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 Home > News & Policies > May 2002

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 1, 2002

Remarks by the President at Simon for Governor Luncheon
Santa Clara Convention Center
Santa Clara, California

2:25 P.M. PDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much. Well, thanks for that warm California welcome. It's great to be back in this majestic state, and it's great to see so many friends. I want to thank you all for coming. We're here for the same reason: It is important for California to have a new governor, and Bill Simon is that man. (Applause.)

I'm honored to have been invited here to campaign, and I really appreciate the chance to get to know Bill a little better. He flew on Air Force One from Albuquerque over to Los Angeles yesterday, and one of the best parts of the flight was I got to meet the future first lady of the state of California. (Applause.) We both married above ourselves. (Laughter.)

Many of you have gotten to know Laura. What you didn't know is that when I asked her to marry me, she was a -- didn't care for politics, didn't care for politicians. And here she is as the First Lady of the United States -- thank goodness. She's doing a fabulous job. (Applause.) I'm really proud of her, and I love her dearly. Today she couldn't be with me here in California because she's in Arkansas, talking about the need to make sure that we have early childhood education in every neighborhood, in every state, all across the country. (Applause.)

I want to thank Richard Pombo, who's here. He's a member of the United States House of Representatives from the great state of California. Richard, thank you for coming. (Applause.) I want to thank all the state and local officials who are here. I want to thank all of you all for helping this good man.

There are some people in this audience who are the grass-roots activists here in California. I want to thank you for your hard work. I want to thank you for dialing phones. I want to thank you for stuffing envelopes. I want to thank you for being foot soldiers so people like me and Bill can run and win and do our jobs. (Applause.)

In our audience today we've got a brave soul named Dorothy Garcia. Her husband was on Flight 93. His name was Andy. The reason I bring that up is that Flight 93 really in many ways epitomized the best of America. Average citizens just doing their job, who heard that America was under attack. They told their loved ones good-bye; they said a prayer; and they made the ultimate sacrifice so others could live. And for that, our nation is incredibly grateful -- grateful for the sacrifice -- (applause.) And grateful for the example that Andy and others set for future generations. Dorothy, I'm so honored you're here, and thank you for coming.

I appreciate so very much Bill and Cindy's values. They love their family, and that's good. They love their state, and they love their country.

I've been somewhat amazed about -- reading some of the clips on the way out here about what Bill's -- the supporters of Bill's opponent are saying. It kind of runs this way: He never held elective office. (Laughter.) He's only been a successful businessman. (Applause.) How could he possibly be the governor of a big and diverse state? It sounds like to me that Governor Davis is getting his advice from Ann Richards. (Laughter and applause.)

In '94, I showed up and I laid out a positive vision of where I wanted to lead my state. I rejected the old-style politics, and that's exactly what Bill Simon is going to do here in California. (Applause.)

I am proud to support this new face in American politics. I'm proud to support somebody who doesn't need to take a poll or to have a focus group to tell him what he believes. (Applause.) And I want to thank you all for joining us to effect a positive change -- not just for Republicans, but for everybody who lives in the state of California. (Applause.)

I appreciate so very much Bill's emphasis on issues that matter to everybody, starting with education. I gave a speech a little earlier here in the Silicon Valley, and I talked about the hope and promise of public education. It is so important that we get our public education right in America. The public education system in America is one of the most important foundations of our democracy. After all, it is where children from all over America learn to be responsible citizens, and learn to have the skills necessary to take advantage of our fantastic opportunistic society. And yet, we have failed in our public school system for too many children.

As Bill mentioned, I had the honor of signing historic education reform that set high standards for every child in America. Not just a few, not just people from suburban California or suburban Texas, but every single child. We believe every child can learn in America. (Applause.)

And in that bill we incorporate a uniquely Republican principle that says we trust the local people to chart the path for excellence for the citizens and children of California. I understand and Bill understands all wisdom does not reside in Washington, D.C.; that if you're interested in achieving educational excellence, we've got to trust the people of California to chart the path for educational excellence. That's why it's important this man become your governor. (Applause.)

