Governor Gallen, distinguished officials on the stage with us, young Democrats, volunteers, friends of mine from throughout the State of New Hampshire:
This State has a special place in my own heart and also, whether or not you realize it, a special place in the political life of our country. There is no other State like it which has the opportunity to shape the political policies and the political consciousness of America.
My own first visit here came in 1974, when I first met Norm D'Amours, a young, not very well known candidate for Congress, and I walked the streets and stood in the factory lines with him and got to have experience at first hand about what true democracy means. There is no way to slip into office in New Hampshire if you are a national candidate or a candidate for Governor or Congress, because you require, the people of New Hampshire require political candidates to express themselves frankly to you and to listen to you in the process.
I came here many times in 1975, 1976. My wife came here many times. My mother Lillian came here many times. My Aunt Sissy came here many times. My son Jack and his wife, Judy, my son Chip and his wife, Caron, Amy came here. We all came to New Hampshire to learn, to let you know us, and to listen.
And many of the policies that I took to Washington and proposed to the Congress that are now being put into effect to give our people better housing, better education, finally, an energy policy, to deal with the problems of the environment, to improve the relationship between the local, State, and Federal Government, to work toward a balanced budget, to let people have a direct voice in their own affairs, to have more morality in foreign policy, have all come from ideas given to me by you in your homes, on the streets, in the drugstores, where I had a chance to know what your concepts are of what our country ought to be. I'm thankful to you for that.
I even was accused one time of shaking hands with a mannequin in a store because I was moving so fast and because I was so tired. I don't think I got that vote- [laughter] —but I got enough votes to win the primary here, and I thank you for it.
You've got wonderful opportunities here in New Hampshire, and I would say that there has been a tremendous change for the better in New Hampshire now that Hugh Gallen and Irene represent you as the first family of your State.
In addition to Norm D'Amours in Congress, you have a fighting Senator, John Durkin, who knows you, listens to you, serves you well, and also represents the entire United States.
And you've got a senior statesman who also still represents New Hampshire in the finest possible way to set an example for many of us to follow, and that is Tom Mcintyre, whom I admire and love.
Tom Mcintyre has just written a book that will be published the 1st of May. I promised him I would put in a plug for his book— [laughter] —and he's the kind of person that all of us can learn from.
And I would like to say in closing, thank you for being the kinds of volunteers who are not afraid to invest your own lives in a better life for our country. There are many things that can be improved in our Nation. But let's not ever forget that we live in the greatest nation on Earth, and you and I together, working in a free and democratic society, can make it even greater in the future.
Thank you and God bless all of you.