Fellow Democrats, fellow citzens:
I thank you for the nomination you have offered me. And I especially thank you for choosing as my running mate the best partner any president has ever had -- our first and only choice -- Fritz Mondale.
With gratitude and with determination, i accept your nomination.
I am proud to run on a sound and progressive platform that you have hammered out in this convention.
Fritz and I will wage a campaign that defines the real issues -- a campaign that respects the intelligence of the American people -- a campaign that talks sense -- and we are going to whip the Republicans in November.
We will win because we are the party of a great president who knew how to get reelected -- Franklin D. Roosevelt. We are the party of a courageous fighter who knew how to give 'em hell -- Harry Truman. As Truman said , he just told the truth and the Republicans thought it was hell. We are the party of a gallant man of spirit -- John F. Kennedy. And a leader of compassion -- Lyndon Johnson. And a big-hearted man who should have been president and would have been one of the greatest presidents of all time -- Hubert Humphrey. And we are the party of Gov. Jerry Brown and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. Appeal to Kennedy
Let me say a personal word to Sen. Kennedy. Ted, you're a tough competitor and a superb campaigner -- I can attest to that. Your speech before this convention was a magnificent statement of what the Democratic Party has meant to the people of our country -- and why a Democratic victory is so important this year. I reach out tonight to you and to those who supported you in your valiant and passionate campaign.
Ted, your party needs -- and I need -- your idealism and dedication working for us. There is no doubt that even greater service lies ahead of you -- and we are grateful to have your strong partnership now in the larger cause to which your own life has been dedicated. We'll make great partners this fall whipping the Republicans.
We're Democrats. We have had our differences, but we share a bright vision of America's future -- a vision of good life for all our people -- a vision of a secure nation, a just society, a peaceful world, a strong America -- confident and proud and united.
Forty years ago, President Franklin Roosevelt said that there are times in our history when concerns over our personal lives are overshadowed by concern for "what will happen to the country we have known." This is such a time -- and I tell you that the choice to be made this year can transform both our personal lives and the life of our country.
During the last presidential campaign, I criss-crossed our country and listened to many thousands of people -- housewives and farmers, teachers and small business leaders, workers and students, the elderly and the poor -- people f every race and background and walk of life. It was a powerful experience -- a total immersion in the vast human reality of America. p
I have now had another kind of total immersion -- being president of the United States. Let me talk for a moment about what that job is like -- and what I have learned from it.
I have learned that only the most complex and difficult tasks end up in the Oval Office. No easy answers are found there -- because no easy questions come there.
I have learned that for a president experience is the best guide to right decisions. I am wiser tonight than I was four years ago.
I have learned that the presidency is a place of compassion. My own heart is burdened for troubled Americans. The poor, the jobless and the afflicted -- they have become part of me. My thoughts and prayers for our hostages in Iran are as though they were my own sons and daughters.
The life of every human being on ear th can depend on the experience, judgment and vigilance of the person in the Oval Office. The president's power for building and his power for destruction are awesome. And that power is greatest exactly where the stakes are highest -- in matters of war and peace.
I have learned something something else -- something that I have come to see with extraordinary clarity. Above all, I must look ahead -- because the president of the United States is the steward of the nation's destiny.
He must protect our children -- and the children they will have -- and the children of generations to follow. He must speak and act for them. That is his burden -- and his glory.
And that is why a president cannot yield to the short-sighted demands of special interests, no matter how rich or powerful they are. That is why the president cannot bend to the passions of the moment, however popular they may be. That is why the president must sometimes ask for sacrifice when his listeners would rather hear the promise of comfort.
The president is the servant of today. But his true constituency is the future. That is why this election of 1980 is so important.
Some have said it makes no difference what happens in this election. They are wrong. Choice Between Two Futures
This election is a stark choice between two men, two parties, two sharply different pictures of America and the world. But it is more than that.
