First draft of Hillary Clinton’s concession speech found in her office wastebasket:
It is time. It is time for our campaign to take stock of what we have accomplished and to acknowledge the hard work of thousands of volunteers who brought us so close to the nomination. Without your tireless efforts, I could not be standing here before you today.
And it is time for healing. In the thrust and parry of electoral politics, harsh words are spoken and things are said which perhaps ought not to have been said. But it is time to put all that behind us and move on.
Most of all, it is time to come together and consolidate our gains and move forward. I know many of you are disappointed that we lost to a younger, less-experienced male. But we must not dwell on the negative. We are bigger than that.
I know some of you have been urging me to consider the vice presidential nomination. You’ve argued that this would make for a stronger ticket. You’ve said that this would still be a great victory for our campaign, that being the nation’s first Vice President would strike a blow for women everywhere.
I have listened to your pleas and I have been touched and swayed by them. You are right; we have come too far to not make our great campaign stand for something. History will judge me harshly if I do not seize this opportunity now.
Yes, it is time. It is time to acknowledge that Senator Obama has achieved a majority of the delegates needed to claim the Democratic presidential nomination, albeit a bare majority.
Nevertheless, I do not want it to be said that I unduly prolonged this already far too lengthy race by continuing to claim the real victories of most votes won, most important states won and most white, redneck male supporters.
Never let it be said that Hillary Rodham Clinton didn’t know when to quit. Never let it be said that I caused damage to the Democratic Party. But never let it be said that I ever gave up on the dream.
And so I congratulate Senator Obama on his victory and I wish him well in the future. And, yes, I will take that offer of the vice presidential nomination, just not from you Barack.
I have instead accepted John McCain’s generous offer to run with him on the Republican ticket. After all, the man is almost 72 years old and his health is questionable at best. I figure the chances are pretty good that, if we’re elected, I’ll be able to take over in the next two or three years. And then Bill can become Vice President and the dream can finally be realized.
Good night and God bless America.