Let me start by saying, "Thank you." You have stood with Elizabeth
and me throughout this campaign. Your support has sustained us as
we have traveled across this country.
Earlier today, I suspended my campaign for the Democratic nomination
for the presidency. I made this announcement from where our journey
began just over 12 months ago: New Orleans.
I began my presidential campaign in New Orleans to remind the
country that all of us -- as citizens and as a government -- have a
moral responsibility to each other, and what we do together matters.
Now, it's time for me to step aside so that history can blaze its
path. We do not know who will take the final steps to the White
House -- but what we do know is that our Democratic Party will make
And, along the way, all of you who have been involved in this
campaign and this movement for change and this cause, I am asking
you to continue speaking out for those who have no voice, just as
Elizabeth and I will continue to do. We need you.
Do not turn away from the great struggles before us. Do not give up
on the causes that we have fought for. Do not walk away from what's
possible, because it's time for all of us -- all of us together --
to make the two Americas one. We need you.
I hope you will take a few moments to listen to the video clip of my
speech in New Orleans earlier this afternoon or to read it below.
In the meantime, Elizabeth and my family join me in thanking all of
you for your support and for working so hard on my behalf. We are
truly blessed to have such friends.
January 30, 2008
Thank you all very much. We're very proud to be back here.
During the spring of 2006, I had the extraordinary experience of
bringing 700 college kids here to New Orleans to work. These are
kids who gave up their spring break to come to New Orleans to work,
to rehabilitate houses, because of their commitment as Americans,
because they believed in what was possible, and because they cared
about their country.
I began my presidential campaign here to remind the country that we,
as citizens and as a government, have a moral responsibility to each
other, and what we do together matters. We must do better, if we
want to live up to the great promise of this country that we all
love so much.
It is appropriate that I come here today. It's time for me to step
aside so that history can blaze its path. We do not know who will
take the final steps to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but what we do
know is that our Democratic Party will make history. We will be
strong, we will be unified, and with our convictions and a little
backbone we will take back the White House in November and we'll
create hope and opportunity for this country.
This journey of ours began right here in New Orleans. It was a
December morning in the Lower Ninth Ward when people went to work,
not just me, but lots of others went to work with shovels and
hammers to help restore a house that had been destroyed by the
We joined together in a city that had been abandoned by our
government and had been forgotten, but not by us. We knew that they
still mourned the dead, that they were still stunned by the
destruction, and that they wondered when all those cement steps in
all those vacant lots would once again lead to a door, to a home,
and to a dream.
We came here to the Lower Ninth Ward to rebuild. And we're going to
rebuild today and work today, and we will continue to come back. We
will never forget the heartache and we'll always be here to bring
them hope, so that someday, one day, the trumpets will sound in
Musicians' Village, where we are today, play loud across Lake
Ponchartrain, so that working people can come marching in and those
steps once again can lead to a family living out the dream in
We sat with poultry workers in Mississippi, janitors in Florida,
nurses in California.
We listened as child after child told us about their worry about
whether we would preserve the planet.
We listened to worker after worker say "the economy is tearing my
We walked the streets of Cleveland, where house after house was in
And we said, "We're better than this. And economic justice in
America is our cause."
And we spent a day, a summer day, in Wise, Virginia, with a man
named James Lowe, who told us the story of having been born with a
cleft palate. He had no health care coverage. His family couldn't
afford to fix it. And finally some good Samaritan came along and
paid for his cleft palate to be fixed, which allowed him to speak
for the first time. But they did it when he was 50 years old. His
amazing story, though, gave this campaign voice: universal health
care for every man, woman and child in America. That is our cause.
And we do this -- we do this for each other in America. We don't
turn away from a neighbor in their time of need. Because every one
of us knows that what -- but for the grace of God, there goes us.
The American people have never stopped doing this, even when their
government walked away, and walked away it has from hardworking
people, and, yes, from the poor, those who live in poverty in this
For decades, we stopped focusing on those struggles. They didn't
register in political polls, they didn't get us votes and so we
stopped talking about it. I don't know how it started. I don't know
when our party began to turn away from the cause of working people,
from the fathers who were working three jobs literally just to pay
the rent, mothers sending their kids to bed wrapped up in their
clothes and in coats because they couldn't afford to pay for heat.
