2000 DNC Speech
Los Angeles CA, AUGUST 16, 2000
Karenna Gore Schiff
I guess there is no doubt about who I'll be voting for in November. But I know that I would be supporting my dad for president, even if he hadn't raised, fed, clothed, taught and loved me, and even if he hadn't accepted more late-night collect calls from me than I'd every like to admit. But he did do those things and much, much more. So I want to take a few moments to talk about my father as a father. His own father's family were small farmers, trying to plant big dreams in rocky soil.
My grandmother's family worked hard, too. During the Depression, her father went from owning a country store to working as a night watchman.
My dad learned from childhood about the dignity working people have. My grandparents taught my dad that it is right to treat every woman and man with equal respect; to call them sir or ma'am; to do your physical labor, and clean up your own mess.
I see a lot of my grandfather in my father. He believes in taking the hard road when that's the road that will take us to higher ground. And I think his old-fashioned politeness is refreshing in today's world.
When my dad was a congressman, he listed our number in the phone book in Carthage so the people he worked for could always reach him. During my summers on the farm, I would answer the phone and it would often be a constituent who needed help getting his veteran's benefits or finding the right health care. I was taught to run, not walk, to get my dad so that people wouldn't be kept waiting for a moment.
My dad has always been there for us, too, whether it was the breakfast he made for us every morning before school -- toast
with lots of butter -- or the way he told my two sisters and me as well as our brother that we could be whatever we wanted to be in life.
One time, he came home after a long day of hearings and meetings and votes and found me struggling to begin that all-important elementary school assignment, the dinosaur diorama. He was tired, but while my mom was getting the others to brush their teeth and get in bed, my dad was the one who took me down to the store to get the emergency Q-Tips, colored Play-Doh and construction paper because he was simply being a dad.
Now that my husband, Drew, and I have a baby boy of our own, I often think about those times, about the little things Dad did and the way that he always put us first.
A long time ago, after a big snowfall, Dad and Mom taught us to build an igloo. We piled the snow high, poured water on it so it would freeze, and dug out the center. My friend Eliza (ph) and I decided to sleep in it, so we put on about 10 layers of cloths, the final ones being my dad's sweat suits. Even though he'd just returned from a full day of open meetings in Tennessee, he stayed up to check on us and brought us hot chocolate out there under the stars.
It won't surprise any of you parents out there to know that we ended up waddling back inside, our lips blue from the cold, but he welcomed us back like adventurers from the North Pole and gave us warm hugs and fresh blankets.
He never laughed at our big plans. He always believed in us with his whole heart.
One of his favorite sayings is, "The truth shall set you free." OK, so sometimes he was referring to whether or not I had stayed out past my curfew, but what it really means to him is that each human soul is precious, and it is in striving to give everyone a chance that we liberate what is pure and honest in ourselves.
Dad is a man of faith in the most gutsy, practical sense. He wants to see goodness prevail.
I'm not asking you to support Al Gore because he's my father, or even because he's been a great dad for his kids. What really matters is what he will do for all our kids.
On November 7, America must decide, will all children get health care or won't they? My dad wants to win the fight for affordable health care.
We must decide. Will struggling single mothers get a fair paycheck so they can care for their kids? My dad wants to win the fight for an equal day's pay for an equal day's work.
We must decide. Will we keep America green and growing? My dad wants to stand up to the big polluters and win the fight for the environment.
There's something else we must decide this November. It's about every woman's control over her own body and her own life.
I believe in every woman's right to choose, and I know my father will always, always defend it.
I hope, for the sake of our country and our future, that my father is elected president. But I want you to know, to me he's already won, for he's been the most wonderful father in the whole world.
And it gives me great joy and pride tonight to second the nomination of my father, Al Gore, for president of the United States.