It is a choice between two futures. The year 2000 is less than 20 years away -- just four presidential elections after this one. Children born this year will come of age in the 21st Century.
The time to shape the world of the year 2000 is now. The decisions of the next few years will set our course, perhaps an irreversible course -- and the most important of all choices will be made by the American people at the polls less than three months from tonight.
The choice could not be more clear -- nor the consequences more crucial.
In one of the furtures we can choose -- the future we have been building together -- I see security, justice and peace.
I see a future of economic security -- security that will come from tapping our own great resources of oil and gas, coal and sunlight -- and from building the tools, technology and factories for a revitalized economy based on jobs and stable prices for all.
I see a future of justice -- the justice of good jobs, decent health care and quality education, and the full opportunity for all people, regardless of color or language or religion; the simple human justice of equal rights for all men -- and for all women, guaranteed equal rights at last -- in the Constitution of the United States.
And I see a future of peace -- a peace born of wisdom and based on fairness toward all the countries of the world -- a peace guaranteed both by American military strength and by American moral strength.
That is the future I want for all people -- a future of confidence and hope and a good life. It is the future America must choose -- and with your help and your commitment, it is the future America will choose. The Wrong Road
But there is another possible future.
In that other future, I see despair -- the despair of millions who would have to struggle for equal opportunity and a better life -- struggle alone.
I see surrender -- the surrender of our energy future to the merchants of oil; the surrender of our economic future to a bizarre program of massive tax cuts for the rich, massive service cuts for the poor and massive inflation for everyone.
I see risk -- the risk of international confrontation; the risk of an uncontrollable, unaffordable, and unwinnable nuclear arms race.
No one, Democrat or Republican, consciously seeks such a future. I do not claim that my opponent does. But I do question the disturbing commitments and policies already made by him and by those with him who have now captured control of the Republican Party.
The consequences of those commitments and policies would drive us down the wrong road. It is up to all of us to make sure America rejects this alarming, even perilous destiny.
The only way to build a better future is to start with the realities of the present. But while we Democrats grapple with the real challenges of a real world, others talk about a world of tinsel and make-believe.
Let's look for a moment at their make-believe world.
In their fantasy America, inner-city people, farm workers and laborers are forgotten. Women, like children, are to be seen but not heard. The problems of working women simply do not exist. The elderly do not need Medicare.The young do not need more help for a better eduation. Workers do not require the guarantee of a healthy and safe place to work.
In their fantasy world, all the complex global changes since World War II have never happened. In their fantasy America, all problems have simple solutions. Simple -- and wrong.
It is a make-believe world of good guys and bad guys, where some politicians shoot first and ask questions later.
No hard choices. No sacrifices. No tough decisions. It sounds too good to be true -- and it is.
The path of fantasy leads to irresponsibility. The path of reality leads to hope and peace. The two paths could not be more different. Nor could the futures to which they lead. Stronger Defense
Let's take a look at the consequences of our choice.
You and I have been working toward a secure future by rebuilding our military strength -- steadily, carefully and responsibly. The Republicans talk about military strength -- but they were in office for eight out of the last 11 years -- and in the face of a growing Soviet threat they steadily cut real defense spending -- by more than a third.
We have reversed the Republican decline in defense. Every year since I have been President, we have made real increases in our commitment to a stronger defense -- increases which are prudent and rational. There is no doubt that the United States can meet any threat from the Soviet Union.
Our modernized strategic forces, a revitalized NATO, the Trident submarine, the cruise missile, the Rapid Deployment Force -- all these guarantee that we will never be second to any nation. Deeds, not words -- fact, not fiction.
We must and will continue to build our own defenses. We must and will continue to seek balanced reductions in nuclear arms.
The new leaders of the Republican Party, in order to close the gap between their rhetoric and their record, have now promised to launch an all-out nuclear arms race. This would negate any further chance for a mutual and balanced reduction in nuclear weapons.