We know that our brothers and sisters have been bullied into
believing that they can't organize and can't put a union in the
workplace. Well, in this campaign, we didn't turn our heads. We
looked them square in the eye and we said, "We see you, we hear you,
and we are with you. And we will never forget you." And I have a
feeling that if the leaders of our great Democratic Party continue
to hear the voices of working people, a proud progressive will
occupy the White House.
Now, I've spoken to both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama. They
have both pledged to me and more importantly through me to America,
that they will make ending poverty central to their campaign for the
And more importantly, they have pledged to me that as President of
the United States they will make ending poverty and economic
inequality central to their Presidency. This is the cause of my life
and I now have their commitment to engage in this cause.
And I want to say to everyone here, on the way here today, we passed
under a bridge that carried the interstate where 100 to 200 homeless
Americans sleep every night. And we stopped, we got out, we went in
and spoke to them.
There was a minister there who comes every morning and feeds the
homeless out of her own pocket. She said she has no money left in
her bank account, she struggles to be able to do it, but she knows
it's the moral, just and right thing to do. And I spoke to some of
the people who were there and as I was leaving, one woman said to
me, "You won't forget us, will you? Promise me you won't forget us."
Well, I say to her and I say to all of those who are struggling in
this country, we will never forget you. We will fight for you. We
will stand up for you.
But I want to say this -- I want to say this because it's important.
With all of the injustice that we've seen, I can say this, America's
hour of transformation is upon us. It may be hard to believe when we
have bullets flying in Baghdad and it may be hard to believe when it
costs $58 to fill your car up with gas. It may be hard to believe
when your school doesn't have the right books for your kids. It's
hard to speak out for change when you feel like your voice is not
But I do hear it. We hear it. This Democratic Party hears you. We
hear you, once again. And we will lift you up with our dream of
One America, one America that works for everybody.
One America where struggling towns and factories come back to life
because we finally transformed our economy by ending our dependence
One America where the men who work the late shift and the women who
get up at dawn to drive a two-hour commute and the young person who
closes the store to save for college. They will be honored for that
One America where no child will go to bed hungry because we will
finally end the moral shame of 37 million people living in poverty.
One America where every single man, woman and child in this country
has health care.
One America with one public school system that works for all of our
One America that finally brings this war in Iraq to an end. And
brings our service members home with the hero's welcome that they
have earned and that they deserve.
Today, I am suspending my campaign for the Democratic nomination for
But I want to say this to everyone: with Elizabeth, with my family,
with my friends, with all of you and all of your support, this son
of a millworker's gonna be just fine. Our job now is to make certain
that America will be fine.
And I want to thank everyone who has worked so hard â?? all those who
have volunteered, my dedicated campaign staff who have worked
absolutely tirelessly in this campaign.
And I want to say a personal word to those I've seen literally in
the last few days â?? those I saw in Oklahoma yesterday, in Missouri,
last night in Minnesota â?? who came to me and said don't forget us.
Speak for us. We need your voice. I want you to know that you almost
changed my mind, because I hear your voice, I feel you, and your
cause is our cause. Your country needs you â?? every single one of
All of you who have been involved in this campaign and this movement
for change and this cause, we need you. It is in our hour of need
that your country needs you. Don't turn away, because we have not
just a city of New Orleans to rebuild. We have an American house to
This work goes on. It goes on right here in Musicians' Village.
There are homes to build here, and in neighborhoods all along the
Gulf. The work goes on for the students in crumbling schools just
yearning for a chance to get ahead. It goes on for day care workers,
for steel workers risking their lives in cities all across this
country. And the work goes on for two hundred thousand men and women
who wore the uniform of the United States of America, proud
veterans, who go to sleep every night under bridges, or in shelters,
or on grates, just as the people we saw on the way here today. Their
cause is our cause.
Their struggle is our struggle. Their dreams are our dreams.
Do not turn away from these great struggles before us. Do not give
up on the causes that we have fought for. Do not walk away from
what's possible, because it's time for all of us, all of us
together, to make the two Americas one.
Thank you. God bless you, and let's go to work. Thank you all very