For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
November 19, 2003
Remarks by the Vice President at a Breakfast for Bush-Cheney '04
Liverpool, New York
November 17, 2003
9:33 A.M. EST
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you all very much. (Applause.) Thank you. (Applause.) Good morning, thank you. (Applause.) Well, that's a nice welcome in New York State, or any place. It's great to be joining you today and to be back here in Syracuse.
And I especially want to thank the Governor for his kind words. George has been an absolutely first-rate public servant. He's one of the finest governors the country has today, a close friend of the President's. And we couldn't ask for a greater supporter or leader to work with us on behalf, not only of New York, but the entire country. So, George, thank you very much for what you do for all of us. (Applause.)
And I'm delighted to be here as well, to share the platform with some of my former colleagues in the House, especially to be here in Jim Walsh's district, who's done an outstanding job in Washington for all of you -- along with Tom Reynolds, and -- who is, as the Governor said, a rising star in the Republican firmament in the House of Representatives, chairman of our campaign committee. And of course, Sherry Boehlert, who is the chairman of one of the crucial committees and somebody I served with in the House so many years ago.
I spent 10 years in the House as the member of Congress from Wyoming. I loved my time in the House. Of course, Wyoming only had one seat in the House of Representatives. (Laughter.) It was a small delegation, but it was quality. (Laughter.) But I loved my time there, partly because you learned to judge, sort of, congressional horse flesh. When you come from a single-member state, it's not like being from New York where you've got 25 or 30 delegates or congressmen who can work state issues -- or California or Texas. You're out there all by yourself, so you have to go out and find like-minded individuals to work with you. And you quickly learn who you can trust and who you can't. But you've got some outstanding members here in New York state, that I've worked with closely over the years. I'm delighted to call them friends and delighted to spend part of the day with them, as well, too.
And I want to thank all of you for being here this morning and for giving your support to this campaign. I'm grateful to serve the President and the nation as Vice President. And all of us are proud to be friends and supporters of our President, George W. Bush. (Applause.)
Now, we're looking forward to 2004. As the President is increasingly saying, we're loosening up for the campaign. We're very happy that we're going to accept renomination at the convention right here in New York City come next November, and carry New York, November of 2004. (Applause.)
And we know the next 11 months will be a busy time as the political season draws near. But recently we've had some indication of how the voters feel about Republican leadership around the country. We've won three out of four governors' races in the last four weeks. And on this very day, on the West Coast, Arnold Schwarzenegger will be sworn in as the new governor of California. Not bad. (Applause.)
When you add to that, Kentucky and Mississippi, two other states where we had great victories in the last 10 days and made a very good and very close run in Louisiana, I think there are bright prospects ahead. This is shaping up to be a good year for our party. And I'm confident that next year, the American people are going to reelect our President for a job well done. (Applause.)
The President and I will be proud to bring our message to voters in New York and all across America. We arrived in Washington nearly three years ago determined to solve problems, instead of simply passing them on to future generations. We were determined to seize new opportunities for reform and to get beyond some of the old debates that had stood in the way of progress for all too long.
Today, as we look ahead to the election of 2004, I believe we have a record of accomplishment to show the voters. The American people can be confident of a better future, a stronger economy, and greater security against the dangers of our new era because of the character and the leadership of our President, George W. Bush.
In the weeks following the terrorist attacks on America, people in every part of the country, regardless of party, took comfort and pride in the character and the conduct of our President. From that day to this, he has led a steady, focused, and relentless campaign against the enemies who struck America and killed 3,000 of our fellow citizens.
Not long after September 11th, one high-ranking al Qaeda official said, "This is the beginning of the end of America." It's pretty clear this terrorist didn't know what he was talking about. It's pretty clear the terrorists who attacked us did not understand the strength and the resilience of this country. And they did not understand the determination of our President.
As we stand here today, many of al Qaeda's known leaders have been captured or killed. Those still at large are living in fear -- and their fears are well founded, because we are on their trail. In Afghanistan, the Taliban regime brutalized an entire population and harbored al Qaeda -- and that regime is no more. In Iraq, a ruthless dictator, one of the bloodiest dictators of the 20th century, cultivated weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. He gave support and safe harbor to terrorists, and had a relationship with al Qaeda -- and his regime is no more.
Freedom still has enemies in Iraq. These terrorists are targeting the very success and the freedom that has been provided to the Iraqi people. Terror attacks on innocent civilians will not intimidate Americans, and will not intimidate the Iraqi people.
Iraq is now the central front in the war on terror. And we are rolling back the terrorist threat at the heart of its power in the Middle East. We are aggressively striking the terrorists in Iraq, defeating them there, so that we do not have to face them in the streets of our own cities. We're calling on other nations to help Iraqis build a free country, which will make us all more secure. We are standing with the Iraqi people as they assume more responsibilities for their own security and move toward self-government. These are not easy tasks, yet they are absolutely essential. As the President said many times, and no one should doubt it, "We will finish what we've begun, and we will win this essential victory in the war on terror." (Applause.)
