Hillary Rodham Clinton

Voter Registration Event in Charlotte, NC - Sep. 8, 2016

Hillary Rodham Clinton
September 08, 2016— Charlotte, North Carolina
Voter Registration Event
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Hello! Whoa, it is so great to be here. Thank you all so much. And I was backstage listening to Jordan Polk's story, and it was just so powerful and moving, and her ability to stand up here, talk about her personal family experience, coming out of Katrina, staying strong, moving forward, being a student here at Johnson C. Smith University. I am so excited.

I want to thank her and I want to thank Dr. Carter. Thank you for welcoming us here. You have welcomed two Clintons in the last year. There's something about this place that has attracted both my husband and myself. I apologize for being late. We had a disabled airplane on the runway that had to get moved. It took a lot longer than expected. But I've been looking forward to joining all of you here in Charlotte.

I want to recognize and thank your mayor, Mayor Jennifer Roberts. There you are. Thank you, Mayor Roberts. I want to thank Trevor Fuller, chair of the Mecklenburg County Commission. I want to acknowledge Josh Stein, candidate for attorney general. And to all of you gathered here today.

It is 61 days until the election. And I think it's so appropriate to be here in the great state of North Carolina—at a really well-renowned H—you know what I'm saying?—HBCU, historically black college and university. That, like so many others, has played such an important role in our country's history, producing some of America's finest leaders. And I am very proud. I was just doing a phone call on the way here with a lot of my young organizers on college campuses across our country, and I got a question from a young woman at another historical black college and university—Fayetteville. And I told her that I have a plan to help all of you afford to go to college. I have a plan to help all of you with student debt to pay it down and pay it off. And I have a special plan of a $25 billion fund specifically aimed at supporting HBCUs. Because we need a lot of opportunities for young people from everywhere. It shouldn't matter what you look like, where you're from, or who you love. You deserve to be in college if that is your choice.

So right now we're up and running, we're organizing across America, and as Jordan said, this election has such high stakes, but the highest stakes are for young people. Young people across America. This election is going to determine in so many ways what kind of futures you will have. I don't say that lightly. Everybody always says every election is important, and I happen to believe that. I think it's one of the great gifts of our democracy that we have the opportunity to choose our leaders. And people—brave people—going back for so many years have fought to preserve that right. And that right is under attack right now, and it is under attack in North Carolina, of all places, a state that often set the standard for moving everybody into the future, and I admired that so much—emphasis on education from literally preschool through college; emphasis on research; emphasis on job creation and innovation. And now North Carolina, under the current governor and legislature, has been trying to restrict people's right to vote. Well, you know it. North Carolina voters, though, won an important victory when a federal court just struck down this state's voter ID law. And the federal court brought back more days of what's called one-stop early voting. And here's what the court said—this is not me talking. This is what the federal court said. The court said the North Carolina law was designed to target African American "with almost surgical precision."

Now, that's not just happening in North Carolina, unfortunately. It's happening across America. And courts have been overturning restrictions that make it harder not just for African Americans but low-income people, Latinos, young people. One of the provisions in the North Carolina law was to make it really hard to vote where you go to school. So this has been a concerted effort to undermine the right to vote, even to make it hard for people with disabilities to cast ballots. Well, what's the best way to repudiate that kind of underhanded, mean-spirited effort to deprive people of their votes? Get out and vote and make it clear we're not putting up with that.

These laws are a blast from the Jim Crow past, and they have no place in 21st century America. We should be doing everything we can to make it easier to vote, not harder. That's why if I'm elected president, I will work to expand early voting. We will enact universal voter registration so every young person in every state is automatically registered to vote when you turn 18. And we will repair the damage done to the Voting Rights Act and take on discrimination in all forms.

Now, HB2 is another example of trying discriminate against people that doesn't have any place in our modern society. You've seen this firsthand in North Carolina. Discrimination is not only wrong, it's bad for business. The NBA, you know, cancelled the game. PayPal cancelled bringing, I think, 400 jobs. Others are not coming to this beautiful state because they don't want to be associated with the discriminatory, bigoted policies of your governor and legislature. Now, one thing you can do about that is change your governor in November. And while you're at it, change one of your Senators. We're going to need reinforcements up in Washington. We got a big agenda.

And people say to me, well, what is it you're going to try to get done? Well, I'll show you real easy. We just published a book. Right? Tim Kaine and I put this book out. It's called "Stronger Together." It's not very long. Not a hard read. But we have this old-fashioned idea that if we're asking you to support us for president, we ought to tell you what we're going to do. Not just bluster. Not just empty words. Not just demagogic rhetoric. Real plans that will improve your lives, make our country safer and better. So you could pick this up.

