John F. Kerry photo

Remarks Following the Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas Primaries

March 09, 2004

Today, from Florida to Mississippi, to Louisiana and Texas, the message once again rings loud and clear: Change is coming to America.

This nation is demanding for leadership that takes us in a new direction. And George Bush has made it clear that he's not going to provide it.

George W. Bush is running on the slogan of ‘steady leadership.' But after four years of the same old failed policies, what we've seen is ‘stubborn leadership.'

George Bush stubbornly proposes tax cut after tax cut for the wealthiest Americans while we steadily lose millions of jobs. So tonight we say: Change is coming to America.

George Bush stubbornly refuses to help families afford health care while premiums steadily rise through the roof. And tonight we say: Change is coming to America.

This President stubbornly continues to let polluters rewrite our environmental laws while children steadily breathe dirtier and dirtier air. Tonight we say: Change is coming to America.

George Bush stubbornly insists on a foreign policy where we go it alone and young Americans in uniform steadily pay the price. And so once again tonight we say: Change is coming to America.

This President's stubborn leadership has steadily led America in the wrong direction – and in November, it's going to lead him out the door.

We will set a new direction for America. We will build an economy that creates jobs instead of destroying them. We will finally bring health care costs under control – and at long last make health care in America a right and not a privilege. We will restore fiscal sanity. We truly will leave no child behind. We will lead America toward energy independence from Mideast oil. And we will rejoin the community of nations and renew our alliances because that is essential to waging and winning the war on terror.

Our opponents can't campaign on jobs, health care, or fiscal responsibility. So now they say they just want to run on national security. But if George Bush wants to make national security the central issue of this election, I have three simple words for him I know he understands: Bring it on.

This President doesn't have a record to run on, only a record to run from. So his campaign has already resorted to their old tricks: attack ads and wedge politics.

They don't want a great debate on the great issues. So George Bush, who promised to be a uniter, has become the great divider.

I tell you today: it won't work.

In this campaign, I've been reminded of something I first learned as a young man on a Navy boat on the other side of the world – the things that bring us together as Americans are far more powerful than the things that pull us apart.

The best lessons I learned about being an American came in a place far away from America – on a gunboat on the Mekong Delta with a band of brothers from all walks of life and every corner of this land. We learned many things on that journey; but above all, we learned that we were no longer the kid from South Carolina or Arkansas or Illinois or the kid from Massachusetts. The differences of color and religion and background melted away and we were united in our shared mission. We were all simply ‘Americans.' All of us fighting under the same flag, praying to the same God.

We learned that when we stay together – we stay strong. We didn't think we were special. We just did what we were supposed to do: fight for our country.

Today, 35 years later, that same principal is what guides all of us who are enlisted in this campaign: We are still fighting for our country. We always have and always will. So the message rings out tonight across our country: Get ready – a new day is on the way.

Good night. God Bless you. And may God Bless the America that we love.

John F. Kerry, Remarks Following the Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas Primaries Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/216726

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