Barnard College
New York, New York

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Governor Kathy Hochul!  (Applause.)  Hey, New York, we going to get this done?  (Applause.)  We going to get this done?  Five days!  Five days.  We going to get this done?


THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Yes.  We going to give it everything we got?


AUDIENCE:  No!  (Applause.) 

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Okay, I’m going to hold you to that.  (Laughter.)

It’s good to be with all these leaders.  It is so good to be with all these leaders.

Listen, let’s just get right down to business, because we do have five days.  And sometimes, five days can seem like a lot of time, but in this case, we don’t have a lot of time to do something very big, which is to elect Kathy Hochul the next and continuing governor of the state of New York.  (Applause.)

Five days.  Five days.  And Secretary Clinton said it, Tish James said it, the Governor herself said it: Everything is on the line.

And the thing about Kathy Hochul is she has shown you who she is.  She has shown you what she cares about.  She has shown you how hard she will work for the people of New York.  And I believe that when you know what you stand for, you know what to fight for.  (Applause.)  So we got a lot of work to do.

And as the Governor said, you’ve witnessed a lot of history on this stage this afternoon.  (Applause.)  A whole lot of firsts. 

But here’s the thing I know about Secretary Clinton, I know about General James, I know about Governor Hochul: We are committed — yes, we may be the first, but we are committed to not being the last.  (Applause.)  And we’re going to count on you to help us see that through.

Five days.  Five days.  So we need folks to vote.  Right?  For folks who haven’t voted, we need them to vote.  We need them to vote early and we need them to vote on Election Day.

And I can look around this room, and I know this is a group of leaders, most of whom have been out there already talking with people about the importance of voting, people who worked on the 2020 election and elected Joe Biden President and me Vice President.  (Applause.)

And so here’s the thing we all know, because a lot of us have been doing this every election cycle, asking folks to vote, and here’s what happens: So, we go up and we ask somebody to vote.  And they will then ask a very righteous question every time: “Why should I vote?”

Well, here’s the thing: We got a whole lot of good material.  (Laughter.)  We got a lot of good material, because think about it: Last election, 2020, in the height of a pandemic — so much loss — loss of life, people lost their jobs, loss of normalcy, parents who are trying to figure out how they could educate their kids in the middle of all this, trying to go online, if they even had access to high-speed Internet.  And in the midst of all of that — think about it — we had an historic turnout, and in particular, a historic turnout of young voters voting.  (Applause.)  You all.  It was historic.

And the way I see it is when people went in 2020 to vote, they were essentially putting in their order.  Right?  They stood in line for hours in the midst of all of these burdens.

For so many of you, if you were in school at that time, what those days meant, trying to learn from — from home, learn from your dorm room, wherever you were, you wanted to see people, you wanted to be with —
And in the midst of all that — in the midst of all of that, people took the time to vote, stood in line for hours to vote.

And this is what they said.  They said, “There are certain things that I want from my government and certain things that I know I’m entitled to.”  And so when we go to ask them to vote this time, in five days and over the next five days, we’re going to first of all say, “Thank you for doing what you did last time,” and then we’re going remind them, “So, you put in your order, and here’s what your vote did.”

You said, “It is time that America deals with the issue of child poverty.”  And because you voted, we extended the child tax credit, which reduced poverty for children in America by over 40 percent in the first year.  (Applause.)  Because you voted.

You said, “Help parents out, people who are parenting children, because it’s expensive.”  So you put in your order and said, “Do something about that.”  And because you voted, we passed a tax cut so that people parenting children get eight — up to 8,000 more dollars in their pocket to help them with the cost of food and medicine and school supplies for their children.  Because they voted.  (Applause.)
Because people voted and said, “Look, I’m going to put in my order; I want y’all to deal with this climate crisis because we value the importance of drinking clean water and breathing clean air and saving this beautiful planet upon which we live.”    And so people put in their order.  And because you voted, we just put $370 billion into an investment in what we must do to combat the effects of this climate crisis.  (Applause.)  Because you voted.  Because you voted.

We’re going go up to people, and we’re going to ask them and they’re going to say, “Well, why should I vote?”  And we’re going to say, “Because the last time, you said, ‘You know what?  Y’all need to deal with the potholes and deal with the fact that America’s infrastructure is about 150 years old, and we need to fix these bridges, and we need to fix these roads.’”  (Applause.)  And because they voted, LaGuardia is now going to get $30 million for upgrades.  (Applause.)

Because they voted, we’re going to have electric MTA buses and put $110 million into doing it.  (Applause.)  Because they voted, Second Avenue Subway is going to get $400 million.  (Applause.)  Because they put in their order.  Because you voted.

And you said, “You know what?  It’s about time we had a Black woman on the United States Supreme Court.”  (Applause.)  And because you voted — and because you voted, her name is Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.  (Applause.)  Because you voted. 

Because you voted and said, “We’re putting in our order.   Student loan debt is preventing folks from being able to start a family, buy a home, or even pay rent.”  And because you voted, in spite of all of the criticism, we are canceling debt of up to $20,000 of student loan debt.  Because people voted.  (Applause.)
Because people voted and said, “It’s been 30 years since there’s been any meaningful, smart gun legislation in our country, and it’s about time that people have some courage to pass or do smart and safe gun legislation,” that we were able to expand background checks — the most meaningful gun legislation in 30 years.  Because people voted and put in their order.  (Applause.)

People said, “You know, you guys did a great job in 2008 and during those years reforming the healthcare system, but it’s still really expensive to buy medication.”  And so people took the time and stood in line for hours to vote and said, “Can you do something about that?”

