Private Residence

San Francisco, California

1:49 P.M. PDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  First of all, let me just thank Joyce and Susan and (inaudible).  And I know Anita is where — are you here?  Stefanie and co-chairs.

It is a homecoming.  You — I miss San Francisco.  I was joking with (inaudible) that you — (inaudible) moved to the Bay Area, and, of course, after I met and fell in love with my husband, Doug Emhoff, I moved to Los Angeles, and I now call myself a “Sangelino.”  (Laughter.)

But it all started here.  It all started here.  You called out Mark Buell.  Mark Buell and I had lunch, as we were wont to do frequently at Balboa, having cheeseburgers, and I told Mark I was going to run for DA of San Francisco.  And he said, “Well, I’m there, and I will do anything to help you and support you.”

That was — I filed those papers November of 2002. 


THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Yes.  Yes, 2002.  I was inaugurated DA of San Francisco January 8th, 2004.  Because remember, Mark, we said I’m not — there was a certain elected at the time who said, “Well, show me you can raise some money, and maybe people will take you seriously.”  (Laughs.)  I’m not going to say who, but it was a big personality who we all know.  (Laughter.)

And — and so, (inaudible) and, you know, okay.  And so, Mark and Susie and — and almost everybody in this room, in the first days between that Thanksgiving and December 31st of 2002, we raised a whopping $250,000.  That was a big deal.  (Applause.)  (Inaudible) $250. 

And — and that’s a long way of saying that the people in this room have been on this journey with me from the very beginning.  I don’t count it in decades, which we can, but I really do measure it based on the journey.  And it’s been extraordinary.  It’s been extraordinary.

And I always, always reflect on what it meant to be here with this family and friends and the kind of way that the people in this room have always thought about these offices and what they mean to our country.  I’ve always told the new friends and the new people who come into my life professionally: You have to understand, my OGs, my original gangsters — that’s what “OG” stands for — (laughter) — have always been in equal measure invested in the issues, in the policies, in the vision. 

It’s not just betting on a winner.  That’s not who the people in this room are.  It’s people who actually believe in the promise of America. 

There is so much about this election that is that.  This election — and what is it now? — I’m looking for — 126 days — that, as much as anything, is about a test of our fundamental belief in the promise of America.  And that’s who we’ve always been together.

So, it’s really great to be home today to know that we are a huge community of people who believe, based on our love of our country and what we know is possible.

And, yeah, I’m traveling all over the country, Susan.  I have been — my team counts everything I do.  It’s funny how, in D.C., they just count everything.  So, they’ve counted how many countries I’ve been to.  I think it’s 20-something.  They have counted how many days we have until the election; again, that’s 126.  And they’ve counted that I’ve been to at least 60 — I’ve taken at least 60 domestic trips since the beginning of this year.

In fact, it’s funny, I just recently saw Roy Cooper, the — the governor of North Carolina, who with — greets me on the tarmac every time I land with, “You’ve been here 14 times.”  Every time I land, he tells me what — how many times I’ve been there.  (Laughter.) 

And I say all that to say that there is a big community of people that feel just like we do and believe in the promise of America.  You know, I often in those instances will say, look, I so deeply believe in the promise of America; I am empirical evidence of the promise of America.  And that’s what we’re fighting for.

And let’s just deal with the elephant in the room.  There are actually two: One is the debate, and the other is Trump.  (Laughter.) 

So, the debate, as the president said, was not his finest hour.  We all know that.  Here’s the thing that we do know: This — and the outcome of this election cannot be determined by one day in June.  Here’s the thing that we know that was true before the debate and remains true: It is still the fact that the stakes are so high in this election.  It is still a fact that the race is close. 

It is still a fact that there is a profound contrast on the two sides of the split screen in terms of who stands for what and what each has accomplished.  And it is still true that Trump is a liar.  These things remain true.

So, I will share with you, then, notes from the field, because I am out here in these streets.  (Laughter.) 

So, let me tell you, when I — whether it be hundreds or thousands of people — and I travel and meet with groups that are any re- — anywhere from, you know, 20 to 30 to thousands.  They will thank us when we talk about the fact that we have, for example, capped the cost of insulin at $35 a month for our seniors.  (Applause.)  They will talk about (inaudible).  They will talk about the fact that they have been, for generations, dealing with the fact that seniors have had to make a choice between whether they could afford their prescription for insulin or fill their refrigerator.

