Transcript of Clinton's Acceptance Speech Following The 1996 Presidential Election November 5, 1996
CLINTON: You did a service to America by raising the things in which we believe and I thank you all and wish you Godspeed.
I want to thank the employees of the nation's government. They have had to do a remarkable job. We have reduced the size of our government to its smallest point since President Kennedy served, and yet they have continued to serve the people better, year in and year out.
They had to do it in the face of enormous challenges and outright hatred for momentary periods. They had to live with the horror of Oklahoma City and the difficulties that came along the way. But the people who serve us deserve our thanks -- and I thank them.
I thank those who served this administration in our cause who are no longer here tonight and one especially I am must thank, my friend and brother, Ron Brown. You're looking down on us and I know you're smiling too.
On a purely personal note, I must thank my Pastor Rex Horne who prayed with me before I came out here tonight and all the ministers and people of God who prayed for me and with me over these last four years. There were a few especially, and they know who they are, who came to the White House time after time in good times and bad.
When the times were bad they reminded me that God gave Saint Paul a thorn in his flesh, so he would not become exalted in his own eyes and that certainly was not a problem for me in the bad times.
When the times were good, they reminded me that humility is always in order in the presidency for in this life we see a class darkly and we cannot know the whole truth of our circumstances or the motives of those who oppose us. I thank them all for bringing me closer to God and to the eternal wisdom without which a president cannot serve.
I would like to say a special word of thanks to Senator Dole and I ask you join me in applause for his lifetime of service to the United States.
And I thank Jack Kemp for his service to America and his devotion to the proposition that this a country in which everyone should have a chance to live free and equal and to have a chance at success.
Let me say...
... and I had a good visit with Senator Dole not too long before he went out to speak. I thanked him for his love of our country, for his years of service.
I applauded the campaign that he fought so bravely to the very last minute. I thanked him for the work we did together to advance the common cause of America. And on behalf of all Americans, I wish him well and God speed.
Four years ago, on these very steps, we set forth on a journey to change the course of America for the better, to keep the American dream alive for everyone willing to work for it, to keep America the world's strongest force for peace and freedom and prosperity, to come together as one American community.
The time was one of widespread frustration and doubt about our economic and social problems, about our ability to deal with the vast sweep of change that was all around us. The scope and pace of those changes were threatening to many and our values seemed to be under attack on all sides.
But, together, you and I vowed to turn our country around, with a strategy to meet our challenges and protect our values, opportunity for all, responsibility from all, an American community of all Americans.
We have worked hard to end the politics of who's to blame and instead to ask, what are we going to do to make America better. Tonight, we proclaim that the vital American center is alive and well. It is a common ground on which we have made our progress. Today, our economy is stronger, our streets are safer, our environment is cleaner, the world is more secure and, thank God, our nation is more united.
(APPLAUSE) To all the men and women across this country who have created our jobs, taught our children, patrolled our streets and kept America safe throughout our world, I say, America's success is your success. This victory is your victory. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Now, my fellow Americans, a vast new century lies before us. It will be a time more full of opportunity for people to live out their dreams than any in human history.
We have committed this night to continuing our journey, to doing the hard work that will build our bridge to the 21st century, to give the young people here and those all across America, the America they deserve, and their children and their children's children.
But we have work to do. We have work to do to keep our economy growing steady and strong, by balancing the budget, while we honor our duties to our families, our parents and our children and our duty to pass on to our children the earth God gave us.
We have work to do to give all of our children the gift of an education, to make sure every eight-year-old can read, every 12-year- old can log on to the Internet and, yes, every single 18-year-old in this country willing to work for it can have a college education.
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