NORTH CAROLINA–(ENEWSPF)–November 4, 2016. At an early-vote rally in North Carolina, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Pharrell Williams laid out the stakes in this election, and why she is the best candidate to build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. Clinton said Trump as president would follow the pattern of Trump as a candidate: he would pit people against each other, put himself first and lash out at anyone who got under his very thin skin.
Sanders cited Clinton’s support for a higher minimum wage, affordable college and more families being able to access healthcare, as the reason for his enthusiastic support. Sanders also touted the New College Compact he and Secretary Clinton developed together, which will allow families making less than $125,000 to attend college tuition-free, as proof of Secretary Clinton’s desire to break down all the barriers holding families back. Sanders said, “It is totally insane and unfair and counterproductive to the future of this country when we have hundreds of thousands of bright young people who have done well in high school who want to go to college but can’t get a higher education for one reason: their families lack the income. God only knows how many scientists and engineers and doctors and teachers we are not developing because of that.”
“Thank you! Wow. Thank you all. Whoo! I got to say – thank you! Thank you. I got to say, after hearing from these two extraordinary men – I feel all fired up and ready to go for the next five days.
It is so great to be back here with all of you, and there are a few people in the audience that I just want to acknowledge because I’m delighted they’re there. U.S. Congressman David Price, I saw right there. Thank you, David. State Senator Dan Blue, Jr., I know – right there. Thank you, Dan. And I’m not sure she’s still here, but Deborah Ross, who I hope is your next senator. There she is. Because everything Pharrell and Bernie just said is not only about the presidential election and what’s at stake, it is about who’s going to represent you as your governor, as your senator, as members of Congress and the legislature. And you have some excellent candidates, and we are so hopeful that you will vote for them and vote for what they represent.
I really want to thank my friend, Bernie Sanders, for everything that he has done. I got to serve with Bernie. We were colleagues in the Senate. I saw firsthand his commitment to the people of Vermont and to the values that have guided his life. And when we faced each other in the primary, here’s what I was so proud about. We ran a campaign on the issues that matter to the American people. And I think because of that campaign, we were able to raise a lot of the issues that you heard Bernie talking about to the level that they are part of this presidential campaign, and they will be part of our agenda after January 20th, Bernie.
And I’ve got to say, too, this election has been a lot more fun now that we’re on the same side. And I want to thank Bernie for everything he’s done. He’s crisscrossing our country, energizing people, getting folks off the sidelines and engaged in politics. And there’s no question that his efforts are paying off. And what he said at the beginning of his remarks is absolutely true. My name may be on the ballot, but it is not about me, it’s not about my opponent, it’s not about Bernie, it’s not about David or Deborah. It is about you and your lives and what we’re going to do together.
Now, Bernie and I have already worked – we’ve worked on the plan that he told you about to make college tuition free for the middle class, for working families, for poor kids, and debt-free for everyone. Because, as Bernie said earlier this year, when people who care about progressive causes stand together, we win. And then we can get to work on making those causes into realities for the lives of our people.
So I am proud to be here with you, and I am so excited about the election, about everything that we’re going to do together. And I’m especially pleased to have Pharrell here. Now, every time I see him, which is not often enough, we always have a good conversation, like we did before this event. He always gets you to think. Not only is he a world-class talent, but he is a passionate advocate for issues that are too often overlooked and ignored. He wants to – and I’m going to do everything I can to help him – to deliver giving kids who are at risk access to educational and arts programs that they deserve to have just as much as any other child. So tell me this – tell me this, North Carolina. Tell me, North Carolina: Are you really, really, really happy that we’re here tonight? Well, we sure are. There’s nowhere we’d rather be.
Now, let me ask you this: How many of you have already voted? Well, I hope you’re going to bring more people to vote as well, right? Are you ready to volunteer? We can all use you in these last days. Are you ready to elect Roy Cooper? Well, I’m glad to hear that because it’s time you had a governor who puts families first, not radical ideology. And I love seeing our educators stand up and applaud. Because you need a governor who actually cares about the education of the children of North Carolina.
