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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Ron Reagan, Chris Heinz, Teresa Heinz Kerry Address Democratic National Convention

Aired July 27, 2004 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Larry.
We have a lot more to cover this night in the coming hour. Ron Reagan will speak. Ron Reagan will speak on embryonic stem cell research, a sensitive subject.

We'll also hear from Teresa Heinz Kerry, the wife of the Democratic candidate, much more coverage. It's only starting.

We'll take a quick break. We'll be right back from the Fleet Center in Boston.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back to the Democratic National Convention.

This is an important hour for the Democrats. Momentarily we'll be hearing from Ron Reagan, the son of the late President Ronald Reagan, the son of Mrs. Nancy Reagan. He's going to be speaking on a very sensitive subject, a subject entitled embryonic stem cell research and he's going to be making the case why the Democrats should make sure that President Bush is not reelected.

Judy Woodruff, how important is this issue for the Democratic Party?

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: It's important, Wolf. I wouldn't say that it's decisive. It is an issue where they could point out a difference with President Bush because he's been emphatic. He does not want to increase the so-called lines of embryonic stem cell research.

But before we move on I just want to say another quick word about Obama. He electrified this convention hall and he got right to the heart of a problem that George W. Bush has in that polls show people think George W. Bush has divided the country.

And when he said we don't have a conservative America, and a liberal America, we have a United States of America, I think he's getting right at something that the Republicans need to worry about.

BLITZER: Jeff Greenfield, you know a lot about writing speeches and delivering speeches.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: That's as good as they come. That's why people like me love conventions even if they're predictable in the outcome.

Here's a 43-year-old African American using conservative lines. If we don't let government waste at welfare agencies or the Pentagon. We have to eradicate the slander that a black kid with a book is acting white. This is a fellow who was talking beyond the Democratic face to the whole country. It was terrific.

BLITZER: Now, you understand why he was the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review.

Ron Reagan is walking in. In fact, he's at the podium right now. Ron Reagan, the son of the late President Ronald Reagan is going to be speaking. Let's listen.

RON REAGAN: Thank you. Thank you very much. That's very kind.

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.

A few of you may be surprised to see someone with my last name showing up to speak at a Democratic convention.

(APPLAUSE)

Apparently some of you are not.

Let me assure you, I am not here to make a political speech, and the topic at hand should not -- must not -- have anything to do with partisanship.

(APPLAUSE)

I am here tonight to talk about the issue of research into what may be the greatest medical breakthrough in our or in any lifetime, the use of embryonic stem cells, cells created using the material of our own bodies, to cure a wide range of fatal and debilitating illnesses: Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, lymphoma, spinal cord injuries and much more.

Millions are afflicted. Every year, every day, tragedy is visited upon families across the country, around the world.

Now it may be within our power to put an end to this suffering. We only need to try.

(APPLAUSE)

Some of you already know what I'm talking about when I say embryonic stem cell research. Others of you are probably thinking, that's quite a mouthful. Maybe this is a good time to go for a tall cold one.

Well, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Let me try and paint as simple a picture as I can while still doing justice to the science, the incredible science involved. Let's say that ten or so years from now you are diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. There is currently no cure. And drug therapy, with its attendant side-effects, can only temporarily relieve the symptoms.

Now, imagine going to a doctor who, instead of prescribing drugs, takes a few skin cells from your arm. The nucleus of one of your cells is placed into a donor egg whose own nucleus has been removed.

A bit of chemical or electrical stimulation will encourage your cells' nucleus to begin dividing, creating new cells, which will then be placed into a tissue culture.

Those cells will generate embryonic stems cells containing only your DNA, thereby eliminating the risk of tissue rejection.

These stem cells are then driven to become the very neuro-cells that are defective in Parkinson's patients.

And, finally, those cells, with your DNA, are injected into your brain where they will replace the faulty cells whose failure to produce adequate dopamine led to the Parkinson's disease in the first place. In other words: You're cured.