There can be no winners in such an arms race -- and all the people on earth could be the losers.
The Republican nominee advocates abandoning arms control policies which have been supported by every Democratic president since Truman and every Republican president since Eisenhower. This radical and irresponsible course would threaten our security -- and could put the whole world in peril.
You and I must never let this come to pass.
It is simple to call for a new arms race. But when armed aggression threatens world peace, tough-sounding talk is not enough. A president must act -- responsibly. Response to Aggression
When Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan, we moved quickly to take action. I suspended some grain sales to the Soviet Union, called for draft registration, and -- joined whole-heartedly by the Congress and the U.S. Olympics Committee -- led more than 60 other nations in boycotting the big Soviet propaganda show -- the Moscow Olympics.
The Republican leader opposed two of these forceful but peaceful actions and waffled on the third. But when asked what he would do about aggression in Southwest Asia, he suggested blockading Cuba. Even his running mate could not go along with that.
He does not seem to know what to do with the Russians. He is not sure if he wants to feed them, play with them or fight with them.
As I look back at my first term, I am grateful that we have had for our country a full four years of peace. And that is what we want for the next four years -- peace.
It is only common sense that if America is to stay secure and at peace, we must encourage others to be peaceful as well.
We have helped Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, where we stood firm for racial justice and democracy. And we have helped in the Middle East. Some have criticized the Camp David Accords and delays in the implementation of the Middle East peace treaty.
Before I became president there was no Camp David Accord and there was no peace treaty. Before, Israel and Egypt were poised across barbed wire, confronting each other with guns and tanks and planes. Afterward, they talked face-to-face with each other across a peace table -- and now they also communicate through their own ambassadors in Cairo and Tel Aviv.
That is the kind of future we Democrats are working to bring to the Middle East.
I am proud that fully half of the aid that our country has given Israel in the 32 years of her existence has come during my administration. Unlike our Republican predecessors, we have never stopped nor slowed that aid. And as long as I am president, we will not do so. Our commitment is clear: security and peace for Israel, peace, for all peoples of the Middle East.
If the world is to have a future of freedom as well as peace America must continue to defend human rights. The new Republican leaders oppose our human rights policy. They want to scrap it.
They seem to think it is naive for America to stand up for freedom and democracy. Just what do they think our country should stand for?
Ask the former political prisoners who now live in freedom if we should abandon our stand on human rights.
Ask the dissidents in the Soviet Union about our commitment to human rights.
Ask the Hungarian-Americans, the Polish-Americans. Listen to Pope John Paul II.
Ask those who are suffering for the sake of justice and liberty around the world.
Ask the millions who have fled tyranny if America should stop speaking out for American principles.
Ask the American people. As long as I am president, we will hold high the banner of human rights.
Here at home, the choice between the two futures is equally important. Policy on Energy
In the long run, nothing is more crucial to our future than energy -- and nothing was so disastrously neglected in the past.
Long after the 1973 Arab oil embargo, the Republicans in the White House had still done nothing to meet this treat to our nation's security. Then, as now, their policy was dictated by the big oil companies.
We Democrats fought hard to rally our nation behind a comprehensive energy program -- a new foundation for challenging and exciting progress. Now, after three years of struggle, we have that program.
The battle to secure America's energy future has been fully and finally joined. Americans have cooperated with dramatic results.
We have reversed decades of dangerous and growing dependence on foreign oil. We are now importing 20 percent less oil. That is 1 1/2 million barrels less every day than when I first took office.
And now with our new energy policy finally in place, we can discover more, produce more, create more, and conserve more energy -- and we will use American resources, American technology, and millions of American workers to do it.
What do the Republicans propose?
Basically their energy program has two parts.
The first part is to get rid of almost everything we have accomplished for the American public over the last three years.
They want to reduce or abolish the synthetic fuels program. They want to slash the solar energy incentives, the conservation programs, aid to mass transit, and aid to the elderly to help pay fuel bills.