They said, “You know, I got a lot of relatives who have diabetes.  Black people in America are 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes, Latinos 70 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes.  Why do I know seniors who have diabetes, who have to make a decision about whether they’re going to fill a prescription that a doctor ordered because it will save their life versus being able to buy food or pay their rent?”

And because you voted, we have now capped insulin at $35 a month for those seniors.  (Applause.)  Because you voted.

Because you voted and you said, “You know what?  This game that the pharmaceutical companies have been playing, jacking up prices on medication, is just not right.  Somebody’s got to be able to negotiate on behalf of the American people on this issue.”  And so, long time in coming, but because you voted, we are now allowing Medicare to negotiate against the pharmaceutical companies on behalf of 60 million Americans — 60 million people.  (Applause.)  Because you voted.

Elections matter.  Elections matter.  And we have so much at stake in this one.
Just think about this: The United States Supreme Court — the highest court in our land — just took a constitutional right, that had been recognized, from the people of America. 

And, by the way, on this subject, I think it’s important to note: One does not have to abandon their faith or deeply held beliefs to agree the government should not be telling her and anyone what to do with their own body.  (Applause.)
But now, with the Dobbs decision, we are seeing states around our country pass or propose laws that will criminalize doctors and nurses and healthcare providers — literally are providing for jail time for healthcare providers, proposing and passing laws for which there is no exception for rape or incest. 

When I was a courtroom prosecutor, I specialized in crimes against women and children, and in particular, child sexual assault.  And let me tell you guys: The idea that anyone who proposes or professes to be a leader would suggest that there would be no exception after an individual has endured and survived an act of violence and violation, and then suggest to them they will not have the autonomy after that violation of their body to make a decision about what next happens to their body, it is immoral.  Immoral.  (Applause.)  It is unconscionable.

Here’s the other thing about that decision: So, the proponents said, “Well, you know, let’s just — let’s just let the states decide.”  (Says in older voice.)  (Laughter.)  Right?  “Let’s just let the states decide.”

Okay, well, those same people are some of the same people who in the states are intentionally making it more difficult for people to vote.  And because it has now been pushed to the states, your governor, who has stood strong and firm her entire career, her position on this issue becomes even more important.

Because, listen, guys, if this happens, as these Republicans are trying to push so many of their leaders, they have said there will be a national ban on abortion.  And we’re going to need people in the statehouse and at a local level who have the courage to stand up and push back against what is happening in our country.  (Applause.)

And in that way, who is your governor matters.  Who is your attorney general matters.  Who is your lieutenant governor matters.  (Applause.)  Because they will be the last line of defense with what we’re seeing happening around our country.

Elections matter.  And what we are also seeing is that if you look at — you know, I like Venn diagrams, okay?  So if you look — (laughs) — I do.  And if you look at the intersection on some of these issues, it’s pretty profound and very clear. 

And, by the way, Clarence Thomas said the quiet part out loud.  Now at risk: an individual’s right to contraception, an individual’s right to marry the person they love is now at risk.  And if you look at where these attacks are coming from, you would not be surprised to know there is a significant intersection between those who are attacking voting rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and reproductive rights.

See what’s happening around our country and understand why elections matter.  Because, again, who is all in these statehouses, who are holding these offices will be potentially the last line of defense.  Elections matter.

You know, as — as Vice President, I have now — (applause) — well, thank you.  That’s me.  (Laughs.)  (Applause.)

So, as Vice President in these almost two years, I have — my team has told me I have now met with over 100 world leaders, directly or — (applause) — (laughs) — so, directly or — or by phone.  Presidents, prime ministers, chancellors, and kings.

And here’s the thing that you all know, and Secretary Clinton certainly knows: When we walk into these rooms representing the United States of America, we have traditionally walked into these rooms chin up, shoulders back, talking about the importance of democracy, representing what we hold out to be the greatest democracy in the world, imperfect though it may be. 

But it gives us the authority then, in these rooms, to talk about the importance of rule of law, the importance of human rights, a free press.  And in that way, we have been held out as a model.

But here’s the thing everyone here knows, because you are all role models.  The thing about being a role model is this: People watch what you do to see if it matches what you say.

So there are — my greatest fear — dictators and autocrats around the world who will dare to tell their people, “You want to hold out the United States as an example of these issues?  Well, look at what they’re doing.”

And in that way, what is happening in our country will very likely not only affect the people of our nation, but potentially people around the world.  All of this is at stake.

And on the issue then of democracies, I do believe that the nature of democracy is that there’s a duality.

On the one hand, when a democracy is intact, I believe it is incredibly strong in that it gives strength to its people.  It is a protector and a defender of individual rights and freedoms and justice.  When it is intact, there’s an incredible strength in its ability to lift people up.

On the other hand, it’s very fragile.  It is only as strong as our willingness to fight for it.  And so fight we will.  (Applause.)  And so fight we will.  (Applause.)  And so we will do everything in these next five days — (applause) — standing for the country we love, standing for the principles we hold dear.  (Applause.)

We will stand for the voices that we know have everything on the line.  And we will fight for the principles that we know we hold dear, the ideals we hold dear.

You know, I do believe there are two definitions of what it means to be a patriot.  One is the definition that suggests you’ll defend your country whatever it does.  But then there is the other definition, which I believe describes all of us patriots, which is the willingness, born out of love of country, to fight for the ideals and the attainment of the ideals of our nation.  (Applause.)

That is what is at stake.  And so we will fight.  And when we fight, we win.  (Applause.)  Thank you.


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