(APPLAUSE)

And another thing, these embryonic stem cells, they could continue to replicate indefinitely and, theoretically, can be induced to recreate virtually any tissue in your body. How would you like to have your own personal, biological repair kit standing by at the hospital? Does it sound like magic? Welcome to the future of medicine.

Now, by the way, no fetal tissue is involved in this process.

No fetuses are created; none destroyed. This all happens in the laboratory at the cellular level.

Now, there are those who would stand in the way of this remarkable future, who would deny the federal funding so crucial to basic research. They argue that interfering with the development of even the earliest stage embryo, even one that will never be implanted in a womb and will never develop into an actual fetus, is tantamount to murder.

A few of these folks, needless to say, are just grinding a political axe. And they should be ashamed of themselves.

(APPLAUSE)

But many are well-meaning and sincere. Their belief is just that -- an article of faith, and they are entitled to it, but it does not follow that the theology of a few should be allowed to forestall the health and well-being of the many.

(APPLAUSE)

And how can we affirm life if we abandon those whose own lives are so desperately at risk?

(APPLAUSE)

It is a hallmark of human intelligence that we are able to make distinctions. Yes, these cells could theoretically have the potential, under very different circumstances, to develop into human beings. That potential is where their magic lies. But they are not in and of themselves human beings. They have no fingers and toes; no brain or spinal cord. They have no thoughts, no fears, they feel no pain. Surely we can distinguish between these undifferentiated cells multiplying in a tissue culture and a living, breathing person -- a parent, a spouse, a child.

I know a child -- well, she must be 13 now -- I guess I'd better call her a young woman. She has fingers and toes. She has a mind. She has memories. She has hopes. She has juvenile diabetes.

Like so many kids with this disease, she has adjusted amazingly well. The insulin pump she wears, she's decorated hers with rhinestones. She can handle her own catheter needle. She has learned to sleep through the blood drawings in the wee hours of the morning. She's very brave.

She is also quite bright and understands full well the progress of her disease and what that might ultimately mean: blindness, amputation, diabetic coma. Every day, she fights to have a future.

What excuse will we offer this young woman should we fail her now? What might we tell her children or the millions of others who suffer, that when given an opportunity to help, we turned away, that facing political opposition, we lost our nerve, that even though we knew better, we did nothing?

And should we fail, how will we feel if, a few years from now, a more enlightened generation should fulfill the promise of embryonic stem cell therapy? Imagine what they would say of us who lacked the will.

No, we owe this young woman and all those who suffer -- we owe ourselves -- better than that. We are better than that.

(APPLAUSE)

We are a wiser people, a finer nation. And for all of us in this fight, let me say: We will prevail.

(APPLAUSE)

The tide of history is with us. Like all generations who have come before ours, we are motivated by a thirst for knowledge and compelled to see others in need as fellow angels on an often difficult path, deserving of our compassion.

In a few months, we will face a choice. Yes, between two candidates and two parties, but more than that, we have a chance to take a giant stride forward for the good of all humanity. We can choose between the future and the past, between reason and ignorance, between true compassion and mere ideology. (APPLAUSE)

This is our moment, and we must not falter.

(APPLAUSE)

Whatever else you do come November 2nd, I urge you, please, cast a vote for embryonic stem cell research.

Thank you for your time.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Ron Reagan, the son of the late President Ronald Reagan making the case for embryonic stem cell research before a very receptive crowd here at the Fleet Center at the Democratic National Convention. Remember, it wasn't that long ago that Nancy Reagan came out and said she supports embryonic stem cell research herself, differentiating the various elements of her own party.

Judy Woodruff, it's important to recognize that the Bush administration, President Bush, has supported embryonic stem cell research. In August of 2001, he became the first president to fund embryonic stem cell research but there are limitations that he imposed.

WOODRUFF: That's right, Wolf.

