Wesley K. Clark
September 17, 2003 - Little Rock, AR
Americans for Clark Announcement Day in Little Rock at Boys & Girls Club
Thank you. Thank YOU. I like that. The Wes Wing. I like that. Great signs. Thank you
very much. Thank you so much for being here; my family - Gert, Wes (son), Astrid
(daughter in law), Senator David Pryor, Congressman Marion Berry, the Boys and Girls
Club members on stage here with me, and all of you from Little Rock, Arkansas and all
over America, thank you so much for coming here today and being with us.
My name is Wes Clark. I am from Little Rock, Arkansas, and I'm here to announce that I
intend to seek the Presidency of the United States of America.
(Crowd starts to repeatedly cheer "We Want Clark")
Well for my family and me, it's been a long journey from Little Rock. From West Point
to Vietnam, 34 years in the United States Army, through war in the Balkans, back to
Little Rock for business. And I'm proud to have made that journey, proud to have served
my country in uniform, and proud to be back home today in Little Rock.
Now we're talking about a new journey. This is a journey I couldn't begin without all of
you, friends and family, high school classmates, business colleagues, close personal
friends, from all over the state; especially I want to recognize the hundreds of people who
are here because of the Draft Clark movement. Thank you. (Crowd cheers)
You took an inconceivable idea and made it conceivable (big smile). But many things are
conceivable today because we do live in historic times. For the first time since Herbert
Hoover's presidency, a President's economic policy has cost us more jobs than our
economy has had the energy to create. For the first time since the 1960's and early 70's
more than 100,000 American troops are fighting abroad and once again at home,
Americans are concerned about their civil liberties.
For the first time since the Cold War, many Americans no longer feel safe at their homes
and workplaces. These are historic times. And we're going to run a campaign that's
worthy of the historic times in which we live. We're going to run a campaign that will
move this country FORWARD, not back.
And we're going to talk straight to the American people. Because in times of historic
challenges, the American people deserve to hear the truth and hear it in plain and simple
language. And in this campaign, we're going to bring people together, in the great
tradition of the Democratic Party because now we need leaders, more than ever before,
leaders who will put the interests of all our people first.
And when I say we're going to bring people together, I mean all people, not just
Democrats, but Independents, and Republicans, too. And especially those who have
never participated before. You'll come with us.
Now I warn you, we'll ask the tough questions as we move forward and we'll hold this
administration accountable. Why has America lost 2.7million jobs? Why has America
lost the prospect of a $5 trillion surplus and turned it into a $5 trillion deficit that deepens
every day? Why has our country lost our sense of security? And feels the shadow of fear?
(Crowd answers "BUSH") Why has America lost the respect of so many people around
the world? (Crowd answers "BUSH") That's the questions we're going to be asking and
more; WHY are so many here in America hesitant to speak out and ask questions?
(Crowd answers "BUSH"; Clark nods his head) Well we're going to ask those hard
questions my friends and we're going to demand the answers. But we're going to do so,
not in destructive bickering or personal attacks but in the highest tradition of democratic
dialogue. We're going to seek out the facts, search for the causes, to find the solutions,
and in questioning and proposing alternatives, we're going to reach for the very essence
of our democracy.
And in a time of war, we're going to ask those questions and propose those alternatives in
the highest sense of patriotism.
So we are going to hold the administration accountable for its policies and the results. But
let's remember, the results belong to all of us. Each and every one of us. They're the
foundation on which we must build anew. And in this campaign we'll have a plan to
restore the millions of jobs that have been lost and to restore our economic opportunities
We'll work out how to deal with the deficits created by this administration; deficits that
will kill jobs and burden children. We'll find a way to restore safety and security for
America and a sense of security for every American. In this campaign we're going to
travel the country, listen, learn and grow. We're going to take the talents of ordinary
Americans, their diverse talent and bring together the vision of the way ahead. In the
coming weeks I'll deliver a major speech that will outline my vision for the economy and
the vision for our national security and I hope that these speeches and that my entire
campaign will generate the kind of frank, honest, open public debate this nation deserves.
(Crowd cheers "We Want Clark")
Let's recognize who we are. We are Americans and we have extraordinary promise and
live in a time of extraordinary promise. We're the strongest nation in the world. We don't
have to fear. We're the leading economy in the world. We can create jobs. We're a
military without peer, and we're proud of our Armed Forces and our Veterans.
We've got a heritage of democracy, the rule of law, the respect for the rights and dignity
of each and every individual that makes America the envy of the world. And I think to
put it in business terms; we're diverse, energetic, practical and innovative. This 21st
century is going to be our American century, just like the 20th century was.
And together, we're going to march forward. Forward with a new vision. Forward to
bring our children and grandchildren into a future, brightened by hope, courage, and our
determination that we can do better. We will do better. And we will do it together.
So that's our campaign. We're firm in our intent, we're clear in our purposes, we're
mustering the resources, building the nucleus, drawing the support of people from all
across this great land. We're underway and moving forward, we need your help here in
Little Rock. Here in Arkansas and across America. But I want to reach out especially to
those in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and everywhere across America. Get
ready, we're moving out!