Election 2004

Zell Miller's 2001 Speech on John Kerry

"John has worked to strengthen our military, reform public education, boost the economy and protect the environment."
Georgia "Democratic" Senator Zell Miller on John Kerry at the Republican convention Wednesday night:
"For more than twenty years, on every one of the great issues of freedom and security, John Kerry has been more wrong, more weak and more wobbly than any other national figure. As a war protestor, Kerry blamed our military. As a Senator, he voted to weaken our military. And nothing shows that more sadly and more clearly than his vote this year to deny protective armor for our troops in harms way, far-away."
Editor's note: While the press is busy with oohs and aahs over Sen. Miller's fiery attacks on John Kerry's military votes in the Senate, it's important to remember that three years ago, Miller introduced Kerry at a dinner in his home state of Georgia, saying that Kerry was "an authentic national hero" who had "strengthened our military." The text of Miller's 2001 speech follows.

Democratic Party of Georgia's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner

– March 1, 2001

Zell Miller:

It is good to be back in Georgia and to be with you. I have been coming to these dinners since the 1950s, and have missed very few.

I'm proud to be Georgia's junior senator and I'm honored to serve with Max Cleland, who is as loved and respected as anyone in that body. One of our very highest priorities must be to make sure this man is re-elected in 2002 so he can continue to serve this state and nation.

I continue to be impressed with all that Governor Barnes and Lieutenant Governor Taylor and the Speaker and the General Assembly are getting done over at the Gold Dome. Georgia is fortunate to have this kind of leadership.

My job tonight is an easy one: to present to you one of this nation's authentic heroes, one of this party's best-known and greatest leaders – and a good friend.

He was once a lieutenant governor – but he didn't stay in that office 16 years, like someone else I know. It just took two years before the people of Massachusetts moved him into the United States Senate in 1984.

In his 16 years in the Senate, John Kerry has fought against government waste and worked hard to bring some accountability to Washington.

Early in his Senate career in 1986, John signed on to the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit Reduction Bill, and he fought for balanced budgets before it was considered politically correct for Democrats to do so.

John has worked to strengthen our military, reform public education, boost the economy and protect the environment. Business Week magazine named him one of the top pro-technology legislators and made him a member of its "Digital Dozen."

John was re-elected in 1990 and again in 1996 – when he defeated popular Republican Governor William Weld in the most closely watched Senate race in the country.

John is a graduate of Yale University and was a gunboat officer in the Navy. He received a Silver Star, Bronze Star and three awards of the Purple Heart for combat duty in Vietnam. He later co-founded the Vietnam Veterans of America.

He is married to Teresa Heinz and they have two daughters.

As many of you know, I have great affection – some might say an obsession – for my two Labrador retrievers, Gus and Woodrow. It turns out John is a fellow dog lover, too, and he better be. His German Shepherd, Kim, is about to have puppies. And I just want him to know... Gus and Woodrow had nothing to do with that.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Senator John Kerry.
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