What happened was President Bush said he wanted a limited number of so-called lines open to conduct this research and they have found very shortly after that, the scientists who work on this, that they didn't have enough to do the work that is necessary.

It is from that decision that this movement to expand embryonic stem cell research that Ron Reagan talked about tonight has grown and grown and grown. Nancy Reagan has come onboard and, even though you didn't hear him mention Alzheimer's disease, which President Reagan, his father, died of, there are so many other diseases that it would clearly benefit, diabetes, spinal cord injury, Parkinson's disease. It has become a crusade for these people.

GREENFIELD: I must say, Wolf, that he began (UNINTELLIGIBLE) by saying that he was not here to make a political speech and ended by saying cast the votes for embryonic stem cell research. The only way you can do that in this election is to vote for John Kerry.

This was a political speech and squarely at people in the middle, people whose relatives have diseases that this might help, people who can be -- even some people who are against abortion, like Senator Orrin Hatch, have broken with the president on this. Frankly, it was a very well received speech. To say it was not a political speech I think that's a reach.

BLITZER: Let's bring in our "CROSSFIRE" co-hosts Tucker Carlson, Paul Begala. Tucker first to you what did you make of Ron Reagan's presentation? TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST, CROSSFIRE: Well, I mean I agree with Jeff that to call it not a political speech, given at a political convention, ending with a plea for a vote for John Kerry is, as he put it, a stretch.

I guess I'd call it ludicrous. I thought it was a pretty effective polemic. I guess the questions I would have are: a) has he oversold the case for it? I mean do we really know that in ten years Parkinson's could possibly be cured? That seems a stretch to me.

And I guess: b) is it a smart idea politically to sort of write off people who have qualms, it seems to me some of them legitimate qualms, about genetic engineering, about creating life in some cases for the sake of destroying it?

Maybe it's a good idea. Maybe it's not. But to write them off as snake handlers and superstitious people who are, you know, clinging to antiquated phase systems, I'm not sure that's what the Democratic party wants to do. There are like legitimate, decent religious people who are kind of concerned about it and that's (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

BLITZER: This is a moral matter for a lot of people out there -- Paul Begala.

PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST, CROSSFIRE: Well, absolutely, and I expect, I disagree with Tucker, I don't think that Ron Reagan characterized people who have good faith disagreements with his position on stem cell research in any kind of a negative light.

In fact, at one point he talked about people who have diseases as fellow angels on a difficult path. I think it shows a respect or reverence for their religious views.

It did what a good speech ought to do. It simplified the issue. He took a very complex issue and made it simple. It humanized the issue, his story of the 13-year-old girl, and then it framed up the choice I think rather nicely for Mr. Reagan's cause. Comparisons are inevitable. There was a moment or two where I heard him talking about that 13-year-old girl and I did hear echoes of his late father.

BLITZER: When you take a look at this whole issue though, Tucker and the politics of the fact that a man named Ron Reagan is here at the Democratic Convention with the blessing, presumably, we all assume it's the case of Nancy Reagan. The political benefit for the Democrats potentially is what?

CARLSON: Well, I mean, you know, the idea is that this is an issue that transcends politics and that, you know, sort of all reasonable people can agree on. They've done a lot of polling on this and apparently it does work with swing voters. I mean I guess the nine swing voters sort of left in America find this of interest.

I guess it's kind of a coup that they got a guy named Reagan. He's a liberal and has been for some time. It does seem a little creepy that they would bring him on simply because he's related to the president who just died. I mean he's not a scientist.

I do think he made a pretty good case for it but it does seem a little morbid almost, like almost ghoulish, to have a guy on there simply because his father was president who recently died. I don't know. That's my take.

BLITZER: All right. Let me let Paul respond to that. Go ahead, Paul.

BEGALA: Yes. No, I think he was a very effective spokesman for his cause. It's something that Mr. Reagan wanted to do. I had a chance to see him the other day and talk to him about this a little bit. He feels very passionate about it.