Now, are you ready to elect Deborah Ross to the United States Senate? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you, Deborah and her race are the talk of everywhere. People know she will be an independent voice for North Carolina families, that she will represent you with integrity and excellence. And unlike her opponent, she’s never been afraid to stand up to Donald Trump.
Are you ready now to choose our next president and commander-in-chief? Well, I’m excited. Did any of you see the debates? Well, there are several notable aspects of those debates. I mean, one is the very fact that I stood on the stage for four and a half hours with my opponent, proving once and for all I have the stamina to be president and commander-in-chief. But he also kept saying, like, ‘Oh, well, you know, what have you done for the last 30 years?’ And occasionally I would interject and say what I had done. And today in Greenville, we had a perfect comparison. I started my career fighting for children and families with the Children’s Defense Fund when I got right out of law school in the 1970s. I went to South Carolina to gather evidence to stop the government in South Carolina from putting young men, teenagers, in jails with adults. I went to Alabama undercover to gather information about segregated academies to deprive them of tax-exempt status which they did not observe. I went door to door in New Bedford, Massachusetts, gathering information to make the case that every child in America, including children with disabilities, should have the right to a public school education.
And as we heard this morning from just a wonderful, distinguished older woman by the name of Mae Wiggins, who came all the way down to tell her story – she was a nurse in New York City back in the 1970s, excited about being a young nurse, getting her career off to a start. And she was looking for a place to live. And she had a budget, like everybody does. And she found what she thought would be the perfect place. It was within her budget. It was close to work. She went to apply for an apartment. It was a new building, brand-new building. It wasn’t even totally finished yet. She went into the little office and asked for an application, and they said, ‘Oh, we don’t have any apartments.’ She said, ‘But I saw the advertisement.’ ‘Well, we have no apartments let.’ Well, she thought that was pretty peculiar, and so she decided to do a little investigation. And she found out that all of her African American friends who’d gone to that apartment run by Donald Trump and his father, Fred, had been told there were no apartments.
So she had the gumption to go and make a complaint, which led to the Justice Department suing them for discrimination. They settled the suit, but then they had to come back a year later and sue them again because they were still discriminating. So when you hear, as, Bernie so powerfully said at the end of his remarks, that we are standing against the possibility of returning and normalizing discrimination, take it seriously, my friends, because it truly is – it truly is at stake in this election.
And I was also very, very grateful I had a role in helping to create the Children’s Health Insurance Program as First Lady. And let me tell you, one of the great – one of the great honors as I travel across the country is meeting young people who are the beneficiaries, or meeting their families. I met a woman here in North Carolina who told her story, and we actually recorded it because all of us were so moved by what she had to say. When her baby was born, her daughter, she was deaf. And the doctors all said, she’ll never communicate so she cannot learn to speak, so you need to teach her sign language. And the mom did all this research and concluded that there were some treatments that might help her daughter, but she didn’t have that kind of money. They didn’t have that kind of insurance.
And she was telling her doctor she didn’t know what to do, and the doctor just serendipitously said, ‘You know, there’s this new program. It’s called the Children’s Health Insurance Program. It’s for people who are not poor but they don’t make enough money to afford that kind of insurance and they don’t work for an employer who provides it. You should look into it.’ And she did. And that began the process of her getting the treatment that her daughter needed. And when I met the mother, I also met the daughter, right here. I talked with her. She told me how proud she was because she had just graduated from college, George Washington University.
So yes, I do sweat the details and I do have a lot of plans. Tim Kaine and I put a whole book out called ‘Stronger Together’ telling you exactly what we’re going to try to do if we’re fortunate enough to be President and Vice President because I actually think it’s important for you to know what we’re going to do together. And as a Senator, I helped to rebuild New York City after 9/11 and provided health care to our brave first responders. As your Secretary of State, I traveled to 112 countries, negotiated cease fires, reduced the threat of nuclear weapons, stood up for human rights and women’s rights and LGBT rights all around the world.