They want to eliminate the 55-mph speed limit. And while they are at it, the Republicans would like to gut the Clean Air Act. They never liked it to begin with.
That's one part of their program.
The other part is worse.
To replace what we have built, here is what they propose: to destroy the windfall profits tax, and to "unleash" the oil companies and let them solve the energy problem for us.
That's it. That is their whole program. There isn't any more.
Can this nation accept such an outrageous program? No! We Democrats will fight it every step of the way. Economic Turning Point
When I took office, I inherited a heavy load of serious economic problems besides energy -- and we have met them head-on. We have slashed government regulation and put free enterprise back into the airline, trucking and financial systems of our country -- and we are now doing the same for the railroads.This is the greatest change in the relationship between business and government since the New Deal. We have increased our nation's exports dramatically. We reversed the decline in basic research and development. We have created more than 8 million new jobs -- the biggest three-year increase in history.
But the road has been bumpy, and last year's skyrocketing OPEC oil prices helped trigger a worldwide inflation crisis.
We took forceful action, and interest rates have now fallen, the dollar is stable and, although we still have a battle on our hands, we are struggling to bring inflation under control.
We are now at a critical turning point in our economic history. Because we made the hard decisions -- because we guided our economy through a rough but essential period of transition -- we have laid the groundwork for a new economic age.
Our economic renewal program for the 1980s will meet our immediate need for jobs by attacking the very same long-term problems that caused unemployment and inflation in the first place. It will move America simultaneously towards our five great economic goals -- lower inflation, better productivity, revitalization of American industry, energy security, and jobs.
It is time to put all America back to work -- not in make-work, but in real work.
There is real work in modernizing American industry and creating new industries for America.
Here are just a few things we will build together:
New industries to turn our coal and shale and farm products into fuel for our cars and trucks, and to turn the light of the sun into heat and electricity for our homes;
A modern transportation system for railbeds and ports to make American coal into a powerful rival of OPEC oil;
Industries that will provide the convenience of communications and futuristic computer technology to serve millions of American homes, offices and factories:
Job training for workers displaced by economic changes.
New investment pinpointed in regions and neighborhoods where jobs are needed most.
Better mass transit in our cities and between them.
And a whole new generation of American homes and vehicles and buildings that will house us and move us in comfort -- on a lot less energy.
I have no doubt that the ingenuity and dedication of the American people can make every single one of these things happen. We are talking about the United States of America -- and those who count this country out as an economic superpower are going to find out how wrong they are.
We will share in the exciting enterprise of making the 1980s a time of growth in America. GOP Tax Giveaway
The Republican alternative is the biggest tax giveaway in American history. They call it Reagan-Kemp-Roth. I call it a free lunch Americans cannot afford.
The Republican tax program offers rebates to the rich, deprivation to the poor and fierce inflation to the rest of us. Their party's own vice presidential nominee said that Reagan-Kemp-Roth would mean an inflation rate of more than 30 percent. He called it "voodoo economics." He suddenly changed his mind toward the end of the Republican convention, but he was right the first time.
Along with this gigantic tax cut, the new Republican leaders promise to protect retirement and health programs, and to make massive increases in defense spending. And they claim they can balance the budget.
If they are serious about these promises -- and they say they are -- then a close analysis shows that the entire rest of the government would have to be abolished -- everything from education to farm programs to the GI Bill to the night watchman at the lincoln Memorial. And the federal budget would still be in the red.
The only alternative would be to build more printing presses to print cheap money. Either way the American people lose. But the American people won't stand for it.
The Democratic Party has always embodied the hope of our people for justice, opportunity and a better life. We have worked in every way to strengthen the American family, to encourage self-reliance, and to follow the Old Testament admonition: "Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy." (Psalms 82:3) We have struggled to assure that no child in America goes to bed hungry, that no elderly couple lives in a substandard home and that no young person is excluded from college because the family is poor.