I was in Nevada on my way here Thursday or Friday of last week.  And a woman came up to me, and she had these two pieces of paper.  I said, “What are these?”  She said, “I’d like you to look at it.”  They were the — she had her mother with her — receipts for her insulin bills, which in one was four digit — thousands — and the other triple digit.  And now it’s going to be capped at $35 a month.

Understand what’s happening in the streets of America when we have accomplished something like that — when we have finally allowed Medicare to negotiate drug prices against Big Pharma, and we are capping the cost of prescription medication on an annual basis at $2,000 — $2,000 a year — for our seniors.  It’s a big deal.  (Applause.)  (Inaudible.)

When I go into these rooms and I talk about — for example, I — I’ve been doing an Economic Opportunity Tour throughout the country focused, in particular, on African American young men — entrepreneurs, small-business owners.  And I talk about, then, the importance of contributing not only to just the well-being but the ability of people to grow wealth.  Right?

Sometimes we get a bu- — bum rap as Democrats.  We just talk about “jobs, jobs.”  Yes, we have created 15 million new jobs under our administration.  Yes, we have created over 800,000 new manufacturing jobs under our administration.  Yes, wages have outpaced inflation.  Yes, I can go on and offer you an Econ 101 lecture, which I will not.  (Laughter.) 

But we have also addressed long-standing issues that are obstacles to the creation of wealth, like student loan debt — erasing student loan debt.  We have erased over $160 billion in student loan debt.  I have met teachers across our country — (applause) — who come up to me because the way we structure it, public servants — nurses, teachers, firefighters — are receiving double the forgiveness. 

I have met teachers around our country who come up to me with tears in their eyes because they’ve been sitting on tens to hundreds of thousands of student loan debt for 20-something years and always felt they should leave the profession in order to be able to pay it off but stayed in the profession because, of course, that is God’s work — the work of trying to teach other people’s children. 

These are the kinds of things throughout the country, when we are traveling, when I am talking with people, they stand and applaud.  They stand and applaud the fact that we have finally addressed the issue of medical debt.  That’s a big issue for the American people — working people — a medical emergency, unplanned, that results in tens to hundreds of thousands of debt.  And what we have done to say, from now on, medical debt cannot be included in your credit score. 

You know what that means for everyday working people?  That means their credit score, which will determine whether they’re eligible for an apartment or lease, much less a car loan, a small-business loan, will no longer get a measure of whether they are financially responsible because, of course, it shouldn’t be.  It was a medical emergency that — that caused it to happen. 

These are the things that I will tell you.  In addition to — and we have climate just — activists and — and — and warriors in this room and in this town.  By my estimate, we are dropping a trillion dollars on the streets of America over the next 10 years on the climate crisis in resilience, in adaptation, and being a world leader on an investment in a clean energy economy.  (Applause.)  (Inaudible.)

And I’m going to look at (inaudible) over here — what we have done in an investment in science and chips and what this means — and I say as, you all know, the daughter of a scientist — the billions of dollars that we are investing in research and development, in technology and science, to be a world leader, as we should be.

So, when we talk about the split screen — and you all may have heard my interviews on the night of the debate — if you look at performance and you need and want that the measure of the performance of an administration and a president is that they actually get things done, history will show. 

This stuff is beating Eisenhower.  What we have done stands up against some of the strongest — historically strongest administrations ever.  We got a lot of new material coming.

Doug is so funny.  He says, “Honey, the problem that we’ve got is that our list of accomplishments reads like a CVS receipt.”  (Laughter.)  “It just goes on and on and on.  And you got to pick, like, three and repeat them, right?”  (Laughter.)

The other thing that we have to realize: Momentum is on our side.  So, in the midterms, you all will remember the smart pundits — they’re all very smart — talked about the red wave.  “The red wave is coming.”  Well, as we all know, it was maybe a red drip.  (Laughter.)  And when an issue like reproductive freedom was on the ballot, in so-called red and blue states, from Kansas to California, Ohio, Virginia, Montana, the American people voted for freedom. 

When we look at the fact that in our country today — again, I’ve been traveling our country for the last three and a half years as vice president — there is an awareness among the American people that there is a full-on attack — an intentional attack against hard-fought, hard-won freedoms and liberties.

Freedom to have access to the ballot box.  In a state like Georgia, where they passed a law that makes it illegal to give people food and water for standing in line to exercise their civic responsibility to vote.  The hypocrisy abounds.  What happened to “love thy neighbor”?  