And everything I’ve done started by listening to people, listening to hear your stories, what you’re worried about, and then working to bring people together, to find common ground, even with people who disagreed with me on lots of issues. When I was First Lady, I had a great commitment to kids in foster care. And I wanted to improve our foster care and adoption laws. And I was looking for some Republican to work with me, and I found one because I did my research and found out that one of the most partisan Republicans, Congressman Tom DeLay from Texas, had a heart for children in foster care. He and his wife had fostered children. And I called him up. I said, ‘Congressman, would you work with me to change the laws on foster care and adoption?’ There was a silence. He said, ‘Well, what do you want me to do?’ I said, ‘Well, come to the White House. Come to a meeting. We’ll sit down and figure out what we can do.’ And we did. And I meet those kids, and I meet those families, kids who were taken out of foster care and given the chance to have a loving permanent family for the first time.
Now, I’m telling you this because I really believe that’s the only way we’re going to get things done. And if you elect me next Tuesday, that is the kind of president I will be.
So let me just – let me just mention a few of the ideas that we’ve been putting forward to help you and your families get ahead and stay ahead because I truly believe you need a candidate you can vote for, not just someone to vote against. But as you’re making this choice, we need to be clear about what the choice is because come January 20th, America will have a new President. It will either be me or my opponent. Now, I think it’s fair to say things are going to change. Change is part of life. That much is certain. The question is, what kind of change are we going to see? Are we going to build a stronger, fairer, better America, or are we going to fear each other and fear our future?
I want you just to imagine. Imagine the different kinds of futures that are available, depending upon who’s elected on January 20th, because by imagining it, I want you to think about every issue you care about, everything that is dear to you, every word from Pharrell and from Bernie. It’s hard for me to imagine that we would have a president who has demeaned women, mocked the disabled, insulted African Americans and Latinos, pitted people against each other instead of bringing them together. That is unfortunately, though, what we have seen in this campaign. What we have seen, what’s been said […] it’s been. I know there are a lot of people who are upset about what’s gone on in this campaign, aren’t there?
People come and talk to me. I’ve had people say that they can’t sleep, that their stomachs are bothering them, they have headaches. And I think that’s an important signal, because this is a big decision. And as Michelle Obama has said, the presidency doesn’t change you – who you are, it reveals who you are. And I think it’s fair to say that my opponent has already revealed who he is. And he wants to ban every Muslim in the world from coming to the United States. Our country is founded on religious freedom. It is one of the most important building blocks of our democracy. He has said that he thinks the lives of black people are all crime and poverty and despair. He has no idea. No idea about the strength of the black church, the vibrancy of black-owned businesses, the excellence of historically black colleges and universities. He seems not to recognize the rise of a new generation of black activists for social justice and the success of black leaders in every field.
And we saw that again in the way he treated the Central Park Five. These were five black and Latino kids, some as young as 14, who were wrongly convicted of a terrible crime in New York City back in 1990. Donald Trump took out full-page ads in four newspapers calling for the death penalty for these kids. Nearly three decades, they were exonerated by DNA evidence. And in addition, someone else confessed to the crime so they were finally released from prison. But not only did Trump refuse to apologize for what he had said about them and even calling for their executions, he actually said they should still be in prison. Evidence didn’t matter. The law didn’t matter. To him, those kids would always be guilty. So think about it. If he wants to keep exonerated people in jail, how can we trust him to fight for the rule of justice and fairness and criminal justice reform in America? Do we want him appointing our judges?”
HILLARY CLINTON: “Do we want him controlling the Justice Department?”
HILLARY CLINTON: “Well, I’ve said many times he has shown us who he is; now it is up to us to decide who we are. And right now, people across our country are coming together to do just that. They are rejecting the dark and divisive vision for one that is more hopeful and inclusive. We know that America is bighearted, not smallminded. We want to lift people up, not tear each other down. And that’s why I do believe we are stronger together.
