Clinton Concession Speech Live Blog (UPDATED CONTINUOUSLY)

It’s 12:00 Eastern time, and the Senator hasn’t left her house in DC’s Embassy Row. She’s due to speak any minute at the National Building Museum (which is in the neighborhood I used to live in before I moved to Virginia).

As soon as Clinton begins speaking, I’ll be live-blogging her results.

UPDATE: MSNBC is carrying footage of the Senator’s motorcade parked outside her house. Watching that reminds me of 2004, when the news networks carried footage–shot from a helicopter–of John Kerry driving to Boston’s Faneuil Hall to concede the election.

I was in college at the time, and I watched that on the televisions in our student union while coming back from an early class. It was devastating–that the campaign I poured so much of myself into had lost. In that sense, I can sympathize with Clinton supporters and how they must be feeling today–we’re all Democrats, we’ve all felt the sting of defeat. That throwback to 2004 reminds us that we’re all on the same side, that we’ve all suffered the same devastation of watching the country we love suffer at the hands of the Republicans.

Clinton still hasn’t left her home in Northwest DC; as soon as she does, I’ll have more for you.

UPDATE II: 12:26 PM EST:

The Clinton motorcade is going down Massachusetts Avenue and should reach the National Building Museum soon.

UPDATE III: 12:39 PM EST:

MSNBC is reporting that Clinton has arrived at the National Building Museum and will begin speaking soon.

UPDATE IV: 12:43 PM EST:

Bill and Hillary have entered the hall and have been announced; they’re greeting the enthusiastic crowd before heading to the stage.

UPDATE V: 12:45 PM EST:

Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Diane Rodham are all standing on the stage.

Now Clinton has taken the podium and is thanking the crowd.

It begins:

Well, this isn’t exactly the party I planned, but I sure like the company.

And I want to start today by saying how grateful I am to all of you, to everyone who poured your hearts and hopes into this campaign, who drove for miles and lined the streets, who scrimped and saved to raise money, who knocked on doors and made phone calls, who debated and emailed and contributed, who invested so much.

To the moms and dads who came to our events, who lifted their children on their shoulders and whispered in their ears ‘see, you can be anything you want to be.’ To the young people, like 13-year-old Ann Riddle from Ohio who had been saving for 2 years to go to Disneyworld, who used those savings to travel to PA with her mom. To all those women in their 80’s and 90’s, born before women could vote, who cast their votes for our campaign

I told you before about an 80-year-old woman who asked her daughter to bring an absentee ballot to her hospice so she could vote; she passed away, and thus her vote couldn’t count; her husband, who hadn’t voted in 20 years, cast a vote for me in her stead.

My commitment to you and the progress we seek is unyielding. You have touched me with the stories of your joys and sorrows, and you have humbled me with your commitment to your country.

UPDATE VI: 12:51 PM EST:

18 million of you, from all walks of life, have supported me. And I will continue to stand strong with you every time and place I can. The dreams we share are worth fighting for. We fought for the single mom with a daughter, for the woman who asked me ‘what will you do to make sure I have health care,’ we fought for the man in the Marine Corps t-shirt who said ‘please make sure to take care of my buddies over there, and the please make sure you take care of me.’ We fought for everyone who has felt invisible these past years.

Public service is about solving people’s problems and helping people reach their dreams. You will always find me on the front lines of democracy, fighting.

The way to continue our fight now, to accomplish the goals for which we stand, is to take our every, our passion, our strength, to help elect Barack Obama the next President of the United States [some people in the crowd are booing, most are cheering].

Today, as I suspend my campaign, I congratulate him on the victory he has won and the extraordinary race he has run. I endorse him and throw my full support behind him. [more assorted boos, mostly cheering]

I ask all of you to join me working hard for Barack Obama. I have served in the Senate with him for 4 years, I have been in this campaign with him for 16 months, I’ve been in 22 debates with him, I’ve seen his strength, determination, grace.

He has dedicated himself to ensuring the dream is realized. He has inspired so many to become involved in the democratic process and invest in their future. I started this race to making sure we had a President who put us back on the path to peace, prosperity and progress. And that’s what we’re going to do when we ensure that Barack Obama walks into the doors of the oval office on January 20, 2009.

This has been a tough fight, but the Democratic Party is a family and it’s time to come together around the ideals we share, the values we cherish and the country we love. Today, our paths have merged, and we’re heading to the same destination–united and more ready than ever to turn our country around. So much is at stake. We want an economy that lifts all people and ensures our prosperity is shared. We all want health care that is universal, high-quality and affordable. I will fight until every single American is ensured, no exceptions & no exclusions.

We all want an America defined by deep and meaningful equality, from civil rights to labor rights, from women’s rights to gay rights, from ending discrimination to promoting unionization. We all want to restore America’s standing in the world, to end the war in Iraq, to join with our allies to fight poverty, genocide, global warming, etc.

