We need a president . . .

. . . corporate greed and political calculation have taken over our government and sold out the middle class. Washington isn't looking out for the middle class because Washington doesn't work for the middle class anymore . . . That is wrong. It doesn't say life, liberty and the pursuit of endless corporate profit in the Declaration of Independence.

America is about opportunity for you… and your families, your children. But our government is selling out their future at the command of lobbyists and their corporate clients and we have to rise up together and stop it. We have to rise up and say, no more. Not on our watch.

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We need a president who will take these powers on and fight to get you your voice back, and your government back. We need a president who is going to fight every day to make sure that all Americans can find good jobs, save for the future, and be guaranteed health care and retirement security. We need a president who is going to lift up the middle class.

That is why today, I am proposing my Middle Class Rising agenda, a comprehensive plan to help hardworking families get ahead, and make sure that all Americans have a fair shot at the American Dream.

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None of this is going to be easy. I hear all these candidates talking about how we're going to bring about the big, bold change that America needs. And I hear some people saying that they think we can sit at a table with drug companies, oil companies and insurance companies, and they will give their power away. That is a fantasy.

We have a fight in front of us. We have a fight for the future of this country. And the change we need will not happen easily. We need someone who is going to step into that arena on your behalf, someone who is ready for that fight.

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Ladies and gentlemen, I have been in this fight my whole life. From the time I was young, until when I was a lawyer. For twenty years, I walked into courtrooms representing families like yours against big corporations and their armies of lawyers. Every time, they looked at me and said, we can win. But they didn't. Because I beat them. I beat them. And I beat them again.

And I learned that it may not be easy to beat these powerful interests, but if you're right, and you're willing to stand up, you can win.

John Edwards - Ames, Iowa - December 16, 2007

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