So let me paint you a different picture. Here’s what we’re going to do together. We’re going to take on systemic racism with a full commitment and real follow-through. Because we refuse to accept as normal some of what we’re seeing across America. What happened to that church in Mississippi yesterday should not have happened and it should never be accepted. People painted the words, ‘Vote Trump’ on the side and then set it on fire. Who would do that? Who would do that to a place of worship where people seek solace? That can never be normal. It can never be acceptable. What happened in Flint, Michigan, as Bernie said, can never be normal, can never be acceptable. Little children drinking and bathing in poisoned water that will affect their health for years to come.
And then we know, don’t we, too many young African Americans are dying in police incidents or because of gun violence. We know their names: Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner and Sandra Bland and Keith Scott and so many others. We have got to face this, and we’re going to get to work to do just that. We are going to – We are going to dismantle the so-called school-to-prison pipeline. And we’re going to replace it with a cradle-to-college pipeline. And we’re going to start with our youngest kids and their families to give them the support that they need. And we’re going to take a hard look at what we need to do to make sure every child has the chance to attend good schools with good teachers no matter what their zip code is. And we will reform our criminal justice system from end to end. It is wrong, my friends, that black men are far more likely to be stopped by police, charged, and sentenced to longer prison terms than white men for the same offenses.
When I launched this campaign back in April of 2015, the very first speech I gave was on the topic of criminal justice reform. I said then, and I have repeated it throughout this campaign, we must end the era of mass incarceration. Too many families have been broken up, too many communities have been so badly affected. We have to reform these mandatory minimums and sentencing. We have to ban the box so people who have served their time can get a real chance at a good job and a fresh start. And we have to restore trust between police and communities. We are all safer when everyone has respect for the law and everyone is respected by the law.
This is important, of course, to families and communities but it is important to all of us. This is about who we are as a country, about whether we really are a nation that believes in freedom and justice for all. Too often, despite the progress we’ve made, we fall short of that goal, and we have to be honest about it. I am determined to make this one of the most important projects of my presidency, and I hope all of you will join me in doing that.
And I have to say, that is only part of what must be done, because the leading cause of death for young African American men, more than the next nine causes combined, is gun violence. We have 33,000 people a year dying from guns. I just cannot tolerate this any longer. I have met the families of those who’ve lost loved ones, who’ve lost the first-graders in Sandy Hook, the bible study churchgoers in Charleston, the clubgoers in Orlando, the moviegoers in Aurora, Colorado, people going about their […] being cut down and cut senselessly short. We have to take steps to reduce gun violence, and I know we can do that because – the vast majority of Americans agree something must be done, and a very big majority of gun owners agree as well.
And we’ve got to make investments in those communities that are struggling, especially communities of color. When I was in eastern North Carolina today and I was talking to people there who had been devastated by Hurricane Matthew, people who didn’t have very much to start with who lost everything, farmers with 100-200 acres growing sweet potatoes, wiped out. We’ve got to help everybody get ahead. I believe that the economy must work for everyone, not just those at the top. And I think hardworking Americans deserve a raise and women deserve equal pay.
So how are we going to do this? Well, we’re going to go where the money is. Just as Bernie said, we’re going to make the wealthy pay their fair share and make sure Wall Street never threatens Main Street again. And I can’t wait to work with Bernie to make public colleges and universities, like NC State, right here in Raleigh, tuition-free. I know that this is another issue Pharrell feels passionately about as well. If you are struggling with student debt, we’re going to cut that and help you pay it back and get out from under it. And in my plan is a $25 billion fund specifically aimed at supporting historically black colleges and universities, schools like Shaw and St. Augustine, because you know they produce some of the finest leaders in our country, and I want to make sure they keep doing that vital work.
So we could go on all night. I mean, Bernie and I could really keep you here until breakfast [laughter] because we get excited about what we can do. But, of course, we can’t do anything if you don’t get out and vote and get everybody you know to vote. This is going to be one of the most consequential elections in our country’s history. You know that because we are at a crossroad. It’s not just who my opponent is. Pharrell is right. We don’t even have to mention his name very much. Right? It’s not just about him, although there are some special features that certainly raise deep concerns. It’s about who we are. It’s about what we want, what we are going to do to make our mark on our country at this time in our history. I believe, I believe, America’s best days are still ahead of us if we do what we are supposed to do. Every social movement, every economic advance has only come about because people were willing to work and sacrifice and keep pushing forward in the face of adversity.
