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Our previous coverage of the dinner in Warsaw honoring Congressman Ike Skelton (D):

Honoring Congressman Ike Skelton (D) in Warsaw, Missouri

Congressman Ike Skelton (D) in Warsaw, Missouri on August 8, 2009

…I just wanted to spend a couple of minutes ’cause we’ve got a lot of speakers tonight and, and tell you a few things that are just sorta on my heart. Ya’ll know that I’m running for the Senate next year and… [applause] Thanks. And I’m doing it because I think we’re in a real turning point in our country’s history. You know, I was with the U.N. Secretary-General not too long ago and he, he spoke and he said, “You know, in Chinese the same symbol for the word ‘crises’ is the symbol the Chinese use for same word ‘opportunity’.” Isn’t that interesting? Crises and opportunity. And you know, it’s just kind of a reminder of what we’re going through right now, isn’t it? That we all know we have this crises in the economy, a crises in health care, we know we have to do something about energy independence and our national security. And yet we know this is a great opportunity as well. And you know I grew up in a place down outside of Rolla and I still manage our family cattle farm down there. And so, you know, it strikes me that we need to have folks in Washington and in government that kind of think more like every day people think…

…Well when I’m down on the farm and a fence breaks you gotta fix it. If the water gap washes out you gotta fix it. If a cow gets sick you gotta fix it. You don’t bicker, you don’t blame somebody, you don’t figure out excuses why you can’t do it, you fix it. And so to me running for the United States Senate is just about trying to figure out how to fix so many of the ills that we know have gone on for far too long. And as Secretary of State that’s the kind of approach I’ve tried to bring to the office. And it doesn’t matter if that’s about helping folks who have lost money because a big financial institution’s taken advantage of ’em and, goodness knows we’ve helped tens of thousands of people get billions of dollars back. And I’m proud of that ’cause it makes a difference in those folks’ lives. And we’ve helped small businesses by just cutting red tape and making things work better. We fixed it. And it makes a difference.

And so I know that’s what [Congressman] Ike [Skelton] does when he’s out in Washington. He sees problems, he figures out how to fix ’em. And I want to be there to be a part of that kind of sensibility that’s going on. And you know, I think, I think we don’t have enough of it. I think there are folks who have been there so long they think the lobbyists are the ones they work for.

And you know this current debate? It seems like it’s just showing up all the time. And I want to say just a little bit about history. I know Ike likes history. And it strikes me that we have this same debate going on right now that we’ve seen through the whole course of American history. If you think about it just for second, sometimes we have leaders and there’s great progress and strides that get made and other times we kind of fall backwards and almost all the time the debate is the same. It’s the debate between progress and the status quo. Isn’t it? And then the arguments that the sides use are pretty much the same, too. The arguments are hope versus fear. Have you heard any fear tactics lately? [laughter] You hear anybody, the forces of the status quo who say, “You’re gonna lose your health care. Government’s gonna take over health care. Everything is gonna to go to hell in a handbasket.” Well I gotta tell you folks it just, I shake my head when I hear these things. You know, particularly this one about government taking over health care. Now, I’m not for government taking over health care and I don’t think anybody here is. And I don’t think anybody here is talking about that. But the notion that there’s not somebody standing between me and my doctor is wrong. I’m somebody who knows about this. You all prayed for me a few years ago when I was going through my breast cancer treatments. And I had my eyes opened about the health care system. And folks I’m telling you there is somebody standing between you and your doctor right now. It’s called the insurance company. They’re making out like bandits. [applause] And it’s time we do something to change it.

So, when you hear these debates just try to step back for a second. Step back and wonder who is it that thinks the status quo is good for what’s ailing America? How is it these Republicans who all the sudden say that it’s a miracle and they want to change health care – well goodness sakes they were in charge for how many years? [laughter]  And what did they do? [voice: “Nothing.”] They didn’t do a thing. And so there are all of these issues, one right after the other we need to stand up about, we need to talk about.

And folks it is an absolute honor for me to be able to stand here before you and say I want to go represent you in the Senate. Because I want to be on the side of progress. I want to be on the side of saying, “yes we can do these things in America.” [applause] This notion that nothing can change, that we can’t figure these things out, these problems that have plagued us for so long, I just disagree with it.

And I’m running against a guy, you all know who he is [laughter], who’s been in Washington a long time. Now being in Washington a long time isn’t in and of itself a bad thing, right? ‘Cause Ike’s a great example of that. [applause] But when you go to Washington and you decide that the folks you represent are the special interests and the lobbyists and not the folks back home, then you’ve been there too long. [voices: “Yeah.”] And as I say to folks over and over again, if you’ve got somebody who’s been in charge and they’re about to drive the truck over the cliff, do you keep lettin’ ’em drive? [laughter] You don’t keep lettin’ ’em drive. You change the driver, you do something different and you decide that we can make a change in direction. And so that’s what this election, I think, is really all about….