History of the 2008 Presidential Election
Text of Senator
Clinton's Concession Speech and endorsement of Barack Obama
in Washington D.C. on June 7, 2008 from
Thank you so much. Thank you all.
Well, this isn’t exactly the party
I’d planned, but I sure like the company.
I want to start today by saying how
grateful I am to all of you – to everyone who poured
your hearts and your hopes into this campaign, who drove for
miles and lined the streets waving homemade signs, who
scrimped and saved to raise money, who knocked on doors and
made calls, who talked and sometimes argued with your
friends and neighbors, who emailed and contributed online,
who invested so much in our common enterprise, to the moms
and dads who came to our events, who lifted their little
girls and little boys on their shoulders and whispered in
their ears, “See, you can be anything you want to
To the young people like 13 year-old Ann
Riddle from Mayfield, Ohio who had been saving for two years
to go to Disney World, and decided to use her savings
instead to travel to Pennsylvania with her Mom and volunteer
there as well. To the veterans and the childhood friends, to
New Yorkers and Arkansans who traveled across the country
and telling anyone who would listen why you supported me.
To all those women in their 80s and their
90s born before women could vote who cast their votes for
our campaign. I’ve told you before about Florence Steen
of South Dakota, who was 88 years old, and insisted that her
daughter bring an absentee ballot to her hospice bedside.
Her daughter and a friend put an American flag behind her
bed and helped her fill out the ballot. She passed away soon
after, and under state law, her ballot didn’t count.
But her daughter later told a reporter, “My dad’s
an ornery old cowboy, and he didn’t like it when he
heard mom’s vote wouldn’t be counted. I don’t
think he had voted in 20 years. But he voted in place of my
To all those who voted for me, and to
whom I pledged my utmost, my commitment to you and to the
progress we seek is unyielding. You have inspired and
touched me with the stories of the joys and sorrows that
make up the fabric of our lives and you have humbled me with
your commitment to our country.
18 million of you from all walks of life
– women and men, young and old, Latino and Asian,
African-American and Caucasian, rich, poor and middle class,
gay and straight – you have stood strong with me. And I
will continue to stand strong with you, every time, every
place, and every way that I can. The dreams we share are
worth fighting for.
Remember - we fought for the single mom
with a young daughter, juggling work and school, who told
me, “I’m doing it all to better myself for
her.” We fought for the woman who grabbed my hand, and
asked me, “What are you going to do to make sure I have
health care?” and began to cry because even though she
works three jobs, she can’t afford insurance. We fought
for the young man in the Marine Corps t-shirt who waited
months for medical care and said, “Take care of my
buddies over there and then, will you please help take care
of me?” We fought for all those who’ve lost jobs
and health care, who can’t afford gas or groceries or
college, who have felt invisible to their president these
last seven years.
I entered this race because I have an
old-fashioned conviction: that public service is about
helping people solve their problems and live their dreams.
I’ve had every opportunity and blessing in my own life
– and I want the same for all Americans. Until that day
comes, you will always find me on the front lines of
democracy – fighting for the future.
The way to continue our fight now –
to accomplish the goals for which we stand – is to take
our energy, our passion, our strength and do all we can to
help elect Barack Obama the next President of the United
Today, as I suspend my campaign, I
congratulate him on the victory he has won and the
extraordinary race he has run. I endorse him, and throw my
full support behind him. And I ask all of you to join me in
working as hard for Barack Obama as you have for me.
I have served in the Senate with him for
four years. I have been in this campaign with him for 16
months. I have stood on the stage and gone toe-to-toe with
him in 22 debates. I have had a front row seat to his
candidacy, and I have seen his strength and determination,
his grace and his grit.
In his own life, Barack Obama has lived
the American Dream. As a community organizer, in the state
senate, as a United States Senator - he has dedicated
himself to ensuring the dream is realized. And in this
campaign, he has inspired so many to become involved in the
democratic process and invested in our common future.
Now when I started this race, I intended
to win back the White House, and make sure we have a
president who puts our country back on the path to peace,
prosperity, and progress. And that's exactly what we're
going to do by ensuring that Barack Obama walks through the
doors of the Oval Office on January 20, 2009.
I understand that we all know this has
been a tough fight. The Democratic Party is a family, and
it’s now time to restore the ties that bind us together
and to come together around the ideals we share, the values
we cherish, and the country we love.
