Fifteen years ago, only a few blocks from here, many of you and I began a journey.
We began as young men and women, following of enthusiasm and fired more with passion and purpose than with political wisdom. We announced what most seasoned observers considered a hopeless candidacy. But through the unceasing labors of many of you here today – and the willingness of the people of this state to take a bold and generous chance – you elected the second youngest candidate ever to the United States Senate.
While the world has changed dramatically for me and for you during the decade and a half of our journey, in many ways, it remains the same, for although some progress has been made, many of the same issues that brought us together in 1972 now summon us again. The issues we spoke of that day: public confidence in our political institutions; the threat to environmental; the danger of ideological foreign policy; the dwindling commitment to education; the pressing needs of our unemployed and poor; and of the crisis of drugs confronting our children – remain today at the heart of our national agenda.
I ask you once again to join me, this time in an even more arduous and improbable quest, for you are my friends and this is my home. Your unyielding confidence and unbending support in good times and bad has been a source of strength and a never-ending joy. And it’s your help I seek first, as today, I announce my candidacy for President of the United States of America.
Fifteen years ago, we said that the key to restoring confidence in our traditions and our institutions was public officials who would “stand up and tell the people exactly what they think.” And to paraphrase what I said on that day, I mean to be that kind of candidate, and with the grace of God and the support of the American people, I mean to be that kind of President.
Today, on the surface, America seems to be a tranquil and prosperous nation. But though it is barely discernible to th...