Elizabeth Edwards
2004 Democratic National Convention
FleetCenter, Boston, MA
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

I'm Elizabeth Edwards the very proud mother of Cate Edwards--John and I have been truly blessed with a strong and beautiful family. And we are blessed with you - our great Democratic family - you have no idea how good you look from here.

This has been quite a year. We started last January criss-crossing the country talking about how - with determination and vision and optimism - we can end the injustice of two Americas. And it is going to end this January when we move two great friends, two great Americans - John Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry - into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Teresa represents the victory of spirit and will over tyranny and tragedy. And she will be the most generous first lady in the history of this country. I am honored to stand with her.

John Kerry was in the Navy, and so was my father. I grew up traveling around the world, living on Navy bases. But I always knew I was home when I saw the American flag. Like John Kerry,my father fought for this country. like John Kerry, he was decorated, risking his life in her service.

My father had another thing in common with John Kerry, and as with so many of our uniformed men and women across this country and around the world: he has the right stuff. I married a man with the right stuff, too.

He found his own way to serve. In his community, he was the driving force behind two after-school centers that meet the needs of young people, He was Santa Claus to needy families, and when that was not enough, to an entire inner-city childcare center. and you know, he looks awfully cute in that Santa suit. In youth activities - he did what so many Americans do: giving up weekends and evenings to coach young people in soccer and basketball. in his church and in his prayer groups - and, for twenty years in his work -fighting for those who could not fight for themselves.

It never mattered how powerful the opponent, how entrenched the interests, or how small the chance for success. if the cause was just and his voice was needed, he was there. And now he serves the great state of North Carolina in the United States Senate, fighting still for those who count on him to be their voice.

Using his intellect and his eloquence, he fought to improve our health care choices and to protect our environment. And he called attention to the threat of terrorism before September eleventh.

You know, I married the smartest, toughest, sweetest man I know. And in two days, we will celebrate our 27 years of marriage the way we always do-at Wendy's. Whether it's Wendy's or Washington, I have found it is true: it's not where you go, it's who you go with.

But none of the things I have mentioned are the reason I married John Edwards. I married him because he was the single most optimistic person I have ever known. He knew there was a brighter day ahead even as he swept the floors in the cotton mill as a high school student.

He knew, if he worked hard enough, he could be the first in his family to go to college. He knew he could outwork and out-tough any battalion of lawyers to find justice, and he continued that fight in Washington. Courageously, eloquently, with one simple goal: to make the opportunities of America available to all Americans.

We deserve leaders who allow their faith and moral core --our faiths and moral core --to draw us closer together, not drive us farther apart. We deserve leaders who believe in each of us and fight for all of us. To John, a wrong simply waits to be righted.   To John, decency and civility are the ways to unite the country. To John, a problem is an opportunity for a solution. and everything.  everything is possible.

My rock. My love. And your next vice president. John Edwards.