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Democratic National Convention Keynote Addressby Former Texas Governor Ann Richards

July 18, 1988

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.

Buenas noches, mis amigos!

I am delighted to be here with you this evening because after listening to George Bush all these years, I figured you needed to know what a real Texas accent sounds like.

Twelve years ago, (former Rep.) Barbara (C.) Jordan, another Texas woman, made the keynote address to this convention - and two women in 160 years is about par for the course.

But, if you give us a chance, we can perform.

After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels.

I want to announce to this nation that in a little more than 100 days, the

Reagan-Meese-Deaver-Nofziger-Poindexter-North-Weinberger-Watt-Gorsuch-Lavelle-Stockman-Haig-Bork-Noriega-George Bush era will be over.

You know, tonight I feel a little like I did when I played basketball in the eighth grade. I thought I looked real cute in my uniform and then I heard a boy yell from the bleachers, "Make that basket, bird legs."

My greatest fear is that same guy is somewhere in the audience tonight and he's going to cut me down to size.

Where I grew up there really wasn't much tolerance for self-importance, people who put on airs.

I was born during the Depression in a little community just outside Waco and I grew up listening to Franklin Roosevelt on the radio.

Well, it was back then that I came to understand the small truths and hardships that bind neighbors together.

Those were real people with real problems.

And they had real dreams about getting out of the Depression.

I can remember summer nights when we'd put down what we called a Baptist pallet and we listened to the grown-ups talk.

I can still hear the sound of the dominoes clicking on the marble slab my daddy found for a tabletop.

I can still hear the laughter of the men telling jokes you weren't supposed to hear - telling about how big that old buck deer was, laughing about mama putting Clorox in the well when the frog fell in.

They talked about war and Washington and what this country needed.

They talked straight talk.

And it came from people living their lives as best they could.

We're going to tell how the cow ate the cabbage.

Source: Gifts of Speech Ann Richards

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