It’s not easy. It wasn’t easy to get the vote for women. It wasn’t easy to have the final efforts made to ensure that the Civil Rights Act was enforced. It wasn’t easy because there are powerful interests still trying to push us back and push us down. You know because in this state, a lot of effort was put into trying to suppress the vote. Right? And some people got discouraged about that. I’ve met some people who say, ‘Well, I don’t even know what they want, what kind of identification. It gets a little discouraging.’ You cannot get discouraged. Do not grow weary while doing good. Right?
It is now our turn, our turn to stand up to people like your governor and your legislature, who wanted to shut you down and push you back because we are fundamentally a good nation and we need to make sure we deliver on that promise. And in this election, President Obama’s entire legacy is on the line, everything that he has worked so hard to do against implacable opposition. As the President said yesterday, everything we’ve done is dependent upon him being able to pass the baton to somebody who believes in the same things he believes in.
So I’ve got to tell you I told the President I am ready to take the baton, but he’s going to have to bend over because he’s a lot taller than I am. But I’m not just taking it. All of us are taking it. We are ready to grab that baton to defend and build upon the progress of his presidency. And that is why everyone must vote. Early vote. And vote on Tuesday if you can’t get to early vote. More than 31 million Americans have already voted. And listen to this, more than two million right here in North Carolina have already voted. So, make no mistake about it, you can make the difference, not only in who you elect but in the agenda that those people will then get to work on. I want you to hold me accountable. I want you to be my partners.
But I can’t do any of this – when I was with our wonderful First Lady last week, she reminded – she reminded the big crowd we had in Winston-Salem that President Obama in 2008 won this state by about 14,000 votes. If you break that down, do you know what the difference between winning and losing is? Roughly two votes per precinct. So don’t let anybody tell you their vote doesn’t matter. You’ve got to get everyone you know to come out and vote. You can vote early through this Saturday, November 5th. If you don’t know where to vote, go to iwillvote.com to confirm your voting location because the best way to repudiate the bigotry and the bluster and the bullying and the hateful rhetoric and discrimination is to show up with the biggest turnout in American history. And then that will be the story of this election.
Let’s make that one for the history books. Please be part of what we’re doing in these next days. And let’s make sure that we not only have a future we can believe in but one we can help create together and demonstrate, once and for all, that love trumps hate. Thank you all!”
“Thank you. Thank you very much. And Pharrell, thank you very much. Pharrell began his remarks by making a very important point. He said he’s not a politician; he’s a musician, but he understands that in this moment in American history, it is imperative that all of us be politicians, all of us be involved […]. Thank you, Pharrell.
Now, let me begin [a] by thanking all of you for coming out. What a fantastic turnout tonight. Thank you so much. And [b] I want to begin with a startling revelation. Are you ready for a startling revelation?”
BERNIE SANDERS: “All right, I knew you would be. And here is the revelation. Despite what media may tell you, this campaign is not about Hillary Clinton, it is not about Donald Trump, it is not about Bill Clinton, it is not about Melania Trump, it is not about their children. This campaign is about you and millions of other Americans. And this campaign is not a personality contest. We’re not voting for high school president. We’re voting for the most powerful leader in the entire world. And what this campaign must be about is which candidate has the experience and the vision to work for the middle class and the working class and the families of our country. And in my view, without a shadow of doubt, that candidate is Hillary Clinton, our next president.
Now, let me also do something after giving you the startling revelation. Let me give you something else also very radical, and that is I think a campaign should be based on issues. Now, I know that’s, again, a very radical idea. Imagine talking about the real issues impacting the American people. What a crazy idea that is. But just for the heck of it, let’s do it. Why not? What do we got to lose?
