Merchants Exchange Building
San Francisco, California
6:44 P.M. PST
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Hi. Good evening. Good evening. Good evening. (Applause.)
Good evening. Hi. Oh, it’s good to be home. (Laughter and applause.) It’s good to be — please have a seat.
Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It is indeed good to be home and to see so many friends. (Applause.) Thank you all.
To our Governor, Gavin Newsom, I want to thank you for your kind words and for your years of friendship. And thank you to Clint and Janet Reilly for your longstanding friendship and for hosting us all again tonight.
Gavin and I were joking that we could probably close our eyes and g- — by feel, know every room in this building — (laughter) — over all of the years that Clint and Janet have been hosting us and so many of us.
So, to all of you, and starting with the two of them, I thank you for all you have done for so many years. And around this room, I look around, I see so many friends. And we’ve been on this journey for a long time together. So, thank you. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you.
And thank you for the support you have given me and the President of the United States, our President, Joe Biden — (applause) — and all you have done for our nation.
So, I’ve been traveling our country a lot. And as I travel our country, it has become abundantly clear that there is a full-on attack on so many of our hard-fought, hard-won freedoms.
Last year, the highest court of our land took a constitutional right, that had been recognized, from the people of America — from the women of America — the court of Thurgood and RBG. And as a result, in states across our nation, extremists have passed laws to criminalize doctors and to punish women, laws that even make it no exception for rape or incest.
And as many of you know, I started my career as a prosecutor specializing in crimes against children and women.
It’s immoral. And let’s be clear, one does not have to abandon their faith or deeply held beliefs to agree the government should not be telling a woman what to do with her body. (Applause.)
In states across our nation, extremists attack the right to vote. They pass laws that ban drop boxes and limit early voting. All the while, they deny Americans the freedom to live safe from gun violence.
This fall, I gathered over 10,000 students on a college tour I named the “Fight for Our Freedoms.” And at each stop, I asked these students — auditorium full of our young leaders — and I’d ask them, “Raise your hand if at any time between kindergarten and 12th grade you had to endure an active shooter drill.”
And every time, almost every hand went up. It’s bone-chilling to know that so many of our children are living with extraordinary fear and trauma.
Meanwhile, so-called leaders refuse to pass reasonable gun safety laws, refuse to pass an assault weapons ban, and, instead, they passed book bans in an attempt to erase America’s full history.
Can you imagine book bans in this year of our Lord, 2023?
So, to the friends here, I say the obvious: This election is a fight for our most fundamental freedoms. And we are here tonight because we have a responsibility — dare I say a duty — to preserve and protect our nation’s most sacred ideals: freedom, liberty, and justice.
As Democrats, that is what sets us apart, borne out of optimism and love for our country. We fight not against but for. And I believe that when you know what you stand for, you know what to fight for.
So, election day is less than a year out. And I think we should just pull up the split screen for a moment. (Laughter.)
Think about it on an issue like gun violence. On one side, you’ll see the last administration, they wanted to arm teachers with guns. On the other side, President Biden and I came in and passed the first significant gun safety law in nearly 30 years. (Applause.)
On one side of that screen, they gave billions of dollars in tax cuts to large corporations, many of which paid nothing. On the other side, President Biden and I came in and we invested in small-business owners and entrepreneurs with billions of dollars in access to capital.
On one side, they constructed a Supreme Court to take away reproductive freedom from the women and people of America. On the other, when we win back Congress, our President will sign back into law the reproductive freedom that was guaranteed in Roe v. Wade. (Applause.)
So, folks, there are many issues these days that have taken on the character as though they are binary. And there are a lot of issues that are not binary.
But in 2024, in this election, it is binary. It is binary. And the choice is clear.
So, with 11 short months left, I will close with this. As Vice President, I have now met with over 100 world leaders — presidents, prime ministers, chancellors, and kings. When we walk into those rooms, representing the United States of America, we walk in those rooms chin up, shoulders back, with the self-appointed and earned authority to talk about the importance of democracy and rule of law.
But here’s the thing about being a role model: When you’re a role model, people watch what you do to see if it matches what you say.
In this very moment, people around the world are watching the United States of America. And there is a duality to the nature of democracy.
On the one hand, when it is intact, it is extremely strong in terms of the strength it gives its people in the protection and the preservation of individual rights and freedoms. On the other hand, democracy — well, it’s very fragile. It’s only as strong as our willingness to fight for it.
And so, fight we will.
The months ahead will not be easy, but I am confident, on November 5th, 2024, we will win. (Applause.) We will win. We will win.
We have the record, we have the momentum, and most of all, we have the leadership. We have a leader of courage and compassion, a leader of strength and skill, a leader who is ready to fight and is a fighter.
So, please join me in welcoming the President of the United States, Joe Biden. (Applause.)
END 6:53 P.M. PST