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Special Event

Gore Addresses Union Firefighters

Aired August 4, 2000 - 12:38 p.m. ET


ROGER COSSACK, CNN ANCHOR: Now we want to take you live to Chicago, where Vice President Al Gore is delivering his first campaign speech since the Republican National Convention. Mr. Gore is speaking to a group of postal workers and firefighters.

VICE PRES. AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, firefighters. Thank you, my friends. Al. Harold. Alexis Herman, our secretary of labor.


I want to thank you for the wonderful welcome you've extended to me and to Tipper and our daughter Sarah. It's great to be here. And, of course, I want to start by telling you how proud I am to share this stage with the woman I've loved with all my heart for 30 years, my wife, Tipper. I appreciate her introduction of me.


And I want to tell you how proud I am to be here with America's hard-working firefighters. We thank you for what you do every day.


Each and every day you brave ferocious flames and withering heat to protect our homes and save our lives. Americans know that, and they thank you.

Each and every day you walk through fire to keep families whole. And after the most miraculous rescues, you just turn around and do it all over again.

As a matter of fact, right now we are holding in our thoughts and prayers the many firefighters who are engaged in a pitched battle with the forest fires in the West, hoping for success and hoping for the best.

And I want you to know that my bond with America's firefighters is a deeply personal one. I know that the emotion that you expressed when we came into the room is real and strong and deep.

And I want you to know, I feel that way towards you.

Some of you know that my uncle was a firefighter, my mother's youngest brother. Many of you know that when our family home caught fire 14 years ago, you were there before I could hang up the telephone practically, it seemed like.

Actually, an oil-burning furnace exploded in the basement while we were asleep and we didn't know it. And the family dog woke up Tipper and she woke up me, and we got all the children out. And I went to call the fire department and the phone lines had already melted. So I ran across the street to a neighbor's house and called the fire department, and literally within less than two minutes, they were there on the scene.

And I was standing outside the house watching the smoke come billowing out, and was billowing out the chimney, among other places, and then all of a sudden it stopped and started going back in. And I didn't know what that meant. It looked like a special effect in a horror movie, but the firefighters knew immediately what it meant. And they went into action just instantaneously, breaking out the windows to let the air in to prevent the explosion.

And they saved practically everything. And, of course, no one was lost or injured.

And I just want you to know that I will never, ever forget the courage and commitment that I saw on display there.

And then a few years after that, when one of our family members was involved in an accident, the paramedics were on the scene just, you know, almost instantly, again. And our family is one of millions and millions that have had the experience of being helped out, rescued, saved, by firefighters.

And I just want you to know that I understand the emotion that people all over this country feel towards you.

You don't question the odds. You don't size up the risks. When lives are on the line, you bear any burden, you brave any danger, to fight for us.

Well I'm running for president because I want to fight for you.


I want to fight for your families, for your future, for the communities your protect....


I want to fight for the people, not for the powerful.

And I know that we're starting out behind. I know it's going to be a tough fight, with powerful forces lined up against us.

But you deserve a president who will work just as hard as you do. You deserve a president who will take on the toughest odds and battle the big interests to give you the future that you deserve.

I'm here today to serve notice: This is day one of the fight for working families.

And with your help, we're going to win this fight, we're going to win this election, and we're going to win the future for American families.


Join with me, and we'll win this fight.


Let's go the distance for working families.


On Tuesday -- on Tuesday, I'll be -- I appreciate that...


On Tuesday, I will be announcing my running mate in this election, but I can tell you something right now: This entire campaign I'll be running with firefighters, with the police, with working men and women all over this country.


I'll be running with the office workers and the construction workers, the factory workers. And I'll be running to bring new hope and a new vision for the future, not to restore the faded days and the rusted ways of the old guard.

Early next week, I'll start making my way to Los Angeles, the city where President John F. Kennedy was nominated, to accept your nomination for president of the United States, and I'll be talking about eight great years of prosperity and progress for America. I'll be talking about the new heights America can reach if we stay on the right track and make the right choices today.

I also want the American people to know me for who I am. I want you to know that Tipper and I have four wonderful children and that we became grandparents a year ago.

And I appreciate the shirt for my grandson, Wyatt. He was born on the Fourth of July, just a little over a year ago.

COSSACK: We have been listening to Vice President Gore, who has been speaking to union firefighters in Chicago, his first speech since the Republican convention.



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