But in this bill, as well -- and what makes it different from the past is we're now saying, if you receive any federal help -- and there's federal help, particularly for Title I students -- you'd better teach them, in return for help, you show us whether or not the children can read and write and add and subtract. You administer tests to show us and you put the tests on the Internet for everybody to see. And when we find success, we will praise success. But when we find failure, we need to challenge failure. When we find children in schools that will not teach and will not change, you better have you a governor that is willing to challenge the status quo. It is essential that we educate every child in America and that not one child be left behind. (Applause.)

I appreciate Bill's common-sense view of energy. This nation needs an energy policy. We haven't had an energy policy for a long period of time. Finally they got one bill passed out of the House, and they've got one coming out of the Senate. Now they need to get together and get the bill to my desk. And here's what it basically says.

It says, we can use technology to develop renewable sources of energy, which we will. It says we must do a better job of conserving energy, which we must. But it also says, in an environmentally friendly way, we can find more energy in our country. And that's important. It's important not only for the economic security of people looking for work; it is important for the national security of the United States of America.

We import over 50 percent of our oil from overseas, and a lot of those countries don't particularly care for us. (Applause.) And you need to have a governor who's got a vision about energy, if you expect this state to grow and if people want to find work.

And I appreciate Bill's view of taxing and the taxes and budget. I remember campaigning in the Silicon Valley, and I said, if you give me a chance I'm going to cut the -- work to cut the taxes. And thankfully, we did. And we did so right at the right time. (Applause.)

There's a difference of opinion in our political system, and that's good. It basically boils down to an understanding of whose money we're talking about when we talk about budgeting and spending money. See, Bill and I understand, when we're talking about taxpayers' money, it's not the government's money, it's the people's money. (Applause.) When you let people keep more of their own money, it is not only good for our economy, it is good to help people realize their dreams.

There are so many fantastic stories of the entrepreneurial spirit here in California. I've been impressed by some amazing statistics, like the number of Hispanic-owned small businesses. When you cut the taxes, when you reduce the tax burden, you encourage the growth of small businesses. Most small businesses are sole proprietorships, or limited partnerships. They pay taxes on the individual -- through the individual system. And by cutting tax rates we encourage entrepreneurial growth and ownership in California and in America. (Applause.)

And we need to hold the line on spending. Bill understands that in California, and we need to hold the line on spending in Washington, D.C. (Applause.) We've got a temporary deficit, and there's a reason. We had a recession and a national emergency. But the best way to make sure the deficit is small and temporary is for the United States Congress not to spend excessively. That's why the President has been given a veto.

I remember in Chicago they said to me, would you ever have deficit spending. I said, only if there was a war, or a national emergency, or a recession. Never did I realize we'd get the trifecta. (Laughter.) But this country is ready to handle -- we're ready to handle the slowdown in the economy. And I understand people are hurting here in the Silicon Valley. I've seen the statistics that the economy grew at over 5 percent in the first quarter. That's fine. We'll let the number crunchers talk about numbers like that. So long as people can't find work, I'm worried. So long as somebody who wants to work can't find a job, it's got my attention.

And so the best way to make sure our economy grows is to make our tax cuts permanent, so there's certainty in the tax cut; is to promote free and fair trade all around the world; and is to have an energy plan that makes sense for America. (Applause.)

And we're making progress on the economy, and we're making progress on making sure our homeland is more secure. Cindy asked me to tell this story, which I told last night, so I will. It is -- first of all, it's an unimaginable honor to be able to go to work in the Oval Office. It is a beautiful place. It is a powerful reminder of the greatness of our country. I treat it like a shrine. (Applause.)