He didn't -- he, I think, probably is a liberal and Tucker's right but he didn't want it to be seen as simply saying go vote for John Kerry. He wanted to make a larger point and I think he did that and for people who don't know much about this issue and who are watching and who are in the center, I think he may a very effective, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in the same way that his father used to for his own causes.

BLITZER: All right, Paul Begala, Tucker Carlson.

Let me let Jeff weigh in on this point before we turn the corner, talk about the next major speaker here. It's going to be Teresa Heinz Kerry.

GREENFIELD: The Republicans have for some time succeeded in what are called wedge issues, moving people away from (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on issues like crime and guns and abortion.

Democrats believe that with stem cell research they have a wedge issue to move otherwise conservative people more toward them by thinking of the Republicans as too extreme on this issue. That's what I think, in part, Ron Reagan was doing here tonight.

BLITZER: All right. We're going to get ready for Teresa Heinz Kerry. She's going to be speaking tonight. She'll be introduced by her son Chris Heinz. This could be a moving moment for these Democrats.

WOODRUFF: It could be. Teresa Heinz Kerry is somebody who was not naturally involved in politics.

BLITZER: Judy, I'm going to interrupt you for a second. Candy Crowley is up on the podium. She's got one of the stars of the evening Barack Obama -- Candy.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I lost mike.

BLITZER: Candy's obviously dropped her microphone. We're going to get back to Candy as soon as she fixes that. Barack Obama standing by to speak with our Candy Crowley. We'll go back to her right now -- Candy. CROWLEY: Let me tell you a couple of things. First of all that is that I heard our commentary afterwards and one of those we have onboard said best speech of the convention.

BARACK OBAMA, KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Well, that's very kind. You know, what I was just glad about was that I kept it within my time limit.

CROWLEY: So they were pretty strict about that part.

OBAMA: Well, you know, understandably so. You know, the coverage is limited and we want to make sure that all the wonderful speakers get a chance.

CROWLEY: Look, if you had to tell me who your audience, what audience were you trying to reach with that speech?

OBAMA: You know, I was trying to reach a broad audience of people who have enormous sense of decency that's not always reflected in our politics and they can be Republican or Democrat or Independent but they're just commonsense folks.

They're not ideological and oftentimes the kind of conversation that's taking place in Washington just turns them off and what I wanted them to get a sense of is that government can serve a role that it expresses our mutual obligations in a meaningful way.

CROWLEY: Now, in Washington we call those swing voters.

OBAMA: You know, the -- more and more people I think are looking at this election in a very serious way and they don't want a lot of platitudes. They don't want jargon and they don't want a lot of negative campaigning.

What they want, and this is even among partisans I think, is seriously addressing the issues and seeing what, in fact, can be done to make our country stronger.

CROWLEY: When the Kerry campaign called you and said, hey, we want you to be the keynote speaker did you say how come or did you say yes?

OBAMA: You know, you don't kick a gift horse in the mouth, right? You just --

CROWLEY: Why do you think, you know, there are a lot of Democrats out there.

OBAMA: There's a lot of talent.

CROWLEY: Why do you think they picked you?

OBAMA: I'm sure part of it is, is that as potentially the only African American in the U.S. Senate. I think I'm reflective of potential diversity in our party and our party values that. I think part of it is the way we won the election in the primary. We defied a lot of conventional wisdom about where votes come from because the assumption is, well, whites won't vote for blacks or city folks won't vote for -- or suburban folks won't vote for city people or down state won't vote for upstate and we were able to put together a coalition that said, you know, people are willing to give anybody a shot if they're speaking to them in a way that makes sense.

CROWLEY: And if you had to give John Kerry one piece of advice for Illinois what is it that he's got to do to reach the same kind of voters that you did?

OBAMA: He's going to win Illinois but, if I were to give him, if I were to presume to give him advice, I would just say be yourself because I think he's an enormously intelligent, passionate person who's devoted his entire life to service and sometimes the handlers get in the way. So, I want him to just go ahead.