We're going to build an economy that works for everybody, not just those at the top. Sounds like a good idea. We're going to make the biggest investment in good-paying jobs since World War II—infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, clean energy jobs. We're going to make the economy fairer, raise the national minimum wage, get people who work full-time out of poverty. And we are finally going to guarantee equal pay for women's work. It is long overdue.

Did any of you see any of the Democratic convention? Well, I don't know. You might have missed one of my favorite sets of speakers. We had these two young people from Kansas, 17 years old, young man, young woman. I'd read this, and I said, let's contact these young people and find out their story. Here's their story. Seventeen. Had the same summer job. Knew each other, working in a pizza restaurant. And they were pretty excited. I remember when I got my first real job, not babysitting but actually showing up at a job and having to do it.

And so one day, after they finished work, they were talking, and the young woman said, "I think, making $8 an hour, I should be able to at least save something for college." And the young man, a friend of hers, said, "Well, I'm making $8.15 an hour." And she said, "Well, why are you making 15 cents more an hour than I am? Neither of us had any experience to do this job. We're the same age." He said, "Well, I don't know. That doesn't sound right. Maybe there was a mistake." So they go to the manager. They tell the manager. And the manager fired them both. And you know what? That's legal. If you find out you're not being paid the same for doing the same job, you can be fired. So this is not some made-up problem. And this would raise family incomes. And if you have a mother, a wife, a daughter, or a sister who's working, it's your issue. So we're going to get that done as well.

And like I said, we're going to make college affordable for everybody, pay down debt. But we're going to do something else. I think it was a mistake when we got rid of all vocational education in high school. It needed to be improved, don't get me wrong. It wasn't training people for the jobs that were out in the marketplace any more. But we got rid of all of it. We need technical education in high school. We need more apprenticeship programs where young people can learn and earn at the same time. And we're going to go back to emphasizing that in high school, community colleges, apprenticeship programs, creative ideas like coding camps. We're going to have 1.4 million jobs in 2020 for people who have computer science skills, and we're going to only, if we continue on our present path, only have 400,000 Americans prepared to do those jobs. I want those jobs to be American jobs. So we're going to help train people of all ages to be able to do those jobs.

We are also going to defend quality affordable health care for everybody, but we're going to get the costs down. We're going to get the costs of prescription drugs down for sure. And we're going to emphasize two things that we have fallen short on, mental health and addiction services. People I've met here in North Carolina and across America talk to me about that all the time. So again, we've got our ideas in here. We want you to engage with us, give us your ideas. This needs to be an ongoing conversation. We want you to hold us accountable when we're in that White House trying to do all of this.

But we also have to keep America safe. And we have to lead the world with steadiness and strength. One of the biggest differences in this campaign is Donald Trump basically says, "I alone can fix it," we have it is. Think of who that leaves out. That leaves out our troops on the front line. It leaves out our police and fire responders to emergencies. It leaves out our teachers, our educators who are working to help young people. It leaves out everybody. "I alone can fix it"? I was raised to believe that we're in this together, and together we can fix it. And that is exactly what we're going to do.

That's why Tim Kaine and I are running a campaign of issues, not insults. Donald Trump has a different approach. He wants to build an economy that works even better for himself, starting with a $4 billion tax cut for his own family. He's built a career on stiffing workers, mom and pop contractors, small businesses that did jobs for him and the he refused to pay them. I take this very personally. My father was a small businessman. That's how he provided a good middle class living for us.

He printed drapery fabrics. He would get the fabric and roll it out on these big long tables, and you'd take a silkscreen and you'd put it down. You'd dump the paint in. You'd take the squeegee. You'd go across. You'd lift it up. You'd go down to the end of one table, start on the other end of the other table. And you'd do it until the job was done. Sometimes I was there helping him. And then he would load the fabric into his car and he would deliver it. I tell you what, I am so grateful he never had a contract with Donald Trump's businesses.

In fact, I just ran across a story in Las Vegas when I was there a few weeks ago of a small drapery business who got what they thought was the greatest contract ever for Trump's new hotel in Las Vegas. They delivered the goods, and they were refused payment, for no reason other than it's a game to him. Everything is a game. It's like he's living in his own celebrity reality TV program. You know what, Donald? This is real reality. This is real people. This is real decisions that have to be made for our country.

He actually stood on a debate stage and said wages are too high in America. Now, he's got some new advisors. He's had a bunch of advisors. He's got some new advisors. And they're all trying to make him look more presidential. Sound more serious. It's not working too well. But remember what Maya Angelou, who spent the last years of her life right here in this state at Wake Forest, reminded all of us. I think about it often. I was so privileged to know her. When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

You know, stronger together also means working with our true allies and partners around the world, and last night I offered some thought about ISIS, Iran, how we're going to reform the VA system to take better care of our vets. And just since last night, when I appeared on that program back-to-back with Trump, just in the last 24 hours, more retired generals and admirals have signed up to support my campaign.