I have been involved in politics for nearly four decades, and our country has voted ten times for President. Democrats won only three of those times, and the man who won two of those elections is with us today. We made tremendous progress in the ’90’s–just think how much more progress we could have made in the past 40 years if we had a Democratic President, think of all the progress we could have made in the past 7 years. Imagine how much we could have achieved if we just had a Democrat in the White House; we cannot let this moment slip away. WE have come too far and accomplished too much.

Some will say we can’t do it, but as long as America has existed, it has been the American way to reject ‘can’t do’ claims. It has been this belief, this optimism that Senator Obama and I share, and that has inspired millions of our supporters to make their voices heard. Today I am standing with Senator Obama to say ‘Yes We Can,’ and that together we will work–we’ll have to work heard–to achieve universal healthcare. But the day we live in an America where nobody goes without health insurance will be the day we live in a stronger America, which is why we have to elect Barack Obama president.

We will have to work hard, but the day we live in an America where the a middle class is thriving again, we will live in a stronger America, which is why we must help elect Barack Obama our President . We’ll have to wok hard to foster the innovations that will make us energy independent, but in the day we live in an America fueled by alternative energy we will live in a stronger America and that is why we must help elect Barack Obama our President. We will have to work hard to bring our troops home, but the day we live in an America where we are as loyal t our troops as they have been to us, we will live in a stronger America and that is why we must help elect Barack Obama our President.

This election is a turning point. It is critical that we all understand what our choice really is. Will we go forward together, or will we stall and slip backwards? Think of how much progress we’ve made. When we got started, people asked ‘can a woman really serve as commander-in-chief?’ Well, I think we answered that one. And ‘could an African-American really be our President?’ and Barack Obama has answered that one. Together, Senator Obama and I Achieved milestones essential to our progress as a nation, part of our duty to form a more perfect union.

When I was asked what it means to be a woman running for President, I said I was proud to be a woman but I was running because I thought I would make the best President. Like millions of women, I know there are barriers and biases out there, often unconscious. I want to build an America that embraces the potential of all of us. I ran as a daughter who benefited from opportunities my mother never dreamed of. I ran as a mother worries about my daughter’s future. We must make sure women and men alike understand the struggles of their grandmothers and their mothers, and that women enjoy equal opportunities, equal pay and equal respect.

There are no acceptable limits and there are no acceptable biases. From now on, it will be unremarkable for a woman to win primary state victories, unremarkable to have a woman in a close race to be our nominee, unremarkable to think a woman can be President of the United States, and that is truly remarkable.

To those who are disappointed that we couldn’t go all the way, especially the young people, it would break my heart if, in falling short of my goal, I in any way discouraged any of you from following yours. Work hard, and when you stumble, keep faith, and when you’re knocked down get right back up and never listen to anyone who says you can’t or shouldn’t go on. As we gather here today, in this historic, magnificent building, the 50th woman to leave this earth is orbiting overhead. IF we can blast 50 women into space, we can someday launch a woman into the White House.

And though we haven’t shattered that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you it has 18 million cracks in it, and the light is shining through like never before, filling us with the hope that the path will be easier next time. Think of the suffragists, the abolitionists, the civil rights heroes and foot soldiers, who worked and gave their lives to make progress. Because of them, I grew up taking for granted that women could vote, and because of them my daughter took for granted that children of all colors could go to school together.

Because of them and you, children of all colors can grow up taking for granted that women and African Americans can run for President. When a woman becomes President, all of you will know that, because of your passion and hard work, you have helped pave the way for that day. When you hear people say ‘if only’ or ‘what if,’ don’t go there–every moment spent looking backwards keeps us from moving forward.

Life is too short, time is too precious, the stakes are too high to dwell on what might have been. We have to work together for what still can be, and that’s why I will work to ensure Barack Obama will become our next President, and I hope and pray all of you will join me.

Thank you to my supporters, my family, my friends, and to my extraordinary staff and volunteers, thank you for working those long, hard hours for dropping everything, leaving work or school, traveling to places you never been, and thanks to your families because your sacrifice was theirs too. All of you were there for me every step of the way. We’re here for each other–none of us go it alone. The changes we seek are changes we can only accomplish together. Our rights are individual, but our lives, freedoms and happiness are best advanced when we work together, as we join forces with Senator Obama and his campaign. We will make history, we sill stand united for the values we hold dear, the vision of progress we share, and there’s nothing more American than that.

The challenges we faced in the campaign were nothing compared to the challenged millions of Americans face every day. So I will count my blessings and go back to do what I was doing long before the cameras showed up–working to make sure everyone has the opportunities I did, the chance to reach their potential.

I will do it with nothing but optimism and confidence for the days ahead. This is now our time, to do all that we can to make sure that, n this election, we add another Democratic President to that very small list of the past 40 years and that we take back our country and once again move toward the future. Thank you, God bless you and God bless America.

End.

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