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Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D), who had a hand in organizing the United Autoworkers Rally, spoke throughout the Sunday afternoon event, at times acting as a master of ceremonies, at other times using the pulpit to contribute his insights and educate those in attendance.

Our previous coverage:

Governor Jay Nixon (D) at the UAW “Save Our Jobs Rally” in Kansas City on February 8

UAW “Save Our Jobs Rally” in Kansas City

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver:…These are some difficult times. In times like these you always discover who your friends are. At times like these you find out who is in fact for you and who is neutral and neutrality is opposition.

And the good news about this coming together of working men and working women, the coming together of people who created the middle class for the United States of America, is that we have a leader, thank God, [applause] we have a leader [applause] in the state of Missouri who does not back away from, in fact he comes in to close proximity to, and sides with the working men and women of the State of Missouri. And there are states that cannot have such a rally with a governor. There are states where men and women must gather without the strong support of the top of their state government, but not Missouri…

…We in Missouri have been fortunate that we have placed in the governor’s mansion somebody who understands the pain and aches of everyday men and women. Somebody who comes to grips with the fact that this economy is bad but it will get better only if you get better. It will not get better if Wall Street gets better, it will get better if you get better. [voice: “Yeah!”] [applause] It will not get better if parties get better. [applause]…

…[auto workers] in the United States are making too much money? They need to make what they make in Germany or Japan? [applause] [cheers] It’s a working class thing. It’s a working class thing. [applause] It’s a working class thing. They don’t want to see people, every day people, earn enough money to take care of their families and retire. No, it’s not enough money. This is the United States of America and we ought not to be tryin’ to race backward to catch backward with people from Japan. [applause] [cheers] This is the United States of America. [cheers] [applause] And that’s why, that’s why you have all your elected official here….We come here because we know that on the 17th people will start trying to beat up on the [auto] industry again, so that we won’t make money available, so that recovery is possible.

In 1979 Chrysler went into intensive care. People began to write the eulogy for the Chrysler company. They organized a choir…[laughter] to sing “Amazing Grace” at the funeral service for Chrysler. The Chrysler people came before Congress and they said, “Give us a chance.”  And Congress said, “We will, but you got poor management.” They hired a man named Lee Iacoca who came in, turned Chrysler around. Congress gave a four billion dollar grant, stock warrants. Four billion dollars. Chrysler paid back four billion dollars and then paid eight hundred million dollars in interest. They turned it around. That’s what Americans can do. [voice: “Yeah.”]

And that’s why my friend Congressman Moore and I are in the committee. To make sure that when people come in to forget you, somebody’s gonna say something. I’m glad [cheers] [applause] …I’m gonna tell you something. I hope you, uh, don’t, don’t ever forget this as long as you live. Out of all the members of Congress elected in the entire State of Kansas there was only one person who voted for you. Only one member of Congress. Not senators, Not House of Representatives members. One person voted for you. I’m glad he’s my friend. Dennis Moore. {cheers] [applause]…

…Friends, there’s a man by the name of Lee Raymond. Lee Raymond. He retired from Exxon-Mobile. With four hundred million dollars. I didn’t make a mistake and say four hundred and then forty million. He had a retirement package of four hundred million dollars. Enough money for the retirement of everybody in this gymnasium. [voice: “Yeah.”] [cheers] [applause] And we cannot allow that. Look, my daddy is eighty seven years old. I thank God he’s eighty seven years old. He, and a lot of these men and women you see here retired? They built this country. [applause] [cheers] They deserve the opportunity [applause] [cheers] to live in their sunset years without worrying about whether or not they can buy groceries. [applause][cheers] Retirees in the United States of America deserve… [applause][cheers] Built this country. [applause][cheers]….

….And every time somebody loses a hou…a job, eventually, they’re going to lose a house.  And when they lose a house, the city loses revenue. Every time the city loses revenue, a neighborhood goes into decline. Every time a neighborhood goes into decline, the housing values drop. Every time the housing values drop, the economy falters. Everything is connected. we’re all connected in this country. we may not have come over here on the same, uh, ship, but we’re the same boat. [laughter] And so we need to understand that we must stick together. [applause] There are more of us than them. [cheers] There are way more of us than them. I’ll show you what I’m talkin’ about. Name all your millionaire friends. [laughter] Who, who hang out at your house. [laughter] Name them. You get the point? There are more of us than them.

This is our country as well. This is their country [pointing to retirees]. They worked to build this nation. They deserve to live their years of, non working years, in a way that’s comfortable. This is the United States. And we got to convince a lot of people in Washington, that’s why we’re here today. That we cannot save the nation without saving the automobile industry. It’s impossible. We can’t do it.

And I’m glad that you are here today because this sends a signal in case people were becoming lulled into believing that, uh, you know, everybody was accepting their fate and we were not, uh, going to do anything about it, This turns this around…