MY FAMILY HAS a long history in Pennsylvania, and having the chance to campaign here has meant a great deal to me. My grandfather moved to Scranton at age two. He went to work in the lace mills at age 11 and often worked six days a week until he retired. My father grew up in that working- class family, and although we lived in Chicago, his heart never left Pennsylvania. My brothers and I were christened here, and every summer, we would stay in the cottage my grandfather built on Lake Winola.
Traveling across this state today, I see that same Pennsylvania spirit my family instilled in me - that wonderful combination of resilience, patriotism and optimism. A spirit that says anything is possible when we roll up our sleeves and get to work. That is the spirit I'm bringing to my campaign, and the spirit I will bring to my presidency.
After seven years of President Bush, we know we have our work cut out for us: two wars abroad, a recession looming here at home, a health-care crisis, an energy crisis, and threats to our security ranging from extremism to terrorism to climate change to global pandemics.
Today, we need a president with the strength and knowledge to tackle these challenges starting on day one. A leader who knows how to turn our economy around and lift up our middle class. A commander-in-chief who is ready to end the war in Iraq and keep our families safe. I'm ready to be that president.
And I'm offering real solutions, not just speeches, for the problems we face. Because it's not enough to just say you're going to solve our problems; you need to know how you're going to do it.
I'm offering solutions to create an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. That means creating good jobs - jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, twenty-first century manufacturing jobs, and more - jobs that pay the bills and won't be shipped overseas.
I'm offering solutions to end our dependence on foreign oil. We had the Industrial Age and the Information Age. It's time for a new era: the Clean Energy Age. We'll invest in clean, renewable energy sources produced right here in America: biofuels, clean coal, wind energy, solar power. And we'll create at least five million new jobs along the way. We'll pay for it by taking away the billions in tax breaks that George Bush and Dick Cheney gave the oil companies.
I'm offering solutions to finally provide health care to every man, woman and child in America. Under my plan, if you have insurance you like, you keep it. Nothing changes. But if you're uninsured or underinsured,
you'll have access to the same health plan that members of Congress have. And we'll offer tax credits to make sure everyone can afford it.
I'm offering solutions to rein in the corporate special interests and strengthen the middle class. I'll end $55 billion in special breaks that President Bush gave the oil companies, drug companies and Wall Street, and give middle-class families a break instead. I've proposed $100 billion in middle-class tax cuts to help families afford health care, college and save for retirement.
Finally, I'm offering solutions to restore America's standing in the world. We will end this era of cowboy diplomacy, end the war in Iraq, and start bringing our troops home as quickly and responsibly as possible. And when our troops do come home, we will give them the care and the benefits they've earned.
Accomplishing all of this won't be easy. But if there is one thing you know about me, it's this: I don't back down from a challenge. When I say I'll stand with you, I stand with you. When I say I'll fight for you, I fight for you. And I won't give up until the job is done.
My great-grandparents came to America because they wanted to give their children opportunities they never had. America was a symbol of everything they hoped for - a place where, if you were willing to work hard, anything was possible. They found that better life in Scranton.
It is up to us to keep the promise of America for the next generation - to roll up our sleeves and start solving our toughest problems again. That is exactly what I'll do as president. *