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Transcript of Congressman Menendez's Speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention

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Posted by GET NJ on July 27, 2004 at 18:22:05:

In Reply to: Online Video: Congressman Menendez Addresses the 2004 Democratic Convention posted by GET NJ on July 27, 2004 at 11:09:05:

My fellow Americans:

There is a great deal at stake in this election. But perhaps nothing more vital, more crucial, more fundamental to our future than America's providential role in the world. Today America is the only superpower in the world, but we need a president who understands the difference between a war of choice and a war of necessity.

We need a president who will guarantee a strong military and an even stronger foreign diplomacy, so we do not have to place America's sons and daughters alone in harm's way, unless it is really in our national security interest to do so. We need a president who will be truthful with the American people at home, as well as with our allies around the globe. America cannot lead if others will not follow.

To be strong, to be a leader of the international community, to have friends who will stand by us when we need them, we need a president who will engage the world, not isolate ourselves from it. And we need a president who knows that the process of building alliances is not a sign of weakness, but, in fact, it is a sign of strength, vision, leadership, and purpose.

You see, there are times when America needs to act alone. But you get a lot more firepower on your side when you can organize a posse. John Kerry has the ability--and the credibility---to internationalize our efforts in Iraq, and John Kerry will build a real coalition to win the war on terror. And John Kerry has a plan to win the war on terror, to make America safer and more secure, to make our country strong and respected around the world.

Under John Kerry's plan, America will identify, disrupt, and eliminate terrorist networks by uniting the world around common interests: sharing good intelligence, drying up bank accounts, breaking up terror cells wherever we find them. John Kerry will appoint a national director of intelligence so that there is one individual with responsibility and accountability for intelligence operations, and so that, instead of investigating failures, we succeed in preventing attacks.

John Kerry will reduce the threat of a nuclear attack by investing the resources needed to secure these materials worldwide. Imagine this: Less weapons material has been secured in the two years after September 11th than in the two years before.

John Kerry will make protecting America from this threat a national priority. John Kerry will finish the job in Afghanistan--a major and important front in the war on terror that was practically forgotten once we went into Iraq. John Kerry will expand our active duty forces by adding 40,000 troops, because he knows our overworked soldiers are now stretched too thin. And John Kerry knows that when we must go to war, we must go with enough troops and enough planning to win the war, secure the peace, and earn the respect of the world.
John Kerry will always remember that America's security begins and ends with the soldier, sailor, airman, and Marine--with every serviceman and woman standing a post, defending our freedom, anywhere in the world. And let me tell you, when it is needed, John Kerry will not wait, he will not waver, he will not hem or haw, he will not hesitate a single moment to use America's military force to capture and destroy terrorist groups and their leaders. To defend America and our friends, and our interests. To protect this nation from danger.

And John Kerry will not ignore our own neighborhood: Latin America. The message John Kerry will send to Latin America is different from the one Latin America and Latinos here in the United States have heard from President Bush.

Bajo la administracion de John Kerry, los latinos en los Estados Unidos dejaran de sufrir las consecuencias de un aumento de desempleo de 16% y la incidencia de estudiantes que no terminan la educacion secundoria. Adems, reducira el incremento de ninos latinos que viven en la pobreza, de familias latinas que no tienen acceso a seguro medico, y un camino hacia una legalizacion migraturia y el sueno Americano.

A medida que los latinos progresen en los Estados Unidos, John Kerry va a continuar desarrollando estrategias que mantengan a America Latina y los Estados Unidos en armonia de vecinos.

John Kerry understands, as those of us in the Hispanic community do, the importance of building bridges to these nations in our hemisphere, so our part of the world is safe, stable, and prosperous. He will engage Latin America with respect and with values that unite the Americas behind common goals and against common threats. That's the Kerry plan.

And if anyone doubts his ability to accomplish these things, then they don't know the John Kerry I know: the John Kerry who, after leaving Yale, volunteered to fight in the jungles of Vietnam; the John Kerry who showed his strength of character on the battlefield; the John Kerry whose courage earned him a Bronze Star, a Silver Star, and three Purple Hearts, risking his life to save others; the John Kerry whose citation reads: "When Lieutenant Kerry discovered he had a man overboard, he returned upriver to assist."

The man in the water was receiving sniper fire from both banks. From an exposed position on the bow, his arm bleeding and in pain, in disregard of his personal safety, he pulled the man aboard-courageous, strong, heroic.

That's the president John Kerry will be. He will leave no one behind, and by his example he will lead America into a new era of security and strength and respect here at home and around the world.


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