What have the Republicans proposed? Just an attack on almost every achievement in social justice and decency we have won in the last 50 years -- since Franklin Roosevelt's first term. They would make Social Security voluntary. They would reverse our progress on the minimum wage, full employment laws, safety in the work place and a healthy environment. w
Lately the Republicans have been quoting Democratic presidents -- who can blame them" Whom would you rather quote -- Herbert Hoover or FDR? Richard Nixon or John F. Kennedy?
The Republicans have always been the party of privilege, but this year their new leaders have gone even further. In their platform, they have repudiated the best traditions of their own party.
Where is the conscience of Lincoln in the party of Lincoln? What has become of the traditional Republican belief in fiscal responsibility? What has happened to their commitment to safe and sane arms control? We Have Told the Truth
I do not claim perfection for the Democratic Party. I do not claim that every decision we have made has been right or popular. Certainly they have not all been easy.But I will say this:
We have been tested under fire. We have neither ducked nor hidden. We have tackled the great, central issues in our nation, the historic challenges of energy and peace which had been ignored for years. We have made tough decisions and we have taken the heat for them. We have made mistakes, and we have learned from them. Now we have built the foundation for a better future.
We have done something else -- something perhaps even more important. In good times and bad, in the valleys and on the peaks, we have told the people the truth -- the hard truth -- that truth that sometimes hurts. t
The truth is that we Americans have earned our dream of progress and peace. Look at what our land has been through just within our own memory -- a great Depression, a World War, a technological explosion, the Civil Rights revolution, the bitterness of Vietnam, the shame of Watergate, the twilight peace of nuclear terror.
Through each of these momentous experiences we have learned somthing about the world and about ourselves. We have matured and grown stronger as a nation.
We have learned the uses and the limits of power. We have learned the beauty and the responsibility of freedom. We have learned the value and the obligation of justice -- and we have learned the necessity of peace.
Some argue that to master these lessons is somehow to limit our potential. That is not so. A nation which knows its true strengths, see its true challenges, understands legitimate constraints -- that nation -- our nation -- is far stronger than one which takes refuge in wishful thinking or nostalgia.
The Democratic Party -- and the American people -- have understood these fundamental truths.
All of us can sympathize with the desire for easy answers. There is often the temptation to substitute idle dreams for hard reality.
The new Republican leaders are hoping that this year America will give in to the temptation. But they profoundly misunderstand the character of the American people.
Three weeks after Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill came to North America -- and said:
"We have not journeyed all this way across the centuries, across the oceans, across the mountains, across the prairies because we are made of sugar candy."
We Americans have courage. I Want What You Want
Americans have always been on the cutting edge of change. We have always looked forward with anticipation and confidence I still want what all of you want -- self-reliant neighborhoods and strong families; work for the able-bodied and good medical care for the sick; opportunity for our youth and dignity for the old; equal rights and justice for all our people.
I want teachers eager to explain what a civilization really is -- and students to understand their own needs and their own aims, but also the needs and yearnings of their neighbors. I want women free to pursue without limit the full life they want for themselves.
I want our farmers growing crops to feed the nation and the world, secure in the knowledge that the family farm will thrive and with a fair return on the work they do for all of us. I want workers to see meaning in the labor they perform -- and work enough to guarantee a job for every worker. I want people in business to be bold and free to pursue new ideas. I want minority citizens fully to join the mainstream of American life, and I want the blight of discrimination forever wiped away from our land.
Join me in fulfilling of that vision. The choice -- the choice between the two paths to the future -- could not be more clear. If we succumb to a world of fantasy we will wake up to a nightmare. But if we start with reality and fight to make our dreams a reality -- all Americans will have a good life, a life of meaning and purpose in a nation strong and secure.
Above all, I want us to be what the founders of our nation meant us to become -- the land of freedom, the land of peace, the land of hope.