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'We choose growing together'

Excerpts from Tuesday's speeches at the Democratic National Convention, as prepared for delivery.

Cory Booker Mayor, Newark, N.J.

Our platform, crafted by Democrats, is not about partisanship but pragmatism; not about left or right, but about moving America and our economy forward. Our platform — and our president — stand firm in the conviction that America must continue to out-build, out-innovate and out-educate the world.

This platform is a clear choice between economic pathways: forward or back, inclusion or exclusion, grow together as a nation or be a country of savage disparities that favor the fortunate few over the greatest driving force of any economy — a large and robust middle class.

We choose forward. We choose inclusion. We choose growing together. We choose American economic might and muscle, standing strong on the bedrock of the American ideal: a strong, empowered and ever-growing middle class.

Julian Castro Mayor, San Antonio, Texas

Four years ago, America stood on the brink of a Depression. Despite incredible odds and united Republican opposition, our president took action. And now we've seen 4.5 million new jobs.

He knows better than anyone that there's more hard work to do. But we're making progress. And now we need to make a choice. It's a choice … between a country where the middle class pays more, so that millionaires can pay less. …

Or a country where everybody pays their fair share. It's a choice between a nation that slashes funding for our schools and guts Pell Grants … or a nation that invests more in education. It's a choice between a politician who rewards companies that ship American jobs overseas … or a leader who brings jobs back home.

This is the choice before us. And to me, to my generation, and for all the generations that will come after us, our choice is clear. Our choice is a man who's always chosen us.

A man who already is our president — Barack Obama.

Ted Strickland Former Gov., Ohio

Mitt Romney never saw the point of building something when he could profit from tearing it down. If Mitt was Santa Claus, he'd fire the reindeer and outsource the elves.

Mitt Romney has so little economic patriotism that even his money needs a passport. It summers on the beaches of the Cayman Islands and winters on the slopes of the Swiss Alps. In Matthew 6:21, the Scriptures teach us that where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. My friends, any man who aspires to be our president should keep both his treasure and his heart in the United States of America. And it's well past time for Mitt Romney to come clean with the American people.

Michelle Obama, First lady

Barack knows the American Dream because he's lived it … and he wants everyone in this country to have that same opportunity, no matter who we are, or where we're from, or what we look like, or who we love.

And he believes that when you've worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity … you do not slam it shut behind you … you reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.

So when people ask me whether being in the White House has changed my husband, I can honestly say that when it comes to his character, and his convictions, and his heart, Barack Obama is still the same man I fell in love with all those years ago.

He's the same man who started his career by turning down high- paying jobs and instead working in struggling neighborhoods where a steel plant had shut down, fighting to rebuild those communities and get folks back to work … because for Barack, success isn't about how much money you make, it's about the difference you make in people's lives.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz U.S. Rep., Fla.

This convention is about more than renominating President Obama. It's about Americans coming together to build one economy — not from the top down, but from the middle class out and the bottom up.

This convention's success will be based on engaging the American spirit and involving people who want to put their shoulders to the wheel and change our country for the better.

Rahm Emanuel, Mayor, Chicago

I want to tell you what I saw up close in the White House while serving our president in a time of crisis, about the values he leans on and the voices he listens to. When President Obama entered the White House, the economy was in a free-fall. The auto industry: on its back. The banks: frozen up. More than 3 million Americans had already lost their jobs. And America's bravest, our men and women in uniform, were fighting what would soon be the longest wars in our history. You remember the uncertainty and fear that seized the country.

On that first day, I said, "Mr. President, which crisis do you want to tackle first?" He looked at me, with that look he usually reserved for his chief of staff, "Rahm, we were sent here to tackle all of them, not choose between them." There was no blueprint or how-to manual for fixing a global financial meltdown, an auto crisis, two wars and a great recession, all at the same time. Believe me, if it existed, I would have found it. Each crisis was so deep and so dangerous; any one of them would have defined another presidency. We faced a once-in-a-generation moment in American history.

Fortunately for all of us, we have a once-in-a-generation president. And in those uncharted waters, I saw where the president finds his North Star. Every night, President Obama reads 10 letters from everyday Americans.

When I met with the president at the end of each day, he made sure he had their letters to read at his residence — letters from people just hoping for someone in power to understand their struggles and challenges.

I cannot tell you how many times — whether we were discussing the economy, health care or energy prices — the president would walk to his desk, take out one of their letters, read it to all of us, and say, "This is who we are fighting for" — parents working hard to save for their child's education; middle-class Americans fighting tooth-and-nail to hold onto their jobs, their homes and life savings.

Martin O'Malley Governor, Md.

Facts are facts: No president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the Great Depression inherited a worse economy, bigger job losses or deeper problems from his predecessor. But President Obama is moving America forward, not back.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan now say they want to take America back. And so we ask: Back to what? Back to the failed policies that drove us into a deep recession? Back to the days of record job losses? Back to the days when insurance companies called being a woman a "pre-existing condition"?

No, thank you. I don't want to go back. Do you?

Nancy Pelosi U.S. Rep., Calif.

For me, politics is an extension of my role as a mother and a grandmother. For the Democratic women of the House, our work is not about the next election, but rather the next generation.

Working with President Barack Obama, we are committed to reigniting the American dream: the ideal that if you're willing to work hard, play by the rules and take responsibility, you have the opportunity to climb the ladder of success.

'We choose growing together' 09/04/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 11:42pm]
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