Text of Dole's acceptance speech REPUBLICAN CONVENTION

Campaign 1996

August 16, 1996

Here is the text of Bob Dole's acceptance speech to the Republican National Convention in San Diego last night:

Thank you. Thank you very much, thank you. Thank you very much, what a night. The folks in Hollywood would be happy to know that I've found a movie I like, the one I just saw.

L This is a big night for me and I'm ready. We're ready to go.

Thank you California. And thank you San Diego for hosting the greatest Republican convention of them all, the greatest of them all.

Thank you President Ford and President Bush and God bless you Nancy Reagan for your moving tribute to President Reagan.

By the way, I spoke to President Reagan this afternoon and I made him a promise that we would win one more for the Gipper. Are you ready? And he appreciated it very much.

Ladies and gentlemen, delegates to the convention, and fellow citizens: I cannot say it more clearly than in plain speaking. I accept your nomination to lead our party once again to the presidency of the United States. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I will. And I am profoundly moved by your confidence and trust, and I look forward to leading America into the next century.

But this moment, but this is not my moment, it is yours. It is yours, Elizabeth. It is yours, Robin. It is yours, Jack and Joanne Kemp.

And do not think that I have forgotten whose moment this is above all. It is for the people of America that I stand here tonight, and by their generous leave. And as my voice echoes across darkness and desert, as it is heard over car radios on coastal roads, and as it travels above farmland and suburb, deep into the heart of cities that, from space look tonight like strings of sparkling diamonds, I can tell you that I know whose moment this is: It is yours. It is yours entirely.

And who am I, and who am I, that stands before you tonight?

I was born in Russell, Kansas, a small town in the middle of the prairie surrounded by wheat and oil wells. As my neighbors and friends from Russell, who tonight sit in the front of this hall, know well, Russell, though not the West, looks out upon the West. And like most small towns on the plains, it is a place where no one

grows up without an intimate knowledge of distance.

And the first thing you learn on the prairie is the relative size of a man compared to the lay of the land. And under the immense sky where I was born and raised, a man is very small, and if he thinks otherwise, he's wrong.

'I come from good people'

I come from good people, very good people, and I'm proud of it. My father's name was Doran, my mother's name was Bina. I loved them, and there is no moment when my memory of them and my love for them does not overshadow anything I do, even this, even here.

And there is no height to which I have risen that is high enough to allow me to forget them, to allow me to forget where I came from and where I stand, and how I stand, with my feet on the ground, just a man, at the mercy of God.

And this perspective has been strengthened and solidified by a certain wisdom that I owe not to any achievement of my own, but to the gracious compensations of age. And I know that in some quarters I may not, I may be expected to run from the truth of this. But I was born in 1923, facts are better than dreams, and good presidents and good candidates don't run from the truth.

I do not need the presidency to make or refresh my soul. That false hope I will gladly leave to others, for greatness lies not in what office you hold, but in how honest you are, in how you face adversity, and in your willingness to stand fast in hard places.

Age has its advantages. Let me be the bridge to an America that only the unknowing call myth. Let me be the bridge to a time of tranquillity, faith, and confidence in action. And to those who say it was never so, that America has not been better, I say, you're wrong, and I know, because I was there. And I have seen it. And I remember.

And our nation, though wounded and scathed, has outlasted revolution, civil war, world war, racial oppression and economic catastrophe. We have fought and prevailed on almost every continent and in almost every sea. We have even lost, but we have lasted, and we have always come through.

What enabled us to accomplish this has little to do with the values of the present. After decades of assault upon what made America great, upon supposedly obsolete values. What have we reaped? What have we created? What do we have? What we have in the opinion of millions of Americans is crime and drugs, illegitimacy, abortion, the abdication of duty, and the abandonment of children.

And after the virtual devastation of the American family, the rock upon this country - on which this country was founded, we are told that it takes a village, that is, the collective, and thus, the state, to raise a child.

'It takes a family'

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