Robert Dole photo

Presidential Election Concession Speech

November 05, 1996

Thank you very much. You know, I was - Thank you. I was just thinking on the way down--   I was thinking on the way downstairs--  I was just thinking on the way downstairs; I was thinking on the way down the elevator tomorrow will be the first time in my life I don't have anything to do. But I wanted to come down and thank all of you. You've done a great job. And I'm very proud of Trent. We're going to keep the Senate. We're going to keep the House.  We're gonna-- Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Let me say that I talked to President Clinton. We had a good visit. And I congratulated him. And I said. No, no, no. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. I've said repeatedly--  I've said repeatedly--  wait. I've said repeatedly-- I have said repeatedly in this campaign that the president was my opponent not my enemy. And I wish him well and I pledge my support in whatever advances the cause of a better America, because that's what the race was about in the first place, a better America as we go into the next century. And I'm very proud also of my teammate, Jack Kemp. I've talked to Jack and-- and I want to thank not only Jack, but his wife, Joanne, who did an outstanding job, and all the Kemp family for the work they did in this campaign.

And obviously, I want to thank two outstanding women--  my daughter Robin, who did a great job.

And of course, my wife, Elizabeth, who's traveled this country--   from one end to the other. In fact, they-- they've both been with me in this, in this 96-hour marathon. And we had a great time. We had great crowds and a lot of enthusiasm.

At 3:00 this morning, I guess it was, we were in Independence, Missouri. And I never saw so many people in one place, so excited about the Republican Party. And let me say a special word--  let me say a special word to all the young Americans and the young people who were involved in my campaign. You have been-- you've been a constant source of inspiration for Elizabeth and myself. But, and I might, I might add--  you're not going to get that tax cut if you don't be quiet. Yes. And I would say to the young people and all the others involved, it's a lot more fun winning. It hurts to lose an election. But stay involved and keep fighting the good fight because-- because you are the ones who will make the 21st century the next American century.

And I--  and I don't want anybody--  I don't want anybody to pass out here, but I also want to thank all the media who traveled with me on the plane. They-- and all my friends-- no, no, no. Come on! No, no, come on. All of my friends, and we have many friends in the media and they were, they were there every day, every night, every day and every night as we flew around this country. And we met hundreds and thousands and thousands of good people all across America who want a better America and will continue working for a better America.

And as I look around tonight, and I came in I saw a lot of very special people who have been helping me for the last 10, 15, 20, 25 years, and I say thank you for all you've done - because I know your support - because I know that because of your support, I am still the most optimistic man in America! And I know that - and I know that thousands of you have worked day and night - thousands of you have worked day and night, and millions of you trusted Jack Kemp and me with your vote, and for that, we will always be grateful, and I say thank you very much.

And I would say, Haley, you've done an outstanding job. We appreciate it very much. And we've had our co-chairman flying around with us. You've done a great job. We appreciated your being with us. Thank you.

And I want to say to my campaign staff, to Scott and to Jill and to Joanne and everyone else, I could not have had a better, more faithful, more loyal team, and I want to thank everybody. And we'll have an opportunity to do that at -

It's been a long time since I entered politics way back in 1951, and a lot of things have happened since that time. But some things never change. A few days after I took my seat in the state legislature, a reporter asked me what I had on my agenda. And I said, 'Well, I'm going to sit back and watch for a few days, and then I'll stand up for what I think is right.' And any of you who want to know what my plans may be in the future, I'm going to sit back for a few days, and then I'm going to start standing up for what I think is right for America.

And to all those who may be watching out there, the millions of people who supported us, I say thank you.

We've enjoyed it. It's been a long, long campaign. I've learned a lot. I hope the American people have learned a lot.

What we need to do now, as Republicans, is to come together as we always will. Keep the House - we're going to keep the House, going to keep the Senate. We're going to do what we should do for the United States of America. And I've never been prouder in my life than to have been the Republican nominee for president of the United States.

So I leave y'all tonight with a full heart and a fervent prayer that we'll meet again and we will meet often in this land, where miracles are always happening, where every day is a new beginning and every life a blessing from God.

So I want to say thanks to each one of you here, thanks to you for all you've done and all you will do in the future for America. Thank you very much, and God bless America!

Robert Dole, Presidential Election Concession Speech Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project