We may have started on separate journeys
– but today, our paths have merged. And we are all
heading toward the same destination, united and more ready
than ever to win in November and to turn our country around
because so much is at stake.
We all want an economy that sustains the
American Dream, the opportunity to work hard and have that
work rewarded, to save for college, a home and retirement,
to afford that gas and those groceries and still have a
little left over at the end of the month. An economy that
lifts all of our people and ensures that our prosperity is
broadly distributed and shared.
We all want a health care system that is
universal, high quality, and affordable so that parents no
longer have to choose between care for themselves or their
children or be stuck in dead end jobs simply to keep their
insurance. This isn’t just an issue for me – it is
a passion and a cause – and it is a fight I will
continue until every single American is insured – no
exceptions, no excuses.
We all want an America defined by deep
and meaningful equality – from civil rights to labor
rights, from women’s rights to gay rights, from ending
discrimination to promoting unionization to providing help
for the most important job there is: caring for our
We all want to restore America’s
standing in the world, to end the war in Iraq and once again
lead by the power of our values, and to join with our allies
to confront our shared challenges from poverty and genocide
to terrorism and global warming.
You know, I’ve been involved in
politics and public life in one way or another for four
decades. During those forty years, our country has voted ten
times for President. Democrats won only three of those
times. And the man who won two of those elections is with us
We made tremendous progress during the
90s under a Democratic President, with a flourishing
economy, and our leadership for peace and security respected
around the world. Just think how much more progress we could
have made over the past 40 years if we had a Democratic
president. Think about the lost opportunities of these past
seven years – on the environment and the economy, on
health care and civil rights, on education, foreign policy
and the Supreme Court. Imagine how far we could’ve
come, how much we could’ve achieved if we had just had
a Democrat in the White House.
We cannot let this moment slip away. We
have come too far and accomplished too much.
Now the journey ahead will not be easy.
Some will say we can’t do it. That it’s too hard.
That we’re just not up to the task. But for as long as
America has existed, it has been the American way to reject
“can’t do” claims, and to choose instead to
stretch the boundaries of the possible through hard work,
determination, and a pioneering spirit.
It is this belief, this optimism, that
Senator Obama and I share, and that has inspired so many
millions of our supporters to make their voices heard.
So today, I am standing with Senator
Obama to say: Yes we can.
Together we will work. We’ll have to
work hard to get universal health care. But on the day we
live in an America where no child, no man, and no woman is
without health insurance, we will live in a stronger
America. That’s why we need to help elect Barack Obama
We’ll have to work hard to get back
to fiscal responsibility and a strong middle class. But on
the day we live in an America whose middle class is thriving
and growing again, where all Americans, no matter where they
live or where their ancestors came from, can earn a decent
living, we will live in a stronger America and that is why
we must elect Barack Obama our President.
We’ll have to work hard to foster
the innovation that makes us energy independent and lift the
threat of global warming from our children’s future.
But on the day we live in an America fueled by renewable
energy, we will live in a stronger America. That’s why
we have to help elect Barack Obama our President.
We’ll have to work hard to bring our
troops home from Iraq, and get them the support they’ve
earned by their service. But on the day we live in an
America that’s as loyal to our troops as they have been
to us, we will live in a stronger America and that is why we
must help elect Barack Obama our President.
This election is a turning point election
and it is critical that we all understand what our choice
really is. Will we go forward together or will we stall and
slip backwards. Think how much progress we have already
made. When we first started, people everywhere asked the
Could a woman really serve as
Commander-in-Chief? Well, I think we answered that one.
And could an African American really be
our President? Senator Obama has answered that one.
Together Senator Obama and I achieved
milestones essential to our progress as a nation, part of
our perpetual duty to form a more perfect union.
Now, on a personal note – when I was
asked what it means to be a woman running for President, I
always gave the same answer: that I was proud to be running
as a woman but I was running because I thought I’d be
the best President. But I am a woman, and like millions of
women, I know there are still barriers and biases out there,
I want to build an America that respects
and embraces the potential of every last one of us.
I ran as a daughter who benefited from
opportunities my mother never dreamed of. I ran as a mother
who worries about my daughter’s future and a mother who
wants to lead all children to brighter tomorrows. To build
that future I see, we must make sure that women and men
alike understand the struggles of their grandmothers and
mothers, and that women enjoy equal opportunities, equal
pay, and equal respect. Let us resolve and work toward
achieving some very simple propositions: There are no
acceptable limits and there are no acceptable prejudices in
the twenty-first century.