People who have sacrificed and spent their lives protecting our country, valuing what makes us exceptional and already great, see Donald Trump and know he should not be anywhere near the White House. He is temperamentally unfit to be president and commander-in-chief.

Now, tomorrow I will hold a meeting of bipartisan, bipartisan which is what I want to get us back to where Republicans and Democrats work together to make the changes to protect our country. I'm going to be meeting with a bipartisan group of leaders and experts to focus more on these crucial challenges, but it's hard to forget what Trump did last night. It was a test and he failed it. He trash-talked about America's generals saying that they've been quote "reduced to rubble." He suggested he would fire them all and hand-pick his own generals since he knows so much about what it takes to be a general.

He attacked dozens of former flag officers. At the same time, and here's what I want you to really hear, because even I was shocked by this and I didn't know much could shock me coming out of his mouth anymore, he praised Russia's strongman Vladimir Putin, even taking the astonishing step of suggesting he prefers the Russian president to our American president. That is not just unpatriotic, it's not just insulting to the office and the man who holds the office, it is scary; it is dangerous. It actually suggests he will let Putin do what Putin wants and even make excuses for him.

I said this morning—I was trying to think about what other presidents would be imagining hearing that coming out of the nominee for the Republican Party. What would Ronald Reagan say about a Republican nominee who attacks America's generals and heaps praise on Russia's president?

We've never seen anything like this. And one thing you didn't hear from him was any plan to take on ISIS, one of the biggest threats facing our country. He says his plan is still a secret. Well, the truth is he doesn't have a plan. I served on the Senate Armed Services Committee. I served as Secretary of State as you know. I respect the men and women who put their lives on the line for the country that I love and that I believe in.

So whether you're passionate about more good jobs, better education, healthcare, whether you're passionate about protecting our country and the brave men and women who serve us, you have to realize, as so many Republicans are, that this is a time to put country over party. I would be saying that even if I were not running against him. We have never been threatened as much by a single candidate running for president as we have been in this election.

As your commander-in-chief, I will not trash our country's most cherished values, I will defend them. And that is especially on my mind because this weekend is the 15th anniversary of 9/11. I was a senator serving, and I will never forget the horror of that day or the bravery of our first responders, the victims, the survivors, people I had the honor to work with and represent. It's what kept me really so passionately involved on behalf of the people that I served all during those years.

And that is what I was thinking of 10 years later in the White House Situation Room. I was part of the small group advising President Obama whether or not the intelligence we had was good enough to take a chance to go deep into Pakistan to try to finally bring Osama bin Laden to justice. It was not an easy choice by any means. These never are. That's why who sits at the head of that table in the Situation Room has to be able to sort out fact from opinion, has to be able to ask the hard questions, pursue even the most difficult leads. We went through that hour after hour after hour. And then the President went around the table asking each of us what we advised, and we were split because it was not some kind of easy layup. I believed it was strong enough that we needed to take action, and I supported taking action that would determine whether or not we were successful. That meant sending in Special Forces.

Now, you know what happened. I was in that Situation Room watching that day—the most stressful 30 minutes of my life probably because you remember one of the helicopters hit its tail on the wall going into the courtyard and became disabled. That meant—thank goodness there were good contingency plans, but you had to get another helicopter in to take out the SEALs who would no longer be able to fly out on that one. But here's what I want to tell you because it is a story that to me illustrates our values in such a clear, unambiguous way. You've heard Donald Trump say he would order our troops to torture. You've heard him say he would order our troops to kill family members of terrorists. You would know that he was advocating illegal actions against our own laws as well as the laws of war. Thank goodness there's a code of honor in our military stronger than the bluster and the bullying of Donald Trump because here is what happened on that night.

Every single second counted. That helicopter had to be blown up, but before it was—and remember the SEALs had gone in, they had taken out the two Kuwaitis, the bodyguards, they'd taken out bin Laden's son who was there, and they took out bin Laden. They had to get his body out. They had to get themselves out, but here's what they did first. They rounded up all the women and children, members of terrorist families, they took them outside as far from the helicopter as they could get them in order that they would not be hurt. That, Donald Trump, is what American honor looks like, and that is what we're going to stand up and defend in the face of your outrageous, disgraceful attacks on the men and women of our armed forces.

We're going to unify this country, my friends. We are going to bring us back together. We are going to get things done, big things. That's who we are as Americans. I can't do any of this unless you join me in this campaign. You can start by going to HillaryClinton.com or texting "join," j-o-i-n, to 47246. You can knock on doors. You can make phone calls. Register your friends to vote. Attend a house party in your neighborhood. We're going to keep asking for your help over these next two months. There is so much at stake in North Carolina and in America. No one can sit on the sidelines. The stakes are high for everyone. Join the campaign. Let's build a future where we're stronger together. Thank you.