Private Residence

New York, New York

11:39 A.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Hi, everyone.  Hi, hi.  Thank you.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

Please have a seat.  Please have a seat.  Please have a seat.

Thank you, Alexis.  And we’re going to engage in conversation in a minute, and I’m really looking forward to that. 

It is good to see so many longstanding friends and many new friends.  And I want to thank you all for taking the time to have this conversation at this very important and pivotal moment in the history of our country.

Crystal, thank you for hosting us, you and Ray.  I mean, you guys are family to me.  You have hosted me in this very living room many times for many conversations.

Sarah Min — where is Sarah? — thank you.  Just, I mean, literally — I was saying to Crystal and Sarah and Alicia, I mean, you know, it’s a real blessing in your lives — I think all of us have girlfriends who have always just — they’re there with us.  Right?  And when you need them just to pick you up, to push you out, to laugh with you, to celebrate with you, to — to live. 

And these three have been such extraordinary friends to me and just on this road and journey with me for such a long time.  So, to Crystal, to Sarah, to Alicia, I thank you for bringing everybody together.  (Applause.)  Thank you.

And — and to Crystal’s plus-one, Ray.  (Laughter.)

So, I’ll just get right to a few points, and then we can start the conversation.  Let me start with this.  We are winning.  We are winning.  (Applause.)  We are winning.  And we will win.  (Applause.)  We are winning, and we will win.

If you take a look at what we have, in just three years, accomplished, be it what we have done in a way that rivals — God bless him — but Eisenhower around what we have done to invest trillions of dollars in America’s infrastructure; bringing manufacturing back to the United States; investing in the climate with over a trillion dollars in a way that we are rivaling or at least probably requiring competition from our allies around the world to do what we’re doing to take care of this precious planet Earth that we have.

What we are doing to deal with supply chain — a term that was, in most people — not in most people’s — right? — language and lexicon until the pandemic but became clear: We need to have strong supply chains right here in the United States, least [lest] industries and economies shut down.

We are investing in CHIPS and Science.  I’m so excited about that.  Many of you know that my mother was a scientist — a breast cancer researcher.  She’d take my sister, Maya, and I to the lab on weekends and — and after school.  And the idea that we are investing in the work that is about seeing what is possible and what can be, unburdened by what has been; that we can invest in those things will — that will uplift the human condition.

We are winning on so many fundamental issues that are about the strength of our economy, a broad-based economy, that are about improving the condition and lives of so many.

What we are doing in terms of our ability to, one, be a role model around what a clean energy economy in the future can look like.  And doing all that while we also fight for fundamental freedoms and rights.

We are winning, and we are going to win.  And it will not be easy. 

Many of you may know I have now, as Vice President of the United States, met with — my staff has counted — over 150 world leaders — presidents, prime ministers, chancellors, and kings — now with many of them multiple times to the point that we have developed friendships are on — that are on a first-name basis. 

I’ll tell you, the last three international trips I took were two at the end of last year and one this year.

Last year, it was — the last trips I took were Dubai.  I represented our country at COP28, the global climate conference.  I was in the UK.  The — Rishi Sunak of the UK asked me to come, and I presented on how we think about the future of safety in AI.  And then, this year, I presented America’s perspective in front of our NATO Allies at the Munich Security Conference.

In each one of just those last three trips, to a one, world leaders came up to me — we’re on a first-name basis — “Kamala,” they said, “hope you guys are going to win.”  And understand, when they presented that point, it’s purely out of self-interest. 

Because they understand what we here all know: When we, as the United States of America, walk into these rooms, historically, we have the earned and self-appointed authority to walk into those rooms chin up, shoulders back, talking about the importance of democracy, rule of law. 

But this room of role models knows that when one is a role model, people watch what you do to see if it matches what you say.  People around the world are watching and hoping and praying America lives up to her promise. 

And I believe in the promise of America.  And I believe in America’s promise to her people.  I am living proof of America’s promise. 

And so, when I think, then, about where we are in this moment, it is about us living up to that promise and believing in it and then knowing that that promise will only be achieved if we, each of us, are willing to fight for it.  (Applause.)

And I also believe: When you know what you stand for, you know what to fight for.  (Laughter.)  And so, we’re going to talk about a few things here.  But I’ll say a lot of what we stand for and will be fighting for over the course of these next — what is it, six months, Sheila?

MS. NIX:  Less than.  (Laughter.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Less than.  Everyone, meet Sheila Nix, my — the Chief of Staff of my campaign.  (Applause.)

A lot of the issues that we stand for and are fighting for are issues that I’ve worked on my entire career.  As many of you know, on the issue of, for example, reproductive health — and we’ll talk a bit about that — I just did — I just came from doing the Sherri Shepherd show.  If any of you have watched her, she’s fantastic.  She’s very smart, very funny.

But — but in attendance, in the audience, were my niece, Meena; my goddaughter, Helena, who is getting — Crystal gave her some food to eat because she’s been running with me since we left D.C.  (Laughter.)  We’re all mommies here.  (Laughter.)