When I think about the most important issue, and I speak for myself now, I worry very, very much that this country is sliding into an oligarchic form of society where a handful of billionaires control our economic and political life. As we speak – as we speak, this very moment – billionaires around the country are pouring tens and tens of millions of dollars into senatorial campaigns, House campaigns, and campaigns of all kids. What we are saying tonight is we will not allow billionaires to buy the United States Government. And one of the major differences of many between Secretary Clinton and Mr. Trump is that Secretary Clinton has made it clear that she will do everything she can in every way to overturn this disastrous Supreme Court decision on Citizens United. Too many brave people here in North Carolina and Vermont and all over this country have put their lives on the line to defend American democracy. We’re going to fight for that democracy. We are not going to become an oligarchy.
And there’s another issue. When we talk about democracy, which, after all, is what this country is about, we have cowardly Republican governors all over this country trying to suppress […]. Hillary Clinton and I believe that our job is to get more people to participate in the political process, not fewer people. And I say, look, in a democracy, honest people can have different points of view. Secretary Clinton has conservative friends, I have conservative friends. That’s democracy. But what is not democracy is when cowardly governors go out of their way to make it difficult for people to vote. And I say to those governors: If you don’t have the guts to participate in a free, open, and fair election, get out politics and get another job.
Thank you. So issue number one, Secretary Clinton, Pharrell, and I and all of you understand that we need a vibrant democracy where people participate, where people vote.
Second point. Now, I try not to be too hard on my Republican colleagues because many of them suffer from a serious illness called amnesia. And unlike Mr. Trump, we do not make fun of people with disabilities. And what their illness is about is they seem to have forgotten where this country was eight years ago tonight. Somehow it just skipped their minds; I don’t know. They forgot that eight years ago tonight we were losing 800,000 jobs a month, a horrific number, unprecedented since the Great Depression. They forgot – and they’re very concerned about deficits, which is an important issue. They forgot that under Bush’s last year we were running up the largest deficit in the history of this country, $1.4 trillion, just forgot about it. And they forgot, by the way, just to mention, that the world’s financial system was on the verge of collapse.
We have come a long way in eight years in improving the economy. Thank you, President Obama. But let us also acknowledge – let us also acknowledge – that while unemployment has gone way lower today than it was when President Obama came to office, we have also got to acknowledge that the economy is nowhere where we want it to be, and that millions of our brothers and sisters in this country are hurting financially. That is a fact.
And let us acknowledge and not be afraid to put it out on the table and to say that over the last 40 years, what we have seen is a middle class in this country which is shrinking, where people in North Carolina and Vermont and all over this country are today working not one job but two or three jobs to cobble together the income and the healthcare that they need. Let us be honest and acknowledge there are millions of working families desperately looking for decent-quality affordable childcare. Let us be honest and acknowledge that millions of older workers are moving into retirement, but they have absolutely no savings and they are very worried about their future. That is the reality, and we can’t hide it.
So it is important for us to take a hard look at which candidate is going to address those issues, which candidate understands that the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality in America today is unacceptable and which candidate has the courage to stand with working families and tell the billionaire class they cannot have it all, this country, our government belong to all of us.
In North Carolina and all over this country, we have people working longer hours for lower wages. Everybody here knows that nobody can make it on $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage. [Cheers and applause.] And let us be very clear. A seven and a quarter federal minimum wage is a starvation wage. Let’s be clear. You can’t make it on 7 and a quarter, and you can’t make it on 10 bucks an hour. There is one candidate running for president who has pledged to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. And that is Hillary Clinton. [Chants of “Hillary.”] In America, we have got to think big, not small. And one of those ways that we have got to think and understand, nobody in America who works 40 hours a week should be living in poverty. We are going to raise that minimum wage to a living wage.
There’s another issue. I’m almost embarrassed to mention it. And that is in the year 2016, women are still making 79 cents on the dollar compared to men. And I know, I know that every man here will stand with Secretary Clinton and me and all of the people of this country in demanding pay equity for women, equal pay for equal work.
