Excerpts from Wednesday's speeches at the Democratic National Convention, as prepared for delivery.
Emanuel Cleaver U.S. rep., Missouri
President Barack Obama has been lampooned for speaking of hope; hope for a better America. I want to encourage him and all of us to continue to hope for an America that remembers, recognizes, and fervently protects its greatness.
Yes, President Obama! Continue to have hope. Continue to speak of hope to the American people, because it is impossible for hope to overdraw its account in God's bank.
The tough days our nation faced may have caused us great pain, but they must not and will not cause us to lose our hope.
Hope fills the holes of my frustration in my heart. Hope inspires me to believe that any day now, we will catch up to the ideals put forth by our nation's founding fathers.
Hope is the motivation that empowers the unemployed, enabling them to get out of bed every single morning with unbounded enthusiasm as they look for work. It is our hope and faith that move us to action. It is our hope and faith that reminds us to pray and also affirms that we must move our feet. It is our hope that tells us our latter days will be greater than the former. It is our hope that instructs us to march on!
Barbara Mikulski U.S. sen., Maryland
The women of the Senate are like the U.S. Olympic team: We come in different sizes, but we sure are united in our determination to do the best for our country!
We've built families, businesses, and communities. We're Sunday school teachers and former governors, prosecutors and moms in tennis shoes.
I was a social worker for Baltimore families.
Now I'm a social worker building opportunities for families throughout America.
Cecile Richards Planned Parenthood
Romney and Ryan are campaigning for women's votes by saying, "Women need our help."
This is coming from two men who are committed to ending insurance coverage for birth control. Who would turn women's health care decisions over to our bosses. And who won't even stand up for equal pay for women.
As my grandmother back in Texas would have said about any more help from Mitt Romney, "I'm going to have to take in ironing."
Thomas Menino Mayor, Boston
Mitt likes business-speak. Think of me as a reference check. In Massachusetts, Mitt Romney had the one job in his life that's closest to being president, and he wasn't all that good at it.
Charles Schumer U.S. senator, N.Y.
The last Republican president tried to privatize Social Security. The Romney-Ryan ticket says, "Why stop with Social Security when you can privatize Medicare, too?" The last Republican president gave us an ultra-conservative Supreme Court. Mitt Romney would move the Court even further right. . . . Some say Romney would repeat the past. I disagree — he'd be worse.
Take taxes. . . . We know Mitt Romney never met a tax haven he didn't like. But his new favorite tax haven is actually not the Cayman Islands — it's Paul Ryan's budget. Under this plan, Mitt Romney's own taxes would drop to almost zero. But . . . families with children whose household income is less than $200,000 would see their taxes go up $2,000, on average. That's not trickle down. That's a dirty trick.
Elizabeth Warren, Candidate for Senate
The Republican vision is clear: "I've got mine, the rest of you are on your own." Republicans say they don't believe in government. Sure they do. They believe in government to help themselves and their powerful friends. After all, Mitt Romney's the guy who said corporations are people.
No, Gov. Romney, corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they cry, they dance. They live, they love, and they die. And that matters. That matters because we don't run this country for corporations, we run it for people. And that's why we need Barack Obama.
Bob King, United Auto Workers
In some of America's darkest economic days since the Great Depression, and in the face of tremendous political venom, President Obama met that true test of moral character.
He stood up — not for what was popular and easy, but for what was right. He stood with American workers – not just autoworkers — but a million workers in towns all across America who, if the auto industry went under, wouldn't be able to put food on the table. . . .
And what did Mitt Romney say? "Let Detroit go bankrupt." By contrast, President Obama took action, putting together a rescue team and demanding real change, real sacrifice, from everyone.
Jack Markell, Governor, Delaware
As someone who has been a businessman and a governor, let me level with you: Just because Mitt Romney was a successful private equity executive, that does not mean he deserves to be president. Because when you move from business to government, what matters are the lessons you learn. . . . And Mitt Romney learned all the wrong lessons. As an executive in private equity, Mitt Romney's focus was on the bottom line. And that makes sense: His constituents were his financial shareholders. When he closed factories and sent jobs overseas, it was to benefit his shareholders. That was his job, and he was good at it.
When you are a governor, or the president, it's different. Your shareholders are teachers, construction workers, and hardware store owners. And your bottom line is not what goes into your pocket — but what goes into theirs.
Bill Clinton Former president
In Tampa the Republican argument against the president's re-election was pretty simple: We left him a total mess, he hasn't finished cleaning it up yet, so fire him and put us back in.
I like the argument for President Obama's re-election a lot better. He inherited a deeply damaged economy, put a floor under the crash, began the long hard road to recovery, and laid the foundation for a more modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses, and lots of new wealth for the innovators.
The most important question is, what kind of country do you want to live in? If you want a you're-on-your-own, winner-take-all society, you should support the Republican ticket. If you want a country of shared prosperity and shared responsibility — a we're-all-in-this-together society — you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden."
Patty Murray U.S. sen., Washington
As a daughter, a mother, a grandmother, and as a senator from the great state of Washington, I'm proud to be here, standing with President Barack Obama. For me—as it is for so many Americans—this election is personal. When I look at the middle-class tradition President Obama is fighting to save—the one Mitt Romney's policies would destroy—I see the very reason I'm able to stand here tonight.