CONCORD, NH — Michael Bennet today ended his presidential campaign. A transcript of his remarks is below and a video is available here.
Hello, New Hampshire. Thank you very much for all being here tonight and thank you very much for what you’ve done for this campaign.
I want to start by thanking Susan and the girls for their unbelievable efforts over this entire campaign. And for the sacrifices that they’ve made over the last 11 years that I’ve been in the Senate, and the years before that when I was Superintendent of the Denver Public Schools….
I’d like to thank my national campaign staff who ran through walls all across the country. There were never as many of them as some of the other campaigns, but they were a mighty force to be reckoned with.
I also want to thank my Senate staff for their incredible work and their leadership over the past decade.
There are so many people that I will thank over the coming days, but I wanted to mention tonight my predecessor Gary Hart, who is nothing but a source of inspiration, my friend and mentor Dick Celeste, who came out here and knocked doors for me, my pal James Carville, who I didn’t even know, but he endorsed me — and I don’t think anybody will ever be able to forget his contribution to this campaign.
I’d like to thank everybody here tonight who flew across the country to be with us in the last few days. …
I’d like to thank Will Kanteres and Meryl Levin. We would have been lost without them, and because of their friendship, and because of their leadership and because of their efforts, we were able to introduce ourselves to the state of New Hampshire. And I just can’t tell you how much I appreciate it and I think we’ve made some lifelong friends.
Speaking of New Hampshire, I love you New Hampshire…whether you knew it or not, we were having a great time together. And I’ve said over and over again how much like Colorado New Hampshire is. It’s a complicated political state. It’s a swing state. It’s a state filled with thoughtful people who take incredibly seriously their responsibilities so seriously that today they were less decided than they were six weeks ago. But they decided tonight.
And tonight is not going to be our night, but let me say this to New Hampshire, you may see me once again.
I really want to say that I appreciate the fact that you gave me a chance here, and you’re giving all the other candidates a chance. I wish all those candidates well that are going beyond New Hampshire.
I think it’s fitting for us to end the campaign tonight. But I want to remind you of why I got in this race, why I stayed in this race, why we have to stay in this fight.
I love our country. I love America. I love the idea of democracy and I want to make sure that our generation passes this democracy intact — at least — if not in better shape, to the next generation of Americans.
And tonight as we stand here we can’t say that we’re in very good shape. Our democracy is at risk. The ability for people to work hard and live a middle-class life in this country is at risk. The opportunity for the kids, the students that I used to work for in the Denver Public Schools and kids just like them all across this country, the opportunity for their parents to get them out of poverty is at risk. America’s place in the world is at risk tonight. And the rest of the world desperately needs our leadership. As all of you know, our planet is at risk today from climate change. These are huge issues that we have to confront.
I’m really proud that together during the course of this campaign, we developed an agenda called the Real Deal that is the most coherent approach to addressing these issues that we’ve seen out of any of the campaigns.
I look forward to carrying that out of New Hampshire and carrying that into the future. What I know about that agenda, because it was written by a team of people who were working very hard to represent a swing state in this country, is that any Democrat in America, from the top of the ticket to the bottom of the ticket, can run on that agenda. I think that’s an agenda that can get us the White House and as James Carville would say, 55 seats in the Senate. That’s an agenda that’s worth fighting for.
So I feel nothing but joy tonight as we conclude this particular campaign and this particular chapter.
I’m going to do absolutely everything I can do as one human being to make sure Donald Trump is a one-term president. I will support the nominee of my party, no matter who it is, to make sure that we defeat Donald Trump. But we can’t stop there. As I’ve said all across this state, and I’ve said all across the country, it’s not just about who is in the White House—we’ve got to win a majority in the Senate. And I will campaign all over this country to make sure we win that majority.
I want to finish by saying what I’ve said particularly to college kids in the state… In 20 or 30 years from now, when people look back at this moment and they consider the fact that some time between now and then, 20 or 30 years from now we got the money out of our politics and put the people back in our politics; we’ve actually began the meaningful work to lead the world in working to address climate change; we rediscovered once again how in this country we can make the economy rise for everybody when it grows, not just for the people at the very top; that we discovered once again how to provide education in this country so we are liberating kids from their economic circumstances, rather than reinforcing the income inequality we have.
When people look back at and ask ‘How did that happen? How did they do it?’ they’re going to look back at this moment. And there’s going to be some college campus somewhere where they decided that every single person on that campus who was eligible to vote would cast their vote. And if universities all over the country looked at that and saw it could be done, then it would set a new standard to be a citizen in this republic. If this country starts to vote at 70%, instead of at 50%, there is no issue that we won’t be able to address together.
So I want you to be optimistic tonight. You have to be optimistic. This is in our hands. It is in our hands. As James Baldwin wrote during the height of the Civil Rights movement, this is in our hands, we have no right to assume otherwise.