Hillary Rodham Clinton

Al Smith Charity Dinner - Oct. 20, 2016

Hillary Rodham Clinton
October 20, 2016— New York City, New York
Al Smith Charity Dinner
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Thank you. Thank you. Your eminence, your excellencies, members of the clergy, Donald and Melania, and all the distinguished guests. Earlier tonight, Al reminded me that when the first Al Smith ran for president, he chose the progressive senator from Arkansas, Joseph G. Robinson, who is one of my husband's political heroes.

This work that you do through the dinner, Al— you have done it now for 30 years— is such a labor of love. You have been a hero for both the children of the archdiocese and for the city of New York, and I think we all owe Al Smith a great round of applause.

This is such a special event that I took a break from my rigorous nap schedule to be here.

And as you have already heard, it is a treat for all of you too, because usually I charge a lot for speeches like this. But for me, it was kind of ironic thinking about fiery populist, Al Smith.

If he were here today and saw how much money we had raised for needy, he would be very proud.

And if he saw this magnificent room full of plutocrats celebrating his legacy, he would be very confused.

It is a special honor to be here with your eminence. I know you were criticized for inviting both Donald and me here tonight. You responded by saying, "If I only sat down with those who are saints, I would be taking all my meals alone." Now, just to be clear, I think the cardinal is saying I'm not eligible for sainthood. But getting through these three debates with Donald has to count as a miracle.

So I guess I am up against the highest, hardest stained-glass ceiling. But, your eminence, you do deserve great credit for bringing together two people who have been at each other's throats, mortal enemies, bitter foes. I've got to ask, how did you get the governor and mayor here together tonight?

I've got to say, there are a lot of friendly faces in this room, people I have been privileged to know and work with. I just want to put you all in a basket of adorables. And you look so good in your tuxes, or as I refer to them, formal pantsuits.

And because this dinner is for such a great cause, Donald, if at any time you don't like what I'm saying feel free to stand up and shout, "Wrong" while I'm talking. Come to think of it, it's amazing I am up here after Donald. I did not think he would be okay with a peaceful transition of power. And, Donald, after listening to your speech, I will also enjoy listening to Mike Pence deny that you ever gave it.

I have had the privilege of being at the Al Smith dinners in years past, and I always enjoy it. But remember, if you are not happy with the way it comes out, it must be rigged. And it's always a special treat for me to be back in New York, a city which I love and I think truly embodies the best of America. Don't you think?

People look at the Statue of Liberty and see a proud symbol of our history as a nation of immigrants, a beacon of hope for people around the world. Donald looks at the Statue of Liberty and sees a 4.

Maybe a 5 if she loses the torch and tablet and changes her hair. Come to think of it, you know what would be a good number for a woman? 45.

But I digress. I will try my best tonight, but I understand I am not known for my sense of humor. That's why it did take a village to write these jokes. People say, and I hear them, they say I'm boring compared to Donald, but I'm not boring at all. In fact, I am the life of every party I attended—and I have been to three.

And when the parties get out of hand, as occasionally they do, it is important to have a responsible chaperone who can get everyone home safely—and that is why I picked Tim Kaine to be my Vice President.

You notice there is no teleprompter here tonight, which is probably smart, because maybe you saw Donald dismantle his own. Maybe it is harder when you are translating from the original Russian.

But every year, this dinner brings together a collection of sensible, committed, mainstream Republicans, or as we now like to call them, Hillary supporters.

Now, some of my critics—and I hear that, too, they think I only say what people want to hear. Tonight, that is true. And here's exactly what you want to hear. This election will be over very, very soon. And look at this dais. We've got Charlie Rose and Chris Matthews and Gayle King and Katie Couric. This counts as a press conference, right?

It is great also to see Mayor Bloomberg here. It is a shame he is not speaking tonight. I am curious to hear what a billionaire has to say. And look at the dais. We got the honorable Chuck Schumer, the honorable Andrew Cuomo, the honorable Bill de Blasio, the honorable Dave Dickens, and so many other wonderful officials.

And we have Rudy Giuliani. Many don't know this, but Rudy actually got his start as a prosecutor going after wealthy New Yorkers who avoided paying taxes. But as the saying goes, if you can't beat them, go on Fox News and call him a genius.

So as I said, we have now had our third and thankfully final debate. Sharing the stage with Donald Trump is like, well, nothing really comes to mind. There is nothing like sharing a stage with Donald Trump.

Donald wanted me drug-tested before last night's debate. And look, I've got to tell you, I am so flattered that Donald thinks I used some sort of performance enhancer. Now, actually, I did. It's called preparation.

Looking back, I had to listen to Donald for three full debates, and he says I don't have any stamina—he says I don't have any stamina. That is four and a half hours. I have now stood next to Donald Trump longer than any of his campaign managers.