CROWLEY: Thank you so much.

OBAMA: Thank you.

CROWLEY: Barack Obama. They say you're a rising star. We'll be looking for you.

OBAMA: I appreciate that. Thank you.

CROWLEY: Thank you so much -- back to you, Wolf.

BLITZER: They don't have to say it anymore, Candy, he is a rising star, Barack Obama delivering a keynote address, one of the best we've heard in many, many years.

We'll take a quick break. We're standing by. Teresa Heinz Kerry, she'll be speaking, the next major speaker. We'll, of course, have live coverage here at the Fleet Center in Boston.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back to the Democratic National Convention, the Fleet Center here in Boston.

This hour we're still standing by to hear from Teresa Heinz Kerry, the wife of the Democratic candidate. She'll be introduced by her son Chris Heinz, himself a potential star in this Democratic Party. Who exactly is Teresa Heinz Kerry?

Our Candy Crowley has been taking a look at that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CROWLEY (voice-over): Mostly, she travels separately, Seattle, Orlando, New Orleans.

How do you have a marriage given the demands?

TERESA HEINZ KERRY: Good question. You know, I tell myself that this is not a living. This is an existence.

CROWLEY: A stop and smell the flowers woman caught up in a run over your grandmother world, meet Teresa of the campaign trail.

T. KERRY: You can't live this way. It's not tenable unless, you know, you're a machine. I'm not a machine, so I know that about myself and I remind people of that. You know this is not the way people live, you know. There's a lot to life.

CROWLEY: Need we say it, Teresa Heinz Kerry is a free spirit. She has publicly discussed her Botox injections and her pre-nup with John Kerry. She is passionate, smart, and playful, known to swear in any of the five languages she speaks.

She is a deeply rich woman, controlling a fortune estimated by the "L.A. Times" recently at $1 billion, conservatively. It's hard to know for sure since she won't release her tax returns.

One of the country's leading philanthropists, last year she oversaw $70 million in grants from a variety of endowments. Teresa inherited the money from her late husband, U.S. Senator John Heinz III, sole heir to the Heinz pickle and ketchup fortune. He died in a 1991 crash of his twin engine plane. They had been married for 25 years.

T. KERRY: My first love, my first love and my guy. He was my man, you know, and I became a grown up, became a woman with him, you know, a mother, a wife and an American, you know. He taught me all those things.

CROWLEY: She has been married to John Kerry for nine years. Last year she changed her party affiliation from Republican to Democrat and her name from Teresa Heinz to Teresa Heinz Kerry.

She was born Maria Teresa Thierstein Simoes-Ferreira, raised in Mozambique, the daughter of a prominent Portuguese doctor she became an American citizen at the age of 32.

Her speeches can be mind boggling, covering in 30 minutes time the benefits of organic food and sunscreen, growing up in the shadow of a colonial dictatorship and, oh yes, John Kerry's candidacy.

They ran into each other at an Earth Day Summit in 1992, she a widow, he a divorcee. She says they have a lot in common that he makes her laugh. He can't say enough.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She's a full woman, fascinating, unbelievably engaging, loves fun, loves dance, loves music, loves the arts, loves the world, loves the environment, loves people, loves life and she's full of it, life.

CROWLEY: They married in 1995 and, like so many wives, she was apparently the last to know.

T. KERRY: You know if John had told me ten years ago, "I'm going to run for president on day," I would have said, "hello, not with me you're not," not because I don't think it's important and a great thing but it would have scared me.

CROWLEY: She has changed her mind since and thought enough about it to know that her priority as a first lady would be to serve as a rock to steady her husband, the person who whispers in the president's ear.

T. KERRY: Remember we love you and sometimes we think you're, you know, too full of yourself and other times you're down but we love you and that's what I think a spouse has to do first and foremost. That's a lonely place to be.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CROWLEY: Tonight, Wolf, you will see a Teresa Heinz Kerry rarely seen before, a scripted one, at least that's what the Kerry campaign hopes -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Candy Crowley, thanks very much.