My job is to take the dogs downstairs first thing in the morning. We've got kind of an early morning White House. I try to show up right before 7:00 a.m. every morning. And so Spot, who is -- not a very imaginative name, I admit it, but nevertheless -- (laughter) -- was born in the White House, by the way. She's 13 years old. She's quite familiar with the grounds. She walks out, as does Barney. Barney's the one-and-a-half-year-old terrier. Now, Barney, he doesn't get to go in the Oval Office first thing in the morning, because the rug is new. (Laughter.) But Spot and I walk in. Barney goes off with the gardeners, chasing squirrels or something.

And I sit there at this fantastic desk, called the H.M.S. Resolute. Perhaps you remember the picture of John-John Kennedy putting his head out of the door of that desk with his dad. I think his dad was making a phone call or gazing out to the beautiful South Grounds. I remember Edmund Morris, who wrote Theodore Rex, walked in to give me a copy of his book. And he said, Teddy Roosevelt used that desk. The door that John-John Kennedy put his head out of the desk is there because Franklin Roosevelt had put that door on his desk to cover his infirmities. It's been used by a lot of Presidents.

And I sit at this majestic piece of furniture and read a threat assessment every morning, that the killers still want to hurt America. It's a daily reminder that my most important job is to protect the American people. (Applause.) We're still vulnerable, because we're a huge nation, big borders. But we're less vulnerable.

You need to know that we share information like never before. Anytime we get any kind of hint, any evidence whatsoever that somebody may try to do something to America, we're reacting. We're following every single lead. We've got better coordination with our intelligence gathering and the FBI and law enforcement at home. We're buttoning up America the way you'd want us to, within the confines of the United States Constitution.

We're doing a better job of coordinating efforts with our brave police and firefighters and EMS -- they're called first responders. (Applause.) We're going to do a better job of reforming the INS so that we've got better border security in the United States. (Applause.) We've got an initiative and a strategy to deal with bioterrorism, should it come.

We're working hard, and a lot of good folks are working endless hours to protect the American citizens. But the surest way to protect America is to hunt the killers down one by one, and bring them to justice. And that is what we're going to do. (Applause.)

I have submitted a budget that makes our defense a priority, and I expect the United States Congress to pass the defense appropriations bill early, rather than late, and not play politics with defense appropriations. (Applause.) It is a big increase, because anytime we put our soldiers in harm's way, they deserve the best equipment, the best training, and the best pay possible. (Applause.)

And it's also a big increase because it is indicative of the fact that we're in this for the long pull. There is no calendar on my desk that says, by such and such a date, you will quit. There is no time frame, artificial time frame. When it comes to defending the freedom of the United States, America, we will do whatever it takes, no matter how long it takes. (Applause.)

Others may grow tired, but I'm not. I am so honored by our hard work of our Secretary of State, my national security team -- by the way, one of who is doing great, named Condoleezza Rice, came right out of this part of the world. (Applause.) Thank goodness she's there and not at Stanford. (Laughter.) Nothing wrong with Stanford, but America is better off with her leading our National Security Council.

We've got this coalition together because we said loud and clear, either you're with us or you're with the terrorists. And I meant it. I meant that. I also said that if you harbor a terrorist and feed one, you're just as guilty as the killers. And the Taliban found out exactly what the United States of America meant. (Applause.)

As we talk about this war, it's really important to remind young Americans -- and all Americans, for that matter -- that this country does not seek revenge. We seek justice; and that we've got to be proud not only of the fact that we're defending our freedoms, but we went into Afghanistan not as conquerors, but as liberators. And for the first time, many young girls were able to go to school, thanks to the United States of America. (Applause.)

You just need to know it's still a dangerous period in Afghanistan. There's still a lot of killers roaming around, and they hate America. They hate us because we're free. Then cannot stand the thought that we have freedom of religion in America; that we respect each other based upon our personal religious beliefs. They cannot stand the thought that there's honest political discourse. There's free press -- confident they hate that. They hate us. And so, wherever they try to hide, we're going to get 'em. There's no cave dark enough or deep enough from the United States of America.

