"Power to the People"
Presidential hopeful, Mike Gravel this morning gave his speech at the Democratic National Committee's Winter Meeting. This DNC meeting is considered crucial for any candidate seeking the Democratic nomination.
While he is a long shot for the nomination, Gravel gave an impassioned and eloquent speech to the meeting about his claim for the job.
The audience had a good proportion of Gravel supporters, waving their placards for their man from Alaska. Gravel also brought Granny D from New Hampshire "his greatest supporter" to the meeting, and he admitted that she provided him with some tips for his speech today.
Gravel made his case early on the question of his age - he said that Washington needs adult supervision. And the way he spoke, he didn't sound like a man who had been out of the Senate for nearly 3 decades.
He spoke about the failures of President Bush in Iraq, saying that nations fail when leaders fail their people and Bush had failed America.
But further on Iraq, Gravel made the point that it was the Democrats who held the Congress when they voted for America to go to war in October 2002.
In a stinging rebuke to those who voted for the war at the time, Gravel said that anyone who did so is not qualified to hold the office of President. Using the defense of not being told the truth, or an argument that the war has been botched is not good enough.
Politics as usual is not acceptable for the Presidency. Gravel said that the next President must have political integrity and moral judgement.
Gravel related his role in ending the draft during the Vietnam war. Again, in contrast to other leading contenders like Hillary Clinton, Gravel said that the troops should be brought home now from Iraq. Not in 6 months, now.
He said that the "mealy mouth" non binding resolutions were not good enough, there needed to be a constitutional confrontation with the President. Congress had the power to send the troops to war, they should now have the power to end the war.
Gravel also tackled the issues of health care, energy and immigration, but also said that most of the problems that America faces are not domestic, but global in nature.
He also said that America is a nation that is being ruled by fear; of immigrants, races and religion, gays and lesbians, communism, terrorism - and these issues are being used to manipulate us all.
Who in the world are we afraid of, he asked.
Gravel finished off by arguing for his national initiative, for real people to become lawmakers through voter participation.
Watch the speech here.