today I hope that we can begin the healing.

In America, it is vital that every vote count, and that every vote be counted. But the outcome should be decided by voters, not a protracted legal process. I would not give up this fight if there was a chance that we would prevail. But it is now clear that even when all the provisional ballots are counted, which they will be, there won't be enough outstanding votes for us to be able to win Ohio. And therefore we cannot win this election.

My friends, it was here that we began our campaign for the presidency, and all we had was hope and vision for a better America. . . .

I did my best to express my vision and my hopes for America. We worked hard and we fought hard, and I wish that things had turned out a little differently. But in an American election, there are no losers, because whether or not our candidates are successful, the next morning we all wake up as Americans. That is the greatest privilege and the most remarkable good fortune that can come to us on Earth.

With that gift also comes obligation. We are required now to work together for the good of our country. In the days ahead, we must find common cause. We must join in common effort, without remorse or recrimination, without anger or rancor. America is in need of unity and longing for a larger measure of compassion. . . .

Now, more than ever, with our soldiers in harm's way, we must stand together and succeed in Iraq and win the war on terror. . . .

I believe that what we started in this campaign will not end here. Our fight goes on to put America back to work and to make our economy a great engine of job growth. Our fight goes on to make affordable health care an accessible right for all Americans, not privilege. Our fight goes on to protect the environment, to achieve equality, to push the frontiers of science and discovery and to restore America's reputation in the world.

I believe that all of this will happen, and sooner than we may think, because we're America, and America always moves forward. . . .

When we began, no one thought it was possible to even make this a close race. But we stood for real change, change that would make a real difference in the life of our nation and the lives of our families. And we defined that choice to America. . . .

With a grateful heart, I leave this campaign with a prayer that has even greater meaning to me now that I've come to know our vast country so much better, thanks to all of you, and what a privilege it has been to do so. And that prayer is very simple: God bless America.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company