We've all heard Teresa Heinz on the campaign trail. She rarely speaks from a speech but she will from a written text, we think she will tonight. She's about to be introduced by her son 31-year-old Christopher Heinz. He's a rising star as well even though he says (UNINTELLIGIBLE) he's not made up his mind about a political career yet but he's sure showing some signs he might be interested.

CHRIS HEINZ, JOHN KERRY'S STEPSON: Good evening.

It's an honor to be here tonight to introduce my mother, Teresa Heinz Kerry. But first, I'd like to say how proud I am of my stepfather and how honored I am to serve this cause.

When my mother first introduced me to John, I said to myself, "Self, the only man good enough for your mother is the president of the United States."

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

I think it's going to work out.

(APPLAUSE)

More seriously, last week, our family lost a dear friend, Joe Clark. Joe had worked with our family for 35 years, since July of 1966. He was family. Joe first met my mom when she was newly married and pregnant with my oldest brother.

Digesting the loss of our friend, my mom and I spoke last week of their first meeting, in Washington, at the beginning of her American journey.

We talked about the 38 years that have passed in her life, and, as Joe would say, "all them changes." You see, in '66, my mom was new to America, having recently arrived from her native home in Mozambique, bright, 27 years young, and speaking five -- five languages as a trained translator.

She'd met a...

(APPLAUSE)

She'd met a man from Pittsburgh, fallen in love, and moved to the United States to start a new life. And as so frequently happens in this country, as an immigrant, she took America and its opportunities and freedoms for all they're worth, both as a mother and as an engaged, progressive person.

In a long career dedicated to improving the lives of others, her finest work has been her stewardship of the Heinz Endowment since my father's death in 1991.

(APPLAUSE)

She is a true visionary. The New York Times has referred to her as one of the nation's leading philanthropists.

But don't take their word for it, or mine, because I'm definitely biased. Simply go ask the residents of western Pennsylvania and beyond about her...

(APPLAUSE)

... about her tireless efforts to protect our environment, promote the arts, improve education and broaden economic opportunity, particularly for women.

I'll bet they vouch for me.

My mother's political accomplishments are also remarkable, considering she grew up in a dictatorship. From joining the first Pennsylvania Women's Political Caucus in 1972 to more recently fighting for health care and prescription drugs for seniors, my mom has set an example that's hard to follow. In total, she's campaigned in seven successful congressional races as a spouse to two wonderful men.

Indeed, my mom's political accomplishments and experience are so varied and so recognized that in 1991 after my father's death prominent members of the Republican Party urged her to run for the Senate.

(APPLAUSE)

Of course, none of these achievements define her as my mother, not through the prism of a son's eyes. I'm blessed to see and know so much more about this remarkable woman. My memories run deep -- flashes of her packing my lunch, applying a band aid, sending me off to college or serving as a very necessary first line of defense against some aggressive older brothers. And while it's impossible for me to share my full sentiments here with you all, let me just say this -- my mother in my heart and mind is a force; spiritual, organic and loving; smart, funny and wise. If, as her son, I can be any two of those things in my life, I'll be lucky.

(APPLAUSE)

Oh, and by the way, if I look that good at 65, I'll be doubly blessed.

(APPLAUSE)

But in the meantime, I'm blessed to be a part of her life and her American journey.

Mom, I love you.

And on behalf of my stepfather, my father and my dear friend Joe, it gives me great pleasure to introduce the nation to someone I hope and believe will be the next first lady of the United States, Teresa Heinz Kerry.

Thank you very much.

TERESA HEINZ KERRY, JOHN KERRY'S WIFE: Thank you. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you. I love you, too.

Thank you.

Thank you, Christopher. Your father would be proud of you and your brothers.

(APPLAUSE)

And I love you. And I love our family.

My name is Teresa Heinz Kerry.