We are a patient country, we are a united country, we're plenty tough when we have to be tough. You know, I can't imagine what went through their minds. They must have thought -- they must have fallen prey to this notion that America was so self-absorbed, so materialistic, so selfish, so essentially weak, that all we were going to do when they attacked was file a lawsuit. (Laughter and applause.) They found out we think differently.

Not only are we going to make sure we help secure Afghanistan, we will help rebuild Afghanistan. We not only want the world to be more secure, we want the world to be better.

The second phase of the war is to deny sanctuary and training grounds to any al Qaeda organization. And we're doing a pretty good job of that. Yemen, for example, is a country with which we work to make sure that they don't get to bunch up in Yemen and start over. In other words, by denying sanctuary, we're treating them as they need to be treated, as international criminals, cold-blooded killers. (Applause.)

But this war is more than just one person, it's more than about one organization. You see, there are regimes that -- governments, not just organizations, that can't stand what we believe in, who develop and harbor and hold some of the worst weapons in the world. And for the sake of our children, and for the sake of our children's children, and for the sake of our friends and allies, we must -- and we will -- not allow the world's most dangerous regimes to possess and threaten us and blackmail us with the world's most dangerous weapons. (Applause.)

I'm proud of our military. I'm proud of our country. We send such a strong signal to the world when we're united and resolved and determined. See, if we blink, everybody else goes to sleep. History has called us into action. History has laid the mantle of responsibility for peace squarely on our shoulders. I accept that responsibility, and so does the American people. (Applause.)

I'm an optimistic person. I truly believe that out of this evil will come some incredible good. I believe by being firm and tough and routing out terror, the world will be more peaceful. I long for peace. I want our children to grow up in a peaceful world. I want there to be hope where hope has been diminished around the world. And we must not, and we will not, let terrorism rule the world.

No, by being tough and strong and diligent, this world, thanks to the leadership of the United States of America, is going to be a more peaceful place, and I think, at home -- (applause). And I think at home, we can be a more compassionate place, as well.

People say to me, you know, Mr. President, what can I do in the war against terror? My answer is, love your neighbor like you'd like to be loved yourself. That if you want to fight evil, do some good. It doesn't take much. We talked about the ultimate sacrifice of serving something greater than yourself. But you can serve something greater than yourself by mentoring a child. You can serve something greater than yourself by feeding the homeless. You can serve something greater than yourself by just walking across the street to a shut-in and saying, I love you; is there anything I can do to make your day better? If you want to fight evil, do some good. (Applause.)

And there's all kinds of opportunities. We've got the USA Freedom Corps for old and young alike who want to volunteer. We've got a Peace Corps that we're going to expand and send around -- double the size of the Peace Corps. There's all kinds of opportunities.

In my state -- in my state -- my speech in front of the Congress, I said, why don't -- if you want to help, dedicate 4,000 hours of your life from this point forward to help a neighbor in need. And it's happening.

I truly believe out of the evil will come a new culture of personal responsibility-- one that says -- that stands in contrast, by the way, to a period of time that said, if it feels good, do it; and if you've got a problem, blame somebody else. There's a new culture that's coming around that says, I'm responsible for the decisions I make in life. I'm responsible for loving my family. I'm responsible for loving my neighbor. (Applause.)

And to make that responsibility era full, if you're running a company in America, you have responsibility to be honest and open with your shareholders and your employees, as well. (Applause.) It's happening, and it's happening in this country because the strength of America is not in the halls of our governments; the strength of this country is in the hearts and souls of incredibly decent and kind and compassionate Americans.

No, out of evil will come incredible good. The world will not only be more peaceful, but this world will show the true face -- this country will show the world the true face of America: A welcoming society; a society that says that the American dream belongs to all; a society that's willing to tackle the pockets of despair and hopelessness with love and compassion and decency. Out of the evil done on September the 11th, we will show the world the true nature of the greatest country on the face of the Earth.

I want to thank you all for coming to support this good man, and thank you for giving me the honor of being the President of the United States of America. (Applause.)

END 12:53 P.M. PDT