Freedom — the freedom to be free from hate and bigotry.  In a state like Florida, “Don’t Say Gay” law.  You all remember, in 2004, Gavin was mayor; I was DA.  We performed some of the first same-sex marriages in the history of our country Valentine’s weekend 2004.  (Applause.)

And I think about that — 20 years ago.  We just celebrated the 20th anniversary of Valentine’s Day (inaudible).  And I think about, in Florida, some young teacher, who is their 20s, afraid to put up a photograph of themselves and their partner for fear they could lose their job for doing God’s work.  And God knows we don’t pay them enough as it is.

Attacks on hard-fought, hard-won freedoms.  Book bans — can you imagine, in 2024, deciding that certain books will be banned and a teacher does not have the ability or discretion or authority to teach America’s full history?  Those who are attempting to deny or whitewash America’s history. 

And then, of course, what the Court did with the Dobbs decision, which was about two years ago, when the highest court in our land took a constitutional right that had been recognized from the people of America — the Court of Thurgood and RBG.  And thereafter, in state after state, laws have been proposed and passed to criminalize health care providers.  In Texas, prison for life is the penalty for a doctor or a nurse who performs their responsibility of care. 

Laws that make no exception even for rape or incest — the immorality of telling a survivor of a crime of violence to their body, a violation to their body, that they have no authority to make a decision about what happens to their body next.  It’s immoral. 

These are the things that are happening in our country.  And so, when I go back to the point that I mentioned earlier about the stakes are high, everyone in this room knows, and we’re not alone.

And the stakes became even higher with the Supreme Court decision yesterday.  Why is that?  Because the Court essentially said that there is immunity, that a president could be immune from committing what heretofore would have been assumed to be an offense with consequence. 

And let’s not forget, Donald Trump has openly said he admires dictators and intends to be a dictator on day one. 

Let us remember Donald Trump has said he intends to weaponize the Department of Justice against his political enemies. 

The thought that he could be back in the White House now, with this precedent set — now with authority from the highest court — that suggests that the president is immune from consequence, whereas before at least there was the threat there may be consequence, the stakes couldn’t be higher.  The stakes could not be higher.

And I say all of that to say what this group has always known: When you know what you stand for, you know what to fight for.  And we got to fight, and we know how to fight.  And we have always known how to fight. 

And when we fight, it is not against anything; it is for something.  And that’s the fight that we are in right now: a fight for the promise of America, a fight for what is best and right and good. 

And I’ll close with this point.  As vice president, I have now met with over 150 world leaders — presidents, prime ministers, chancellors, and kings — many of them multiple times that we have developed friendships, relationships, we’re on a first-name basis.  So, I’ll tell you a couple things.

The last few international trips I took — so, the — the end of last year and then this year.  Most recently, I was in Switzerland about two weeks ago with Zelenskyy for a conference on hoping to have peace for Ukraine. 

Before that, this year — earlier this year, I was in Munich presenting our perspective, as the United States, in terms of our relationship with our NATO Allies.  In fact, anybody interested in the speech, I’ll get it too. 

But I wrote a speech specifically — even though it was in front of our NATO European Allies — that was intended for the American people to remind them of the 1930s and how when America takes a position that is about isolation, it will not insulate us — empirical evidence being Pearl Harbor — and therefore our responsibility and the power we have when we participate and strengthen alliances; the impact we have on world order and stability.  (Applause.)

At the end of last year, I was in Dubai presenting for the United States on — at the — at COP28, the global climate conference.  And then before that, I was in the UK, actually, to — to present on our perspective on the future of AI in terms of safety. 

Anyway, this is a long way of saying these are just the last few trips I’ve taken. 

To a one, world leaders came up to me, “Kamala” — sotto voice — “Kamala, I hope you guys are going to be okay” — to a one. 

And understand, when they raise this point, it is purely out of self-interest.  Because, you see, people around the world are acutely aware of the significance and role that America’s democracy — imperfect though it may be — the role and responsibility of America’s democracy to stability around the world.

And in that way, the outcome of this election will directly impact the American people and people around the world.  So, we know what’s at stake.  And we know what to fight for.

And my last point is this.  When we fight — because I know this crew — (laughter) — when we fight, we win. 

There you go.  Thank you all.  (Applause.)

END                       2:10 P.M. PDT

Stay Connected

Sign Up

We'll be in touch with the latest information on how President Biden and his administration are working for the American people, as well as ways you can get involved and help our country build back better.

Opt in to send and receive text messages from President Biden.

Scroll to Top Scroll to Top