The 1992 Bill Clinton Stump Speech
What has changed since then? Twenty-two years later ...
SCENE : CAMPAIGN SPEECH
EARLY JANUARY 1992 [EDITED TRANSCRIPT STUMP SPEECH GIVEN in HOUSTON, TEXAS OF YOUTUBE CLIP POSTED BY MICHAEL BERGERON]
SOUND EFFECT OF A LOUD COCKTAIL PARTY. THE NOISE COMPETES WITH CLINTON. HE IS JUST STANDING IN SHIRTSLEEVES AND A TIE SPEAKING INTO A LECTERN – PERHAPS IMPROVISED HOTEL FURNITURE. THE LIGHTING IS COCKTAIL PARTY DIM. GLASSES CLINK. THIS CLINTON IS PLUMPER AND MORE MIDMANAGEMENT THAN HIS LATER YEARS.
Ten years ago we had the highest wages in the world and now we’re ten. Ten years ago of the 22 richest countries in the world, we were eighth in the equality of our income distribution and now we’re dead last.
THE NOISE OF THE COCKTAIL PARTY IS SO LOUD THAT HE HAS TO REPEAT HIMSELF OVER THE NOISE.
Middle class people have worked harder for lower wages, spent less time with their children and spent more for health care, housing, education and taxes only to get less far. Poverty has exploded and how could it not? Where could can poor people go when there is no middle class to work into?
George Bush says this can’t be the federal government’s concern. This is for the local government. This is for the thousand points of light.
Well, a friend of mine said it’s kind of hard to be one of the thousand points of light if you can’t pay your electric bill.
DELIGHTED LAUGHTER, FOLLOWED BY A DROP IN BACKGROUND NOISE.
We can’t go on like this. If you vote for me this is what I am going to do.
NO BACKGROUND NOISE.
I will give you growth. I will give you prosperity. We will double highway spending, put some people to work. We’ll give dignity back to the working poor. We will change the banking system in this country . . . [DROWN OUT BY APPLAUSE]
Let’s look to other countries. There are places with universal healthcare, a four week paid vacation every year and shorter hours and sick leave for people and for their children. Maternity leave.
We are talking about a politics of empowerment here where we enable people to do things they never thought they could do and then require them to do it. We are talking about spending more money for childcare and healthcare. We are talking about asking managers to stop raising their pay by four times as much as their workers pay goes up and instead by making their profits the old-fashioned way.
We are asking the politicians to show courage to change and come together.
This is the longest lasting democracy on the face of the earth because at every critical juncture in our history we came together and we had the courage to change.
If you are sick and tired of the politics of division and you don’t want a president who will do anything it takes to win but a president who will do anything it takes to help you win, then I ask you to vote for me.