September 15, 2016
Hillary Clinton returned to the campaign trail Thursday, four days after her fainting spell. She spoke at a campaign rally in Greensboro, North Carolina. Read the full transcript below:
Thank you. Thank you all. Hello, everyone. It’s great to be here at UNC Greensboro. I want to thank Martha for that wonderful introduction. It means so much to have her here along with her wonderful daughter, Sara, and her mother, Barbara. And the story she told is really one that motivates me every day because it is kids like Sara that led me to politics in the first place to try to make our country and our world better for them. So to see Sara grown up and thriving is very special, and your whole family’s support really means the world to me. Thank you, Martha, Sara, Barbara
I have to say it’s great to be back on the campaign trail. As you may know, I recently had a cough that turned out to be pneumonia. I tried to power through it, but even I had to admit that maybe a few days of rest would do me good. And I’m not great at taking it easy, even under ordinary circumstances. But with just two months to go until Election Day? Sitting at home was pretty much the last place I wanted to be.
But it turns out having a few days to myself was actually a gift. I talked with some old friends. I spent time with our very sweet dogs. I did some thinking. The campaign trail doesn’t really encourage reflection, and it’s important to sit with your thoughts every now and then. And that did help me reconnect with what this whole campaign is about.
People like me – we’re lucky. When I’m under the weather – now, I just want to have a conversation, and other people can wave their arms and their signs. But I want you to think with me for a minute about how I certainly feel lucky. When I’m under the weather, I can afford to take a few days off. Millions of Americans can’t. They either go to work sick, or they lose a paycheck, don’t they?
Lots of Americans still don’t even have insurance, or they do but it’s too expensive for them to actually use. So they toss back some Tylenols, they chug orange juice, and they hope that the cough or the virus goes away on its own.
Lots of working parents can’t afford childcare, which in many states costs as much as college tuition. So for millions of moms and dads, if they get sick, there’s no backup. They’re on their own, aren’t they?
That’s the story for too many people still in America. When illness strikes, or an accident happens, you feel you’re on your own. If you lose your job or can’t afford college, you’re on your own. If your aging parent starts needing more help, and you don’t know what to do, you’re on your own.
Life events like these are catastrophic for some families, but mere bumps in the road for others. I have met so many people living on a razor’s edge, one illness away from losing their job, one paycheck away from losing their home. And that goes against everything we stand for as Americans. Because some things should not come down to luck. Some things should be within reach for everyone, no matter what. Like financial security. Like affordable health care. Like the peace of mind that comes with knowing that if something goes wrong, your family will be okay. And above all, the knowledge that no matter what, your president is fighting for you and will always have your back.
That right there, that’s why I got into this race. I am running for everyone working hard to support their families, everyone who’s been knocked down but gets back up. The factory workers on their feet all day, and the nurses looking after patients all night. I’m running for young people like so many of you here, who dream of changing our world for the better, and for all the parents and grandparents supporting those dreams by dedicating every dollar they can spare to your education.
I’m running for the LGBT teenager here in North Carolina who sees your governor sign a bill legalizing discrimination and suddenly feels like a second-class citizen. And if anyone wonders what the costs of discrimination are, just ask the people and businesses of North Carolina. Look at what’s happening with the NCAA and the ACC. This is where bigotry leads, and we can’t afford it – not here, not anywhere else in America.
I’m running for women like Janelle Turner. Back in May of last year, Janelle was diagnosed with breast cancer. She went through nearly six months of very tough treatments. Last October, she brought her eight-year-old daughter to one of our rallies in Iowa and they made a huge sign that read, ‘Thirteenth chemo yesterday. Three more. Hear me roar!’ Wouldn’t you want to meet the woman behind that sign? Well, I sure did. So we got talking, and we’ve stayed in touch. She keeps promising me she’ll see me at the inauguration. And I tell her I’ll keep working to get there, but she’d better be there too.
I’m running for her and all the mothers and fathers trying to get and stay healthy so they can be there for their kids. But perhaps most of all, I’m running for those kids. Standing up for children has been the work of my life. As a lawyer with the Children’s Defense Fund, as First Lady in Arkansas, in the White House, as a Senator, I have fought for kids housed in adult jails, kids who have been neglected and abused, kids who couldn’t get health insurance because of pre-existing conditions, kids with disabilities so they could go to school. You heard today from someone I’ve known for a long time, now grown up and a lovely young woman, Anastasia Somoza. I learned from my family and my Methodist faith that we are each called to do all the good we can for all the people we can for however long we can. And to me, that means making sure all our children have the chance to live up to their God-given potentials.
So when I meet a little girl in Nevada terrified that her parents are going to be deported, it hits me right in the gut. When I meet a little boy in Flint, Michigan, who can’t drink the water at home or in school because it’s poisoned with lead, that gets me going. All I want to do is get to work making things better for them.
That’s why I care so much about national security too. I want to give our kids a safer world. To me, that means a world with strong allies, more friends, fewer enemies, and fewer nuclear weapons. It also means leading the fight against climate change so we can leave our kids a health planet.
My opponent in this race disagrees with me on every one of these fronts. Just a few days ago he said that if another country’s troops taunted ours – not fired at them, but taunted them, just taunts – he’d responded – he would respond by blowing them out of the water. He would start a war over that. That is just one more reason, my friends, why the stakes in this election are as high as any in our lifetimes.
I’ve been involved in politics in one way or another for many years. It is not an easy business. It can get rough and I’ve built up some defenses. When it comes to public service, I’m better at the ‘service’ part than the ‘public’ part. But this is why I do it, and this is who I’m in it for: to make life better for children and families. And that’s what this race has always been about for me.
