In swan song, Gephardt touts candidate Kerry's values
BOSTON -- John Kerry will lift up working families with his background and values, former rival Dick Gephardt told the Democratic convention Tuesday night, a poignant closure to Gephardt's own failed efforts at the nomination.
"I ran for president because I wanted to give those people a voice," Gephardt said. "And I stand proudly at John Kerry's convention because he speaks for them. He strives to lift them up. Their cause is his unyielding concern."
It was a swan song for Gephardt, who had hoped to address the convention as presidential nominee but quit after a poor fourth-place showing in Iowa. He was a vice presidential contender until Edwards' selection three weeks ago and will retire when his term ends in January.
"I never dreamed I'd have the chance to serve so many people in so many ways," Gephardt said, thanking his family, his St. Louis constituents and his staff.
"I'm a lucky man," he said. "Together, they taught me that win or lose, the dream is what matters. The fight is what it's all about for an America that lifts all those who've been locked out and left out of our bounty and promise."
While he spoke of his own White House campaign, the 14-term congressman focused his speech on Kerry's character.
"I've worked with him," Gephardt said. "I know his values. I know his heart."
"And I say to you with complete conviction, there is no one in these United States with more courage, more judgment, more resolve, more of the knowledge and experience to hold the job of president of these United States of America."
Gephardt said: "We need John Kerry as president because it's time to restore honor and dignity to the White House, to have president whose whole life is a testament to his goodness and decency and to his courage under fire."