Excerpts from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's speech yesterday at the National Building Museum in Washington, where she suspended her presidential campaign.
Thank you very, very much. Well, this isn't exactly the party I'd planned, but I sure like the company.
And I want to start today by saying how grateful I am to all of you, to everyone who poured your hearts and your hopes into this campaign, who drove for miles and lined the streets waving homemade signs, who scrimped and saved to raise money, who knocked on doors and made calls, who talked, sometimes argued, with your friends and neighbors . . . who e-mailed and contributed online, who invested so much in our common enterprise, to the moms and dads who came to our events, who lifted their little girls and little boys on their shoulders and whispered in their ears, "See, you can be anything you want to be."
So to all those who voted for me and to whom I pledged my utmost, my commitment to you and to the progress we seek is unyielding.
You have inspired and touched me with the stories of the joys and sorrows that make up the fabric of our lives. And you have humbled me with your commitment to our country.
Eighteen million of you, from all walks of life . . . women and men, young and old, Latino and Asian, African American and Caucasian . . . rich, poor, and middle-class, gay and straight, you have stood with me. And I will continue to stand strong with you every time, every place, in every way that I can. The dreams we share are worth fighting for.
I entered this race because I have an old-fashioned conviction that public service is about helping people solve their problems and live their dreams. I've had every opportunity and blessing in my own life, and I want the same for all Americans.
And until that day comes, you'll always find me on the front lines of democracy, fighting for the future.
The way to continue our fight now, to accomplish the goals for which we stand is to take our energy, our passion, our strength, and do all we can to help elect Barack Obama, the next president of the United States.
Today, as I suspend my campaign, I congratulate him on the victory he has won and the extraordinary race he has run. I endorse him and throw my full support behind him.
And I ask all of you to join me in working as hard for Barack Obama as you have for me.
I have served in the Senate with him for four years. I have been in this campaign with him for 16 months. I have stood on the stage and gone toe-to-toe with him in 22 debates. I've had a front-row seat to his candidacy, and I have seen his strength and determination, his grace and his grit.
Now, I understand - I understand that we all know this has been a tough fight, but the Democratic Party is a family. And now it's time to restore the ties that bind us together and to come together around the ideals we share, the values we cherish, and the country we love.
We may have started on separate journeys, but today our paths have merged. And we're all heading toward the same destination, united and more ready than ever to win in November and to turn our country around, because so much is at stake.
We cannot let this moment slip away. We have come too far and accomplished too much.
Now, the journey ahead will not be easy. Some will say we can't do it, that it's too hard, we're just not up to the task. But for as long as America has existed, it has been the American way to reject can't-do claims and to choose instead to stretch the boundaries of the possible through hard work, determination, and a pioneering spirit.
It is this belief, this optimism, that Senator Obama and I share and that has inspired so many millions of our supporters to make their voices heard. So today I am standing with Senator Obama to say: "Yes, we can!"
This election is a turning-point election. And it is critical that we all understand what our choice really is. Will we go forward together, or will we stall and slip backward?
Now, think how much progress we've already made. When we first started, people everywhere asked the same questions. Could a woman really serve as commander in chief? Well, I think we answered that one.
Could an African American really be our president? And Senator Obama has answered that one.
Together, Senator Obama and I achieved milestones essential to our progress as a nation, part of our perpetual duty to form a more perfect union.
You can be so proud that, from now on, it will be unremarkable for a woman to win primary state victories . . . unremarkable to have a woman in a close race to be our nominee, unremarkable to think that a woman can be the president of the United States. And that is truly remarkable, my friends.
Although we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it's got about 18 million cracks in it . . . and the light is shining through like never before, filling us all with the hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time.
So I want to say to my supporters: When you hear people saying or think to yourself, "If only," or, "What if," I say, please, don't go there. Every moment wasted looking back keeps us from moving forward.
Life is too short, time is too precious, and the stakes are too high to dwell on what might have been. We have to work together for what still can be. And that is why I will work my heart out to make sure that Senator Obama is our next president.
And I hope and pray that all of you will join me in that effort.
This is now our time to do all that we can to make sure that, in this election, we add another Democratic president to that very small list of the last 40 years and that we take back our country and once again move with progress and commitment to the future.