Look, I have deep respect for people like Kellyanne Conway. She is working day and night for Donald, and because she is a contractor, he is probably not going to pay her.

But I think the good news is that the debates finally allowed Republicans to unite around a candidates. The bad news is it is Mike Pence. And it has been a long, long campaign. That should be one of out highest priorities, shortening the campaigns.

And whoever wins this election, the outcome will be historic. We will either have the first female president or the first president to have started a Twitter war with Cher. And if Donald does win, it will be awkward at the annual Presidents Day photo when all the former presidents gather at the White House, and not just with Bill. How is Barack going to get past the Muslim ban?

Republicans in particular seemed frustrated with their nominee. Paul Ryan told the members of the House, "You don't have to support the top of the ticket; just do what's in your best interest." So I guess Donald has really unified his party around his core philosophy.

I don't understand their unhappiness. They say Donald does not have any policies. I keep hearing that. I would like to defend him on this Donald has issues, serious issues. Really, really serious issues. And I worry about Donald's going-alone attitude. For example, at his convention when he said, "I alone can fix it." In the 1990s, I said the same about America's health care system, and it did not work out so well for me either.

Speaking of health, Donald has been very concerned about mine. He actually sent me a car to bring me here tonight. Actually, it was a hearse.

But I kind of just want to put the information out there so everybody can draw their own conclusions and you can judge our relative health. We have each released our medical records. My blood pressure is 100/70. His is unbelievably great.

My cholesterol is 189. His is "presidential." My heart rate is 72 beats per minute. Hi is "the most beats ever or the least beats ever, whichever sounds best." But Donald really is as healthy as a horse, you know, the one Vladimir Putin rides around on.

But I can say without fear of contradiction tonight, that I will be the healthiest and youngest woman ever to serve as president.

But this has been a really strange campaign. You saw it last night and tonight. Donald has attacked me for life in public service. I did not get that at first. I kind of get it now. As he told Howard Stern, he does not like it when women have been around for more than 35 years. But Donald, we have so much more in common than you realize. For example, I have tried to inspire young people by showing them that with resilience and hard work, anything is possible, and you are doing the same. A third-grade teacher told me that one of her students refused to turn in his homework because it was "under audit." And here's another similarity. The Republican National Committee is not spending a dime to help either of us.

So tonight, let's embrace the spirit of the evening. Let's come together, remember what unites us, and just rip on Ted Cruz.

I hope you enjoyed my remarks tonight. I said no to some jokes that I thought were over the line, but I suppose you can judge for yourself on WikiLeaks in the next few days.

Donald will tell us after the benediction whether he accepts the dinner is over. He has to wait and see. But there is nothing funny about the stakes in this election. In the end, what makes this dinner important are not eh jokes we tell, but the legacy we carry forward. It is often easy to forget how fat this country has come. And there are a lot of people in this room tonight who themselves, or their parents or grandparents, came here as immigrants, made a life for yourselves, took advantage of the American Dream and the greatest system that has ever been created in the history of the world, to unleash the individual talent, energy, and ambition of everyone willing to work hard. When I think about what Al Smith went through, it is important to just reflect how groundbreaking it was for him, a Catholic, to be my party's nominee for president.

Don't forget, school boards sent home letters with children saying that if Al Smith is elected president, you will not be allowed to have or read a Bible. Voters were told that he would annul Protestant marriages. I saw a story recently that he would connect a secret tunnel between Holland and America for the Pope to rule our country.

Those appeals to fear and division can cause us to treat each other as "the other". Rhetoric like that makes it harder for us to see each other, to respect each other, and listen to each other, and certainly a lot harder for us to love our neighbors as ourselves. I believe the way we treat others is the highest expression of faith and of service. I am not Catholic, I'm a Methodist, but one of the things we share is a belief that in order to achieve salvation, we need both faith and good works.

You certainly don't need to be Catholic to be inspired by the humility and hearts of the Holy Father Pope Francis, or to embrace his message. His message about rejecting a mindset of hostility. His calls to reduce inequality. His warning about climate change. His appeal that we build bridges, not walls. As you know, my running mate, Tim, is Catholic, and he went to Jesuit schools, and one of the ideas that I have talked about is the more, the better.

We need to get better at finding ways to disagree on matters of policy while agreeing on questions of decency and civility. How we talk to each other, treat each other, respect each other.

So I have taken this concept to heart in this campaign, the daily heat and back and forth of a presidential campaign, to ask how we can do more for each other and better for each other. Because I think for each of us, our greatest monument on this Earth won't be what we build, but the lives we touch. And that is ultimately what this dinner is all about. And it is why it has been such a great honor to join you all again. Thank you.