Well, now we’re in the final stretch. There are just 54 days till Election Day. Just 54 days till the most consequential vote of our lifetimes. And just a little more than a month until early voting starts here in North Carolina. Let’s make these days count, particularly here, because you know what your governor and legislature tried to do – make it harder for young people to vote, harder for people of color, harder for people with disabilities, harder for the elderly. There can’t be any more motivation than that to make sure every young person, every person of color, every person with a disability, every older person turns out and votes.
So in these final days, let’s try to tune out all the chatter and the nonstop analysis that doesn’t often have much to do with what the next president has to do to create good jobs, to create opportunity, to make it possible for every young person to afford to go to college or get the skills that you need for the jobs of the future. Let’s talk about what really matters.
And here’s my promise to you. I’m going to close my campaign the way I began my career and the way I will serve as your president should you give me that great honor – focused on opportunities for kids and fairness for families.
Next week, I’ll go to Philadelphia to talk about challenges facing our young people; in Florida, to focus on building an economy that welcomes everyone’s contributions, including people with disabilities; then I’ll be back here in North Carolina, to meet with more working families. From now until November 8th, everywhere I go, I’m going to talk about my ideas for our country. My campaign has rolled out detailed plans in 38 different policy areas – yes, somebody actually counted. Everything from reining in Wall Street to creating good-paying jobs to fighting Alzheimer’s to supporting people with autism. You see, I have this old-fashioned notion that if you’re running for president, you should say what you plan to do, how you’re going to get it done, and how you’re going to pay for it. You can read it all on my website, hillaryclinton.com. We even put it in a new book called, you guessed it, Stronger Together. Get a copy of it because it tells you everything Tim Kaine and I intend to do.
Now, like a lot of women, I have a tendency to over-prepare. I sweat the details, whether we’re talking about the exact level of lead in the water in Flint, or how many North Carolina kids are in early enrichment programs, or the precise interest rate on your student loans right down to the decimal. Because you know what? It’s not a detail if it’s your kid. It’s not a detail if it’s your family. It’s a big deal. And it should be a big deal to your president.
Now, I confess, I’ll never be the showman my opponent is, and that’s okay with me. Just look at – look at the show he put on with Dr. Oz today. But I am going to deliver for you and your family, just like I did for Sarah all those years ago with the Children’s Health Insurance Program, that gave her the chance to be the extraordinary young woman she is. And I’ll tell you something else. People accuse me of all kinds of things. You probably have seen that. But nobody ever accuses me of quitting. And I will never give up, I’ll never walk away, no matter how tough the going gets. I’m actually asking Americans to hold me accountable for my ideas and hold my opponent accountable for his.
We don’t need a president who says the minimum wage is too high. We need a president who knows that Americans deserve a raise to get to a living wage. We don’t need a president who wants to take away people’s health coverage. We need a president who wants everyone to have quality, affordable health care. And we don’t need a president who apparently thinks only married people deserve paid leave and only mothers stay home with kids. We don’t need someone who rushes out a half-baked plan just weeks before an election after decades of ignoring or putting down working moms. We need a president who has spent years fighting for these issues, who has a plan to support all families in all their various shapes. Ask yourself which candidate you can count on to be on your side, respect your family, stand up and fight for you and your kids.
That is who you should vote for on November 8th because as Michelle Obama said in her fabulous speech at the Democratic convention, when we go to the polls this November, the real choice isn’t between Democrat or Republican. It’s about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four years of their lives. It’s also about the kind of country we want to be and what we want to leave behind for future generations. People have to decide, are we going to make our economy work for everyone or just those at the top? Are we going to bring people together or pit Americans against each other and rip our country apart? Are we going to work with our allies to keep us safe, or are we going to put a loose cannon in charge who would risk everything generations of Americans have worked so hard to build?
Now, I have a lot of confidence in the American people and in our country. My opponent keeps running us down, saying we’re weak, a disaster, an embarrassment. Every time he says things like that, I think about Janelle and her strength in the face of cancer, or Martha and Sarah in the face of their health challenges, and that little boy in Flint, who gets up every day and goes to school even though he can’t drink the water. See, my opponent has America all wrong. There’s nothing we can’t do when we come together as one nation, set big goals, and pursue them.
And the American dream – the American dream is big enough for everyone to share in its promise. So if you believe the minimum wage should be a living wage, that no one who works full-time should have to raise their child in poverty, join us. If you believe that every man, woman, and child in America has the right to affordable health care and women should be free to make our own health decisions, join us. If you believe – if you believe your working mother, wife, sister, or daughter deserves equal pay, then join us. Get involved these last 55 days. Go to hillaryclinton.com or text ‘join,’ j-o-i-n, to 47246. We need volunteers right here in North Carolina. We can’t do this without you.
And remember, the presidential race isn’t the only one this fall. We’ve got a lot of important statewide races. Let’s come together and send Deborah Ross to represent the people in the Senate. Starting on October 20th, you can register and vote early at the same time at any one-stop early voting site in your county. So the heat is on. Spread the word. Tell your friends, your family, your neighbors. If you share our vision for America’s future, come be part of helping us shape it. We do not have a minute to lose.
We have so many blessings. Now it’s our job to deliver on those and to make sure every single person, and particularly every child, no matter who they are, what they look like, or who they love, is part of the American dream now and way into the future. Let that be our message. Let that be our mission. Please come out and help us fight, fight for you, fight for our children, fight for our families. Let’s make America all that it should be. Thank you and God bless you!