(APPLAUSE)

And by now, I hope it will come as no surprise that I have something to say.

(APPLAUSE)

And tonight, as I have done throughout this campaign, I would like to speak to you from my heart. Y a todos los Hispanos y los Latinos...

(APPLAUSE)

... a tous les Franco-Americain... (APPLAUSE)

... a tutti Italiani...

(APPLAUSE)

... a toda a familia Portugesa e Brazileria...

(APPLAUSE)

... and to all the continental Africans living in this country...

(APPLAUSE)

... and to all new Americans in our country, I invite you to join our conversation and together with us work toward the noblest purpose of all: a free, good and democratic society.

(APPLAUSE)

I am grateful -- I am so grateful for the opportunity to stand before you and to say a few words about my husband, John Kerry, and why I firmly believe that he should be the next president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

This is such a powerful moment for me. Like many other Americans, like many of you, and like even more your parents and grandparents, I was not born in this country.

And as you have seen, I grew up in East Africa, in Mozambique, in a land that was then under a dictatorship. My father, a wonderful, caring man who practiced medicine for 43 years, and who taught me how to understand disease and wellness, only got to vote for the first time when he was 73 years old.

That's what happens in dictatorships.

As a young woman, I attended Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, South Africa, which was then not segregated.

But I witnessed the weight of Apartheid everywhere around me. And so with my fellow students, we marched in the streets of Johannesburg against its extension into higher education.

(APPLAUSE)

This was the late 1950s at the dawn of civil rights marches in America. And, as history records, our efforts in South Africa failed, and the Higher Education Apartheid Act passed. Apartheid tightened its ugly grips. The Sharpeville Riots followed. And Nelson Mandela was arrested and sent to Robben Island.

I learned something then. And I believe it still. There is a value in taking a stand, whether or not anybody may be noticing it, and whether or not it is a risky thing to do.

(APPLAUSE)

And if even those who are in danger can raise their lonely voices, isn't it more that is required of all of us, in this land where liberty had her birth?

I have a very personal feeling about how special America is, and I know how precious freedom is. It is a sacred gift, sanctified by those who have lived it and those who have died defending it.

(APPLAUSE)

My right to speak my mind, to have a voice, to be what some have called "opinionated"...

(APPLAUSE)

... is a right I deeply and profoundly cherish.

HEINZ: And my only hope is that one day soon, My only hope is that, one day soon, women, who have all earned their right to their opinions...

(APPLAUSE)

... instead of being labeled opinionated will be called smart and well-informed, just like men.

(APPLAUSE)

Tonight I want to remember my mother's warmth, generosity, wisdom and hopefulness, and thank her for all the sacrifices she made on our behalf, like so many other mothers.

And this evening, I want to acknowledge and honor the women of this world whose wise voices for much too long have been excluded and discounted.

(APPLAUSE)

TERRY: It is time -- it is time for the world to hear women's voices in full and at last.

(APPLAUSE)

In the past year, I have been privileged to meet with Americans all across this land. They voiced many different concerns, but one they all share was about America's role in the world, what we want this great country of ours to stand for.

To me, one of the best faces America has ever projected is the face of a Peace Corps volunteer.

(APPLAUSE)

That face symbolizes this country: young, curious, brimming with idealism and hope, and a real, honest compassion.

Those young people convey an idea of America that is all about heart, creativity, generosity and confidence, a practical, can- do sense, and a big, big smile.

For many generations of people around this globe, that is what America has represented: a symbol of hope, a beacon brightly lit by the optimism of its people, people coming from all over the world.

Americans believed that they could know all there is to know, build all there is to build, break down any barrier, tear down any wall. We sent men to the moon. And when that was not far enough, we sent Galileo to Jupiter, we sent Cassini to Saturn, and Hubble to touch the very edges of the universe in the very dawn of time.

(APPLAUSE)

Americans showed the world what can happen when people believe in amazing possibilities. And that, for me, is the spirit of America, the America you and I are working for in this election.