And in the audience was a woman by the name of Wanda Kagan.  She used to be called Wanda Kagan when we were in — in high school.  She’s now married.  And the story of Wanda is some — a story that I have not often told but have been talking about more as she talks about it, which is this: When I was in high school, I learned that my best friend, Wanda, was being molested by her stepfather.  And I said to her, “Well, you have to come live with us.”  And I called my mother, and my mother said, “Of course, she does.”  And so, she did.

And you all know I started my career as a prosecutor.  But you may not know that that’s one of the reasons why.  Because I decided I wanted to take on crimes and harms against women and children.  And the majority of my career as a prosecutor was actually focused on just that. 

So, when I travel the country, often seeing Alexis McGill out in these main streets — (laughter) — when I talk about the immorality of laws that, for example, would make no exception for rape or incest on the issue of abortion, I am talking about an issue that I am very familiar with in terms of how it plays out in reality.  The idea that some so-called leader would suggest that after someone has survived a violation to their body, they have no right to decide what happens to their body next — it’s immoral.

And these are issues I’ve worked on for years.  When I think about what we need to do in terms of addressing the economy, you know, as — as Attorney General of California, elected and reelected — as the first woman, by the way, but that wasn’t the point — (laughter) — I ran the second-largest Department of Justice in the United States, second only to the United States Department of Justice.

And when I was there, a lot of the work that I did was about what we need to do to support the economy, support consumers, protect homeowners, knowing that, for example, if you want to talk about one of the smartest and most effective ways that an American family can achieve intergenerational wealth is through homeownership and what we need to do, then, to protect that.

I worked with small businesses back then and now, as Vice President, have been responsible for billions of dollars more in capital going to community banks to invest in small businesses.  I convened a whole group of executives from American Express, Bank of America, and others to invest mil- — billions more private equity to make access to capital real.

The work that we are doing that is about — focused on the fact that in our economy, we have no lack of people with ambition and aspirations, but so many face obstacles to achieve the economic health and security, much less wealth, that they desire.  And we need to address that if we really want to build an economy that works for everyone.

So, I’ve taken on issues like debt, one of the biggest burdens for the American people.  Medical debt — doing the work that I’ve done, I have seen it play out, especially when I would work on, as Attorney General, hospital mergers and what would bring people down. 

So, guess what we have done as an administration?  We have now said that medical debt cannot be included in your credit score.  (Applause.)  I will tell you: This is a game changer.  Credit score — you know, now people can get it — there are all kinds of apps.  People know that as well as they know their weight.  (Laughter.)  Right?  (Laughs.)  And they know what that number means — (laughter) — for a variety of things.

The fact that medical debt, which is usually acquired, sadly, because of a medical emergency — it’s no reflection, that medical emergency, of how financially responsible you are or not — but weighs people down. 

These are the kinds of things that we have done that is reflective of an approach about what we stand for, which includes, as it relates to the economy, as much as anything, making sure that people can’t just get by but can get ahead. 

And then, of course, the issue of democracy.  And I’ll close with that, and then we can start our discussion.  I mean, my God.  In our lifetime — Crystal, you were talking about Brown v. Board of Education.  Seventieth anniversary, I think, is this weekend.



My mentor, who I never met but who inspired a lot of my career, was Thurgood Marshall.  (Applause.)  Right?  Who, as much as anything, his — his — the model that I saw so much about him was he understood how to translate the passion from the streets to the courtrooms of our country and then do the work of reminding us of the foundational principles that underlie the Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence and all those words that are supposed to reflect the principles that we hold dear.

The idea of democracy, freedom — right? — it was about fights for freedom — that the highest court in our land — the court of Thurgood and RBG — would take a constitutional right that had been recognized from the women of America — freedoms. 

You see what’s happening in terms of Florida and some other places — freedom the — the — “Don’t Say Gay.”  Freedom — on the attack of people to love who they love openly and with pride. 

Attacks — book bans.  The freedom to learn America’s full history. 

The opposition to smart gun safety laws, like assault weapons bans and universal background checks, which essentially is an assault on the freedom that our children and each of us should have to be free from fear of gun violence.

Freedom — the freedom — I just did — I’ve been doing a lot of events for AANHPI week, Asian American history.  And the freedom — the freedom most recently I talked about yesterday — to be free from hate and bigotry.

Fundamental freedoms are at stake right now. 

And so, when I say that we are winning, we are.  Part of it is because I know who’s in this room.  We do believe in the promise of America.  And we know what we stand for, so we know what to fight for.

And with that, I say, we will win. 

And to my New York friends, I will also ask you specifically, you got some House races here — (laughter and applause) — that could actually turn this stuff around.  And, in particular, New York 17, in Hudson Valley.  So, please pay attention to that.

And I could not sit down to start this conversation without asking you for something, which I have now done.  So, let’s start our conversation.  (Laughter and applause.)

Good.  Thank you.

END                     11:54 A.M. EDT

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