When we think big and not small, we take a hard look. We say, ‘Well, what’s going on around the rest of the world?’ And then we learn something. We learn that all over the world, working people are guaranteed paid family and medical leave. Every major country and, in fact, most poor countries guarantee paid family and medical leave, but right now, right here in North Carolina today, some working-class woman has given birth to a beautiful baby. But she is going to have to go back to work. She is going to have to separate herself from that beautiful baby in a week or two because she doesn’t have the money to stay home with that baby. That’s wrong. And that is why Secretary Clinton and I will fight to guarantee 12 weeks paid family and medical leave.
Donald Trump has a brilliant idea. And, as you know, Donald’s ideas are always brilliant because he is a self-defined genius, so by definition. And in the midst of the healthcare problems that we have as a nation, Mr. Trump’s brilliant idea is to throw 20 million Americans off of health insurance. Now, in fairness to Mr. Trump, we have to say that he really did not originate this idea. Most of his Republican colleagues feel the same way.
And I am a member of the Budget Committee. And when the Budget Committee, dominated by Republicans, passed language to that effect, I asked the chairman. I said, ‘Mr. Chairman, if you throw 20 million Americans off of health insurance, how many of them are going to die? How many of them are going to become much sicker than they should have become?’ The Republicans did not have an answer, not something they are worried about.
Well, Secretary Clinton is worried about it, and I am worried about it. We don’t think it is a good idea to throw 20 million Americans off of health insurance. We think we should be moving this country to guarantee healthcare to all people as a right. And when we talk about healthcare, you go up to the average American today, and you say, ‘Well, what is the issue about healthcare that bothers you the most?’ More often than not, what they will tell you is they are sick and tired of paying the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. They are tired of seeing the cost of prescription drugs soar at a time when last year, the 5 major drug companies made $50 billion in profit. And the top 10 pharmaceutical executives made over $300 million in compensation. We are saying to the drug companies tonight, ‘Stop ripping off the American people.’ ‘And if you do not do it on your own, we are going to do it for you. Prices are going down.’
Secretary Clinton understands, as I think we all do, that, while the economy is better today than it was eight years ago, there’s a lot more that has to be done. And that is why we understand that we can create millions of good-paying jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure: our roads, our bridges, our water systems.
Secretary Clinton and I have both been to Flint, Michigan. And we have talked to parents whose children have been poisoned by lead in the water, but it’s not just Flint, Michigan. It is communities all over this country. This is America. We should have cutting-edge infrastructure. We can create millions of jobs rebuilding that infrastructure. Let’s do it.
At the end of the primary process, Secretary Clinton and I chatted for a while to see in what ways we could work together most effectively. And one area that we both feel very strongly about is that in a highly competitive global economy, this nation must have the best-educated workforce in the world. It is totally insane and unfair and counterproductive to the future of this country when we have hundreds of thousands of bright young people who have done well in high school who want to go to college but can’t get a higher education for one reason: their families lack the income. God only knows how many scientists and engineers and doctors and teachers we are not developing because of that.
So Secretary Clinton and I came up with a pretty simple proposal. And it says that we are going to make public colleges and universities tuition-free for every family under $125,000. Now, that is, in fact, a pretty revolutionary idea, and I’ll tell you why. Number one, obviously, it’s easier for people who are in college or will soon be in college, but it does something else even more profound.
I grew up in a family where my dad dropped out of high school at the age of 16 and my mother never went to college. And there are millions of families like that in this country where kids grow up not knowing anybody who ever went to college, who believe that there is no way in the world because they’re poor, working class. They’re never going to make it to college. But when the word goes out that if those children do their schoolwork seriously and pay attention, regardless of their income, yes, they are going to be able to go to college, that’s revolutionary.
How many people here tonight are dealing with student debt? Raise your hands. Well, welcome to the club. You are part of many, many millions of Americans who leave school and gotta figure out how they’re going to pay 30-, 50-, $100,000 in debt. I talked to a young woman in Iowa last year. She went to dental school. And we desperately need dentists because we have a crisis in affordable dental care. And she graduated dental school $400,000 in debt. Now, that’s insane. It is insane and unfair to ask people who did the right thing – they went out and they got the education they were supposed to – and then they are saddled with student debt, sometimes for decades.
