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Gephardt: 'Never give up, never give in'

Gephardt speaks to supporters after his disappointing finish in Iowa.
Gephardt speaks to supporters after his disappointing finish in Iowa.

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Richard A. Gephardt
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(CNN) -- Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt spoke to supporters in Iowa after placing a disappointing fourth in the caucuses.

Here is a selection from his speech:

GEPHARDT: Well, this didn't come out the way we wanted. But I've been through tougher fights in my life. When I watched my 2-year-old son fight terminal cancer and win, it put everything into perspective.

Life will go on because this campaign was never about me. It was about all of us. It was about our future. And it was about our children and the America ahead of us.

I first want to thank my family. Each one of them has inspired me. Matt, who inspired my health care plan. Chrissy, whose dedication to social work has continued our family's commitment to public service. Kate, who inspired my teachers' corps proposal.

And Jane, ... without whom I couldn't have done anything that I have done.

I used to always tell her that, "You know, the sun goes up and the sun goes down; time marches on." But for me, Jane makes the sun come up for me every day.

I want to say a special thank you to every member of every labor union in this country who has stood by my side ... throughout my career.

Your fight is my fight, and it will always be that way.

The fight for working people is in my bones. And I will never leave your side fighting for justice, for America's workers. And America's workers are what make this country what it is.

And I want to thank the people of the 3rd Congressional District of Missouri, who have given me the opportunity ... who have given me the opportunity to represent them and fight for them for 28 years. And their confidence in me also allowed me to fight for the working people across this country as Democratic leader for 13 years.

And I'd like to thank all of the people of Missouri, many of whom are in this room, who have stood with me through the years and stood with me in this campaign.

Thank you, Missouri, for being the Show Me State.

Finally, I'd like to thank my incredible staff on the campaign, in my congressional office and in the leader's office. You're the finest people I've ever met. Your leadership, your wisdom, you counsel, your hard work, your dedication to the people of this country is humbling to me. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything that you've done to help the people of this country realize their dreams.

I've said in this campaign many more times than I know the media, who has followed it, wanted me to say it, that my dad was a milk truck driver and my mom was a secretary.

Neither of them got through high school, but I learned from them to appreciate all of God's gifts. And my mother taught me the most important rule that I ever learned. And that was to always treat others as I would like to be treated. And that is the gift that I will never forget.

So my life is an American life. I went to public grade school, public high school. I was able to go to college because of church scholarships and government loans and what little my parents could save.

I've said it before: I consider myself to be the luckiest person alive. I have a wonderful family. I have fabulous friends, many of whom are standing right before me. I've been able to run for president twice, and I loved every minute of it. And I love this country with all of my heart.

Tonight I congratulate the other candidates for their strong campaigns here in Iowa.

One of them will wind up carrying the banner of the great Democratic Party in this election, and they will have earned it. And I will support that candidate in any way that I can.

My campaign to fight for working people may be ending tonight, but our fight will never end. We will reclaim the White House in 2004, because we have to.

The eyes of the world are watching us, and they're watching us in ways that sometimes in the past they never have. And in the end, we will prevail, the people of this great country will make a decision to turn this country in a new direction.

And I just want to say to all of you here, who have dedicated so much work and so much toil in this campaign: Never give up, never give in. Never stop helping your country be an even better place.

Thank you. God bless you. Thank you all. God bless America.

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