You can be so proud that, from now on, it
will be unremarkable for a woman to win primary state
victories, unremarkable to have a woman in a close race to
be our nominee, unremarkable to think that a woman can be
the President of the United States. And that is truly
To those who are disappointed that we
couldn’t go all the way – especially the young
people who put so much into this campaign – it would
break my heart if, in falling short of my goal, I in any way
discouraged any of you from pursuing yours. Always aim high,
work hard, and care deeply about what you believe in. When
you stumble, keep faith. When you’re knocked down, get
right back up. And never listen to anyone who says you
can’t or shouldn’t go on.
As we gather here today in this historic
magnificent building, the 50th woman to leave this Earth is
orbiting overhead. If we can blast 50 women into space, we
will someday launch a woman into the White House.
Although we weren’t able to shatter
that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to
you, it’s got about 18 million cracks in it. And the
light is shining through like never before, filling us all
with the hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a
little easier next time. That has always been the history of
progress in America.
Think of the suffragists who gathered at
Seneca Falls in 1848 and those who kept fighting until women
could cast their votes. Think of the abolitionists who
struggled and died to see the end of slavery. Think of the
civil rights heroes and foot-soldiers who marched, protested
and risked their lives to bring about the end to segregation
and Jim Crow.
Because of them, I grew up taking for
granted that women could vote. Because of them, my daughter
grew up taking for granted that children of all colors could
go to school together. Because of them, Barack Obama and I
could wage a hard fought campaign for the Democratic
nomination. Because of them, and because of you, children
today will grow up taking for granted that an African
American or a woman can yes, become President of the United
When that day arrives and a woman takes
the oath of office as our President, we will all stand
taller, proud of the values of our nation, proud that every
little girl can dream and that her dreams can come true in
America. And all of you will know that because of your
passion and hard work you helped pave the way for that day.
So I want to say to my supporters, when
you hear people saying – or think to yourself –
“if only” or “what if,” I say,
“please don’t go there.” Every moment wasted
looking back keeps us from moving forward.
Life is too short, time is too precious,
and the stakes are too high to dwell on what might have
been. We have to work together for what still can be. And
that is why I will work my heart out to make sure that
Senator Obama is our next President and I hope and pray that
all of you will join me in that effort.
To my supporters and colleagues in
Congress, to the governors and mayors, elected officials who
stood with me, in good times and in bad, thank you for your
strength and leadership. To my friends in our labor unions
who stood strong every step of the way – I thank you
and pledge my support to you. To my friends, from every
stage of my life – your love and ongoing commitments
sustain me every single day. To my family – especially
Bill and Chelsea and my mother, you mean the world to me and
I thank you for all you have done. And to my extraordinary
staff, volunteers and supporters, thank you for working
those long, hard hours. Thank you for dropping everything
– leaving work or school – traveling to places
you’d never been, sometimes for months on end. And
thanks to your families as well because your sacrifice was
All of you were there for me every step
of the way. Being human, we are imperfect. That’s why
we need each other. To catch each other when we falter. To
encourage each other when we lose heart. Some may lead;
others may follow; but none of us can go it alone. The
changes we’re working for are changes that we can only
accomplish together. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness are rights that belong to each of us as
individuals. But our lives, our freedom, our happiness, are
best enjoyed, best protected, and best advanced when we do
That is what we will do now as we join
forces with Senator Obama and his campaign. We will make
history together as we write the next chapter in
America’s story. We will stand united for the values we
hold dear, for the vision of progress we share, and for the
country we love. There is nothing more American than that.
And looking out at you today, I have
never felt so blessed. The challenges that I have faced in
this campaign are nothing compared to those that millions of
Americans face every day in their own lives. So today,
I’m going to count my blessings and keep on going.
I’m going to keep doing what I was doing long before
the cameras ever showed up and what I’ll be doing long
after they’re gone: Working to give every American the
same opportunities I had, and working to ensure that every
child has the chance to grow up and achieve his or her
I will do it with a heart filled with
gratitude, with a deep and abiding love for our
country– and with nothing but optimism and confidence
for the days ahead. This is now our time to do all that we
can to make sure that in this election we add another
Democratic president to that very small list of the last 40
years and that we take back our country and once again move
with progress and commitment to the future.
Thank you all and God bless you and God
--Senator Hillary Clinton in
Washington, D.C on June 7, 2008