San Francisco, California
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Hi, everyone. Hi. Hello. (Applause.) Hi, everyone. Please have a seat. Pease have a seat.
Thank you, Dougie. (Laughter.)
I — and — I — please forgive me being so tardy this evening. You all know and — and Doug said, “I’m going to go over because I want to see — I want to see Quinn and Wayne anyway.” And so, he came over earlier and I know you guys had some time with him.
But I was at the APEC convening and it was running a little late, so — so forgive my tardiness. But thank you for waiting. And it is so good to see all of the friends. It is so good to see all the friends.
And it’s so true: So many of the people in this room have been on this journey with me since the very beginning. I was no- — joking with John Burris, like, from — before the beginning. (Laughter.) Just going way back.
So, let me just start with Quinn and Wayne. Doug said it so well. You guys do so much for so many people — people you’ve never met. You guys give of yourselves. You love our country. You are clear-eyed about its challenges, but you are always so optimistic about what we are capable of doing and what is possible. And you’ve been dear, dear, dear friends to me and to Doug and to our family. And so, I just want to say in front of all the friends: Thank you, thank you, thank you always. (Applause.)
MS. DELANEY: We love you, Madam Vice President.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I love you back, Quinn.
Madam Barbara Lee — Congresswoman Barbara Lee — (applause) — a dear friend and an extraordinary leader and a courageous leader and, in so many ways, for so many years, a conscience of our country. Thank you, Barbara. (Applause.)
Someone said Josh Be- — there you are. Hi. Josh Becker is here. (Applause.) Hi. It’s good to see you.
So, thank you all.
I’m going to keep my comments brief so we can have a discussion, because I think there’s some questions and I want to just have the opportunity to actually have a conversation with folks.
But let me start by saying this. We love our country. And that is why we keep coming back together to rededicate ourselves to the promise that we believe in based on ideals that we believe in — that we know in so many ways, for some of them, we have yet to actually fully achieve, but we know we are possible of doing as a country and as a people.
And this is probably one of the most challenging times in our country and the world. And I do believe that this election — this upcoming November, in 11 short months — is going to be fundamentally about who we are as a nation and what we stand for.
You know, I have now met with over 100 world leaders as vice president: presidents, prime ministers, chancellors, and kings. And including — and now, repeatedly, I’ve met with many several times, including just in the last couple of days.
And, you know, when we walk in those rooms representing the United States of America, we walk in those rooms chin up, shoulders back, with the self-appointed and earned authority to talk about the importance of democracies, rule of law.
And when you’re a role model, people then watch what you do to see if it matches what you say. People around the world are watching what’s happening in our country right now.
In the travels — in my travels in the last — I’d say year, for sure, but actually starting since the beginning when we first came in — the President will talk about this. It was an experience he and I had individually and together where world leaders would say to us when we said America is back — and they’d say, “Well, for how long?”
Now what I’ve started to experience in the last several months — including when I was in the UK, as Doug mentioned, last two — two weeks ago, outlining what I think should be our vision for the future of AI — I ran into a number of world leaders who I’ve now have come to know. And of the many topics for our convening during that trip, the first thing — I’m not kidding you — that each one of them — the first thing they said, “We hope you’re going to win.”
And — but out of self-interest, they raised it. Out of self-interest. Because of what they know the future of our country means and represents for the future of their countries.
When we talk about stability, when we talk about economic stability, when we talk about the ability of nations to try to come together to speak with a collective voice based on the international rules and norms and our commitment to those rules and norms.
So, all of that to say that everything I believe, everything that is foundational and fundamental to who we are and what we stand for and what we aspire to be, is at stake in this election.
And when I look around the room — and I know who’s here — I know I’m preaching to the choir and we all get it. That’s why you all are here right now and why you continue to be so selfless and generous in the way that you continue to give.
And so, there are a lot of things I can talk about about our accomplishments. And I’ll rattle off a few because, you know, for the press that’s in the room and others who — the punditry — will say, “Well, you guys are going to have a hard road.” Yeah, we are, because it’s an election for president of the United States. (Laughter.) A reelect.
Yeah, it’s going to to be hard. Yes. And we’re going to have to make our case. And we’re going to have to earn the reelect, of course. And you know what? We’ve got a lot of good material. We’ve got a lot of good material. (Applause.)
Because the folks in this room, like so many other of our friends around the country, in the height of a pandemic in 2020, where there was extraordinary loss of life — people lost their jobs, loss of normalcy — and yet, the optimism was there to say, “But we must get out there and participate and engage and organize and remind people that they matter even when all the forces were saying ‘isolate.’” But the people here said, “No, but let’s remind folks that we’re in it together.”
And because of your work in 2020, we had record turnout, record young turnout. And it was because people knew that it was possible to do those things that had not yet been done.
They knew, you knew it was possible and that we would be able to cap insulin at $35 a month for our seniors — an issue that has been a choice for so many seniors for generations in our country about whether they can afford to fill their prescription or pay their rent or buy the food they need.
Black Americans are 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes. Latinos, 70 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes. Capping insulin at $35 a month is going to be literally life-changing for so many of the people in our country.
We believed that even though there had been those who are in these fancy offices with these fancy titles who are denying the existence of the climate crisis — an existential threat to this beautiful Earth and us as a species — we believed and knew we could do it.
And because you all did what you did, and Joe Biden was elected president and I was elected vice president, we have now committed over a trillion dollars to address the climate crisis in a way that is about investing in American workers to do the work of facilitating and building up our ability around adaptation and resilience — and an investment in a clean energy economy and an investment in the workers, including building the pipeline of workers; including paying attention to gender and race in terms of who takes these jobs, who gets these contracts.
Because you all believed it was possible. And so, we got it done, because elections matter.
It’s because the people in this room understood: In the 21st century, having access and being able to afford high-speed Internet is not a luxury. It’s a basic necessity. But too many people — remember the pandemic — did not have access and could not afford it. Which meant if they are a small business, they’re missing out on an opportunity to sustain themselves, much less grow. And we know what it meant for the children of our nation in terms of substantial loss of critical phases in their education.
We are now on track to getting high-speed Internet to every family in America because of the work that you all did.
Because of the work that you all did, we responded, finally, to, in particular, the grandmothers and grandfathers, that had been talking about those lead pipes forever — talking about the fact that, “Well, hey, we may not be doctors and scientists, but we know that that water coming out of those pipes is toxic and having a direct impact on the health of our children, much less their learning ability.”
And because you all did that work and elections matter, we are on track to get rid of every lead pipe in America. (Applause.)
And these are just some of the examples, and I could go on and on. We’ve got a lot of good material.
Our challenge will be to just remind people who brung it to them. (Laughter and applause.) But, you know, when people want to talk about the polls, on and on about the polls, let me tell you: Everything we have accomplished is highly, highly popular with the American people. We just got to remind them who did it. And we all did it.
And so, that’s what we’re going to do over the next 11 months. And we are going to win. (Applause.) We’re going to win.
So, with all of that, I say then: Thank you, all. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.
We can talk a little bit more about what it means in terms of these attacks on so many of our fundamental rights, because I do believe there’s a full-on attack and an agenda to attack fundamental, hard-won, hard-fought rights and freedoms.
I started a college tour recently. Well, last — I decided to do it over the summer, and I started as soon as school started back up for — for our students. University, community college, and trade school. College-aged young people. And I named it the — the “Fight for Our Freedoms.”
And, again, when I think about what’s at stake, it is about a fight for our freedoms.
And, again, I say: Let’s be optimistic about all of this.
So, we can get into more of those topics as anyone would like, and let’s take some questions.
And with that, again, I thank you all very much. (Applause.)