HEINZ: It is the America that people all across this nation want to restore, from Iowa to California...

(APPLAUSE)

... from Florida to Michigan...

(APPLAUSE)

... and from Washington State to my home of Pennsylvania.

(APPLAUSE)

It is the America the world wants to see: shining, hopeful, and bright once again. And that is the America that my husband John Kerry wants to lead.

John believes in a bright future. He believes that we can and will invent the technologies, the new materials and the conservation methods of the future.

(APPLAUSE

He believes that alternative fuels will guarantee that not only will no American boy or girl go to war because of our dependence on foreign oil...

(APPLAUSE)

... but also that our economy will forever become independent of this need.

We can, and we will, create good, competitive and sustainable jobs while still protecting the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the health of our children, because good environmental policy is good economics.

John believes that we can and we will give every family and every child access to affordable health care, a good education and the tools to become self-reliant.

And John believes that we must and we should recognize the immense value of the caregivers in our country, those women and men who nurture and care for children, for elderly parents, for family members in need. These are the people who build and support our most valuable assets, our families.

(APPLAUSE)

Isn't it time -- isn't it time that we begin working to give parents more opportunity to be with their children, and wouldn't it be wonderful for parents to be able to afford a full and good family life?

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(APPLAUSE)

With John Kerry as president, we can, and we will protect our nation's security without sacrificing our civil liberties.

(APPLAUSE)

In short, John believes that we can and we must lead the world as America, unique among nations, always should by showing the face not of its fear, but of our hopes.

(APPLAUSE)

And John is a fighter. He earned his medals the old-fashioned way...

(APPLAUSE)

... by putting his life on the line for his country.

And no one will defend this nation more vigorously than he will.

And he will always, always be first in the line of fire.

(APPLAUSE)

But he also knows the importance of getting it right. For him, the names of many friends inscribed on the Vietnam Memorial -- that cold stone -- testify to the awful toil exacted by leaders who mistake stubbornness for strength.

(APPLAUSE)

And that is why as president my husband will not fear disagreement or dissent. He believes that our voices -- yours and mine -- must be the voices of freedom. And if we do not speak, neither does she.

In America the true patriots are those who dare speak truth through power.

(APPLAUSE)

And the truth that we must speak now is that America has responsibilities that it is time for us to accept again.

(APPLAUSE)

With John Kerry as president, global climate change and other threats to the health of our planet will begin to be reversed.

(APPLAUSE)

With John Kerry as president, the alliances that bind the community of nations and that truly make our country and the world a safer place, will be strengthened once more.

(APPLAUSE)

And the Americans John and I have met in the course of this campaign all want America to provide hopeful leadership again. They want America to return to its moral bearings.

(APPLAUSE)

And It is not -- it is not a moralistic America they seek; it is a moral nation that understands and willingly shoulders its obligations, a moral nation that rejects thoughtless and greedy choices in favor of thoughtful and generous actions.

(APPLAUSE)

And it is a moral nation that leads through the power of its ideas and the power of its example.

HEINZ: We can and we should join together to make the most of this great gift that we have all been given, this gift of freedom and this gift of America.

In his first inaugural, speaking to a nation on the eve of war, Abraham Lincoln said, "We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearth stone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the union when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

(APPLAUSE)

Today, the better angels of our nature are just waiting to be summoned.

We only require a leader who is willing to call on them, a leader willing to draw again the mystic cords of our national memory and remind us of all that we as a people, everyday leaders, can do, of all that we as a nation stand for, and of all the immense possibility that still lies ahead.

I think I've found that guy.

(APPLAUSE)

And I'm married to him.

John Kerry will give us back our faith in America. He will restore our faith in ourselves. And in the sense of limitless opportunity that has always been America's gift to the world, together we will lift everyone up. We have to. It's possible. And do you know what? It's the American thing to do.

(APPLAUSE)

Good night. And God bless you.

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