Read the complete transcript of Barack Obama's speech in Asheville,North Carolina.
In 30 days you are going to elect the next president, and you need and deserve a president who is going to wake up every day and fight for you, and fight for the middle class, and fight to create jobs and grow our economy again -- not another president who doesn't get it. Not another President who ignores our problems. Not more of the same.
Senator McCain and his operatives are gambling that he can distract you with smears rather than talk to you about substance. They'd rather try to tear our campaign down than lift this country up. It's what you do when you're out of touch, out of ideas, and running out of time.
I want you to know that I'm going to keep on talking about the issues that matter - about the economy and health care and education and energy. I'm going to keep on standing up for hard working families. We're not going to let John McCain distract us from what we need to do to move this country forward.
Because November 4th, you and I are going to turn the page on the disastrous economic policies of George W. Bush and John McCain.
And one of the issues we must face and can't ignore is the explosion of health care costs that is crushing families and businesses across our country.
Understand, this is very personal to me.
I'm thinking today about my mother. She died of ovarian cancer at the age of 53. She fought valiantly, and endured the pain and chemotherapy with grace and good humor. But I'll never forget how she spent the final months of her life. At a time when she should have been focused on getting well, at a time when she should have been taking stock of her life and taking comfort in her family, she was lying in a hospital bed, fighting with her insurance company because they didn't want to cover her treatment. They claimed that her cancer was a pre-existing condition.
So I know something about the heartbreak caused by our health care system.
I know something about the anxiety of families hanging on by a thread as premiums have doubled, and debt piles up, and more than half - half - of all personal bankruptcies are caused in part by medical bills.
I know about the frustration of the nearly 40 percent of small business owners who can no longer afford to insure their employees - folks who work day and night, but have to lay people off, or shut their doors for good, because of rising health care costs.
I know the outrage we all feel about the 45 million Americans who don't have health insurance - kids who can't see a doctor when they're sick; parents cutting their pills in half and praying for the best; folks who wind up in the emergency room in the middle of the night because they've got nowhere else to turn.
But I also know that this is not who we are.
We are not a country where a young woman I met should have to work the night shift after a full day of college and still not be able to pay the medical bills for her sister who's ill. That's not right - and it's not who we are.
We are not a country where a man I met should have to file for bankruptcy after he had a stroke, because he faced nearly $200,000 in medical costs that he couldn't afford and his insurance company didn't cover. That's not right - and it's not who we are.
That is not who we are, and that is not who we have to be. Enough is enough - it's time for change.