Secretary Clinton and I think that that situation has got to change. Now, right now, right now my guess is that here in Raleigh you can go out and buy a new car and pay an interest on that loan for that car of 1 percent, 2 percent. Am I right?”
BERNIE SANDERS: “You can refinance your home at 3 or 4 percent.”
BERNIE SANDERS: “Then why in God’s name are millions of people paying 6, 8, 10 percent interest rates on their student debt? So what we believe is that if you have student debt, you should be able to refinance that debt at the lowest interest rates you can find.
Now, there are many, many differences between Secretary Clinton and Mr. Trump. But there is one that is very, very profound. Are you ready for a very radical thought right now? I don’t want anyone to faint. I think we have some paramedics here. But I do want to make this announcement. Are you ready for it? [Cries of “Yes!”] All right. And Madam Secretary, you correct me if I’m wrong here. I don’t want to misspeak for you. Secretary Clinton believes in science. And I know – I know I put her in a difficult position. In 2016, to believe in science, a little bit dangerous. But what the heck.
Now, I’m a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Environment, and I have talked to scientists – I have talked to scientists all over this country and all over the world. And let me be very clear. The debate is over. Climate change is real. Climate change is caused by human activity. And climate change is already today causing devastating problems in this country and around the world. Secretary Clinton has some very specific ideas about how we transform our energy system, how we invest in energy efficiency and sustainable energy, and that is exactly what we have to do.
Now, Donald Trump has a different idea. After years and years of studying the issue from a scientific perspective – I’m joking, I’m joking – he has concluded that climate change is a hoax emanating from China. Now, why he chose China and Mexico or some Muslim country, I don’t know. But that’s the way it is. Now, we can laugh at this, but in truth, this is not a funny issue. I’ve got seven grandchildren. Secretary Clinton has grandchildren. Our jobs as custodians of this planet is to make sure that we leave our kids and grandchildren a planet that is healthy and habitable. And that means that we have to have the guts to take on the fossil fuel industry and tell them their short-term profits are not more important than the future of our planet.
Secretary Clinton understands that we have a broken criminal justice system that needs major reform. It is not acceptable to her, to me, and to, I suspect, anyone here that we as a nation have more people in jail than any other country on Earth. And Secretary Clinton understands, as I think most of us do, that it makes a heck of a lot more sense to invest in jobs and education for our young people rather than jails and incarceration.
And Secretary Clinton also understands that with 11 million people in this country who are undocumented today, the vast majority working hard to take care of their families, we need comprehensive immigration reform and a path towards citizenship.
Let me conclude by saying this. All of you know that our country, from its earliest days, has struggled with issues of racism and sexism and discrimination. And we should be very proud that we have come a long, long way in overcoming a lot of those issues. If we were here, I tell you, 15 years ago and somebody said, you know, I think we’re going to have an African American as President in the year 2008, very few people would have believed that. If somebody here said 10 years ago that gay marriage would be legal in 50 states in 2015, and let us not forget that as I stand next to our next President, 100 years ago – not a long time from a historical perspective – women were not running for President; they didn’t have the right to vote. They couldn’t get an education, couldn’t get the jobs they wanted. We have come a long way.
And furthermore, what we understand – you know, my dad came from Poland. And if we went around this room, you’ll find people from 100 more countries, all over the world. What we understand is our strength, our uniqueness, is our diversity. We should be proud of it. We should be proud of it, and we are not going to allow Trump or anyone else to divide us up. We’ve got a lot of work to do as Americans. In the next five days, we’ve got to do everything that we can to elect Secretary Clinton. And on the day after the election, we’re going to go back to work to make this country what we know it can become. Thank you all.
And now it is my very great honor and privilege to introduce you to the next president of the United States, Hillary Clinton.”
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