In all they've done and all they continue to do, the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States have performed with enormous skill and great courage. As a former Secretary of Defense, I have never been more proud of our men and women in uniform than I am today. (Applause.)
These young Americans deserve our wholehearted support. They're playing a classic role, one that they undertook after World War II when they brought hope and help to the people of Europe and Japan. Now, in the Middle East and Central Asia, they're earning the trust of the people we've liberated.
One of the most important commitments George W. Bush and I made during the 2000 campaign was that the armed forces would be given every resource they need, and all the respect they deserve. And we've kept our word.
The long-term security of our nation, and of our friends and allies, has been a principal concern of President Bush's administration. And so has the economic well-being of our citizens. By the time we took office, the economy was sliding into recession, to get it growing again, we delivered significant tax relief for the American people. And we've done this because we believe that when families and small businesses are hurting, the best way to help them is to let them keep more of what they earn. After all, the money we spend in Washington is not the government's money -- it's the people's money.
This administration has delivered the largest tax relief since Ronald Reagan lived in the White House, and we are beginning to see strong economic growth as a result. The figures for the third quarter show the economy grew at an annual rate of 7.2 percent -- the fastest pace in nearly 20 years. Exports are expanding, business investment is rising, housing construction is booming, and jobs are being created. The Bush tax cuts are working. (Applause.)
As you know, there are a few voices in the land who want to roll back the Bush tax cuts. Sometimes I hear these voices on the evening news. (Laughter.) But, in fact, the Bush tax cuts are what brought us out of recession. They're helping to foster long-term economic growth. And the President and I will not be satisfied until every person who wants to work can find a job.
On issue after issue, from national security to economic growth and trade, to improving our public schools, President Bush has led the way in making progress for the American people.
One of the sure signs of his leadership can be seen every day in the people he's brought into government. As many of you know, I've had the privilege of serving in a number of positions, including: White House Chief of Staff, member of Congress, Secretary of Defense. But looking at the group now serving under President Bush, I can tell you this is one of the finest teams ever assembled by a President of the United States.
All of us in this administration -- and Republicans in the House and Senate -- recognize that our job is not to rest on a strong record, but to keep adding to that record. Abroad, the fundamental interest of this nation requires that we oppose threats to our freedom and security wherever they gather. Yet overcoming threats is only the beginning of America's responsibilities.
In the Middle East, we are encouraging free markets, democracy, and tolerance -- because these are the ideas and aspirations that overcome violence, and turn societies to the pursuits of peace. In that region and beyond, all who strive and sacrifice for the cause of freedom will have a friend in the United States of America.
Here at home, we have a full agenda, and some pressing business to complete, as well. After so many years of inaction, we are nearing major reform in Medicare -- reform that strengthens the system, and provides America's seniors with prescription drug coverage. We also must improve our health care system through liability reform. In New York, and all across America, doctors should be able to spend their time healing patients, instead of fighting off frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.)
Thanks to the President's leadership, the Congress is also nearing passage on a comprehensive energy plan. For the sake of our economic security and our national security, we should modernize our energy infrastructure and make this nation less dependent on foreign oil. Also on Capitol Hill, it's time for the United States Senate to get about the business of confirming President Bush's judicial nominees. (Applause.)
The President has put forward superb nominees to serve on the federal bench -- talented, experienced men and women who represent the mainstream of American law and American values. Yet, some of these nominees have been denied up-or-down votes for months or even years. Senate Democrats have taken to waging filibusters against certain nominees who don't meet their litmus test. This means that even though these nominees have a majority of senators supporting them, that is more than 50 votes, they can't get confirmed unless they get a super majority of 60 votes. This is unfair and unprecedented. It's unfair of the nominees, and it's an abuse of the constitutional process. It's time to give every nominee a prompt up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. (Applause.) I would urge both of New York's United States senators to give some help in returning fairness to the confirmation process. (Applause.)
We've achieved a great deal over the several few years. But there's a great deal left to do in Washington. And around the world, this nation has many serious responsibilities and challenges. The campaign season will come in due course, and when it does, President Bush and I will run hard and take nothing for granted. We understand the key to victory is to do the work we've been given, and to do it well. We intend to make good use of every day we have the honor of serving the American people.
Long before I entered my current job, I had the good fortune to work with other presidents that I greatly admire. As a White House staffer in the aftermath of Watergate, I watched Gerald Ford restore confidence in government by the sheer decency and force of his character. As a congressman during the decisive years of the Cold War, I saw the conviction and the moral courage of Ronald Reagan. And as a member of the Cabinet under former President Bush, I saw the ideal of public service in its purest form and came to know a leader of true honor and integrity.
Along the way, I learned a few things about the presidency, and the kind of person it takes to do that job well. It takes the finest qualities of character: conviction, personal integrity, good judgment, compassion, courage in times of testing for the nation. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly the kind of man we have in the White House today. (Applause.)
President Bush and I are both honored by your confidence in us, and by your commitment to the cause we all share. We're proud to have so many friends in Syracuse and across this great state. Your support now in November of 2003 will assure victory in November of 2004. Thank you for being here this morning. (Applause.)
END 9:46 A.M. EST