The following is a copy of a speech, as prepared for delivery, by Caroline Kennedy at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, September 6, 2012.
It's an honor to join you tonight for the most important reason I can imagine—to make sure that Barack Obama is re-elected president of the United States.
Four years ago, I was inspired by the way Senator Obama had lived his life, fighting for jobs, giving hope to the hopeless, and working day in and day out for the America he believes in. I was inspired by Barack Obama's vision for America, an America where we look out for one another, where we take responsibility for our sisters and brothers, and most of all, for our children.
Back then, I was inspired by the promise of Barack Obama's presidency. Today, I'm inspired by his record. Over the past four years, we have had a president who has committed himself and his administration to the values that made America great—social justice, economic fairness, equal opportunity, and the belief that if each of us gives back to this country we love, and all of us work together, there is no challenge we cannot overcome.
Those are the ideals my father and my uncles fought for. Those are the ideals I believe in. And this election is about whether we will advance those ideals or let them be swept away. Like my father's election in 1960, this is one of those elections where the future of our country is at stake. And women and children have the most on the line.
The president has been a champion for women's rights. The first bill he signed was to make sure women can fight for equal pay for equal work. His commitment to women is about even more than economic rights—it's about health care, reproductive rights, and our ability to make our own decisions about ourselves, our families, and our future. When it comes to what's best for women, there is only one candidate in this race who is on our side: Barack Obama.
As a Catholic woman, I take reproductive health seriously, and today, it is under attack. This year alone, more than a dozen states have passed more than 40 restrictions on women's access to reproductive health care. That's not the kind of future I want for my daughters or your daughters. Now isn't the time to roll back the rights we were winning when my father was president. Now is the time to move this country forward.
President Obama has shown the same commitment when it comes to our children. He has put our ideals into action for the next generation—he has inspired them to get involved, he has listened to their ideas, and he has committed us all to building a better future for them. He has challenged states to raise standards for teaching and learning—and almost all of them have. He has fought for early childhood education, putting outstanding teachers in every classroom, and making college more accessible to all young dreamers.
I know Barack Obama will fight for women and children, and all Americans, because he has proven it. He has the quality my father most admired in public life: courage.
Despite critics who said it wasn't good politics, President Obama listened to my Uncle Teddy, and staked his presidency on making health care accessible to all Americans.
Despite an opponent who wanted to "let Detroit go bankrupt," this president saved the auto industry, and now it's coming back strong. He not only demonstrated the courage to oppose the war in Iraq—as president, he showed the determination to bring our troops back home.
Barack Obama is the kind of leader my father wrote about in "Profiles in Courage." He doesn't just do what's easy. He does what's hard. He does what's right. My father couldn't run for a second term. It was left to his brothers, our family and the generation they inspired to fight for the America he believed in. Now, it's up to a new generation, our children's generation, to carry America forward.
So let me say to the young—and the young at heart—Barack Obama is only president because you worked for him. Because you believed in him. Because you convinced your parents to vote for him. Young people have always led America toward a brighter future. It happened in 1960. It happened in 2008. And if you show the same spirit in this election as you did in the last, I know that we'll make history again on November 6th.