My fellow Americans, my fellow Democrats!
With profound humility I am proud to accept this nomination. Humility because no one deserves to be president of this great nation, but somebody has to do it, and I am proud that you have recognized me as the only human being in the country who is qualified to handle the office. For this I salute you and I thank you. (Pause for applause) I will use all my considerable attributes -- including my unshakable resolve and my unwavering stance on the issues -- to make sure your confidence in me is not misplaced.
As we all know, the most critical challenge facing our country right now is the war on terror. If terror prevails there will no longer be any need to worry about the fact that nearly everybody in one of our two Americas has inadequate health care, cannot find a decent-paying job, cannot buy holiday presents for his or her children, cannot keep them from going to bed hungry while providing for their higher education. I am committed to vanquishing terror in order to preserve our ability to agonize over these things.
As distasteful as it was, I voted for this war - before turning against it. I voted for it because I believed it was important, although I could not see any good reason to authorize its funding. In fact, I thought this issue was so important that it is one of the few things I have voted on in the last few years.
But I hate war. Teresa hates war. I have always hated war even though, as you may know by now, some people consider me a war hero. I believe this qualifies me to hate war more than most people. So, when I speak of winning the war on terror, I do not speak of killing. I speak of making peace with those who would make war on us. A war of peace. A war with no collateral damage. (Applause)
Don’t you hate that expression - collateral damage? (Applause)
When I am president I will conduct a war on terror that actually makes America safer and stronger while still living up to its values – a war without rancor. A war without violence. A war without death. A war without war. (Applause)
Nor will we be weak in our quest for peace, for peace can only come from strength. But strength need not come from the barrel of a gun. They say it is better to be the hammer than the anvil, but can one truly say that the hammer is stronger than the anvil? Of course not. Each has its own unique contribution to make. That is the perspective from which I will approach the matter of national security. Sometimes we will be the hammer, sometimes the anvil. We will achieve peace not through war, but through a more supine foreign policy which encourages prudent, peaceful discussion -- pre-emptive surrender. (Applause)
In all fairness I must say that the current administration has done some things right. But I will do things more than right and I will not, I repeat, will not – will not ever – lie to the American people. (Applause).
America needs a leader who does not exaggerate, equivocate or prevaricate. A leader able to understand intelligence; a leader who not only knows how to prevent a nuclear attack but also how to pronounce it. I will be that leader. (Applause)
The fact is this country needs a regime change. Now I know that sounds harsh because we usually associate the word regime with dictators. Nevertheless, I repeat - this country needs a regime change. (Applause)
In international relations it is important to understand that things are not always what they seem. I went to school in Switzerland and vacationed in France where I learned the importance of fine cuisine and a great coiffeur. Thus, I am on intimate terms with subtlety.
Our country needs a leader who can restore the luster to our tarnished image abroad. A leader who can repair our tattered relations with les nations du monde. A leader skilled in conflict resolution. A leader not beholden to 57 varieties of special interests. I will be that leader. (Applause)
But it is not enough to secure our country for the next four years, or maybe eight – do I hear eight? (Applause) – yes, eight! (Applause) - years. (Applause).
We must also guarantee that our national security will remain in capable hands into the future and that means - education. This country needs a leader who will improve education so that our children can decide for themselves whether or not there are Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. I will be that leader. (Applause)
But national security is not our only concern for the future. The direction this country takes will be determined to a large extent by the next president’s appointments to the Supreme Court.
Unless we are to sink deeper into Talibanism it is essential to elect a president who respects all persons. Let me state my position on this issue unequivocally: A human baby is a human baby. I believe human life begins at conception, but it lacks personhood. Human fertilized matter never develops into anything that is not human, but that does not mean it is a person. (Applause)
But respect for all persons extends far beyond the narrow question of what it means to be human. It also goes to fundamental human rights like wages and tax credits. (Applause)
The American economy is at a crossroads. If America turns right, the rich will get richer while the poor grow poorer. But turn the other way and the least of our citizens gets his piece of the pie.
Lest you misunderstand, I am not against tax cuts. But I believe in tax cuts for those Americans who need them most, that is, to those who do not earn enough to pay taxes at all. Looking out for the weak – isn’t that the American way? (Applause)
Now, I don’t expect to be popular with everyone. I do not expect, for example, that the heads of greedy corporations will ever like me very much. For one thing, I plan to scale back their tax cuts and close the loopholes enjoyed by the special interests so that the poor can keep more of the corporation's money. So if you’re a greedy CEO, look out! The only tax loopholes that will remain will be for people in essential industries, like condiments.
As another JFK once said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country." This is still valid today. Paying your fair share is the best contribution you can make. I will make sure Americans pay at least their fair share.
For too long, America has arrogantly gone its own way without considering the lessons learned by other countries, other governments, other civilizations. America needs a leader who will not be afraid to look to other countries for ideas about the best ways to handle our problems. I expect we have much to learn from our neighbors on this fragile planet. Thus, I have already established a task force to study the French economic model. I believe that with innovations based on French labor laws, the Canadian health care system and Cuban laws regarding the treatment of prisoners, I can lead America into a new age of prosperity and human rights while still respecting our Constitution.
America needs a flexible leader, one who is not bogged down in ideology, one who can easily adjust to changing circumstances – in other words a leader for all seasons, a leader on every side of the issue. I will be that leader. (Applause)
Thank you and may your god, whatever you call him or her, smile, not just on our wonderful land, but on the world we are about to change. Good night. May the Force be with you.