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For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
June 26, 2004
Vice President's Remarks at Bush-Cheney '04 Rally
Sioux City, Iowa
June 25, 2004
4:02 P.M. CDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much. Thank you, Lynne, as always, for capturing the real me with your introduction. (Laughter.) It was a heck of a dress. (Laughter.) I remember it still.
It's great to be back in the state of Iowa and to visit beautiful Sioux City. I'm honored, as well, to share the stage with Dave Roederer this afternoon, he's doing a great job as our chairman. And it's a pleasure to bring good wishes to each and every one of you from the President of the United States, George W. Bush. (Applause.)
You know, I like to tell people that Lynne and I got together because of a great Republican electoral victory in 1952, when Dwight Eisenhower ran for President. In those days I was living in Lincoln, I had been born in Lincoln, just across the river. And dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service. Eisenhower got elected, he reorganized the Agriculture Department, dad got shipped to Casper, Wyoming and that's where I met Lynne, when I was 13 years old. And we went to high school together, grew up together. And come August, we'll celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. (Applause.)
I explained all of this to a group the other day, that if it hadn't been for that victory by Dwight Eisenhower, Lynne would have married somebody else. (Laughter.) And she said, right, and now he'd be Vice President of the United States. (Laughter.) It's true, there's no doubt in my mind. (Laughter.)
I'm always reminded of home when we get to this part of the country. We've had a chance to spend a lot of time in Iowa over the years. Back in Washington, I have the privilege of working with an outstanding congressional delegation from Iowa -- Chuck Grassley is one of my closest friends in the Senate; and Congressman Steve King here, from Sioux City -- they do a great job for the nation. (Applause.) The President and I are proud to be on the ballot with them this year.
The election is just a little over four months away, and there's a lot of work ahead of us. I know you've been politicking here in Iowa since at least January, and the rest of us are just catching up. It's going to be a tough race and we'll take nothing for granted, and we deeply appreciate your help. The most important thing you can do, of course, is register to vote, encourage your friends and neighbors to get out there and do the same. We're counting on you to talk to Republicans and Democrats and independents. You can also become a volunteer, obviously, for the campaign by signing up on our website. They picked a name that's easy to remember: George W. Bush dot-com. (Laughter.)
The President and I are going to work hard to earn your support, and the support of people all across this state. We know that Iowa is Bush Country. We ran hard in this state four years ago, and we came within a few thousand votes of victory. This time we're going to work even harder -- and this time, with your help, we're going to carry Iowa -- (applause.)
Every day between now and the 2nd of November, President Bush and I are going to present our record to the American people, to clarify the choices in this very important election. These are challenging times for our country -- and we are meeting every challenge with strength and resolve. Today, I think the American people can be confident of a better future, a stronger economy, and a nation that is more secure, because of the character and the leadership of our President, George W. Bush. (Applause.)
In the weeks following the terrorist attacks on America, on 9/11, people in every part of the country -- regardless of party -- took pride in the conduct and the character of our President. Since 9/11, he has led a steady, focused, and relentless campaign against the enemies who struck America and killed some 3,000 of our fellow citizens that morning. And in that effort, we will prevail. Across the world, we are fighting and winning the war on terror. Already, two-thirds of al Qaeda's known leaders have been captured or killed. And those still at large are on the run -- and their fears are well founded, because we're on their trail. (Applause.)
In Afghanistan, we removed the brutal Taliban from power and destroyed the camps where terrorists trained to kill Americans. In Iraq, America and our allies rid the Iraqi people of a murderous dictator, and rid the world of a gathering threat to our peace and security. (Applause.) Saddam Hussein once controlled the lives and the future of almost 25 million people. Today, he's in jail. (Applause.) Because we acted, he will never again brutalize the Iraqi people, never again support terrorists or pursue weapons of mass destruction, never again threaten the United States of America. (Applause.)
We still face serious challenges in those liberated countries, as we saw yesterday in the bombings in Iraq. The killers who strike police stations and government buildings are not fighting foreigners. They are fighting the Iraqi people. They are enemies of democracy and hope, and a peaceful future for Iraq. And they will not succeed. (Applause.) Next Wednesday, on the 30th of June, Iraq will again become a sovereign nation, and an emerging democracy that the United States can call a friend.
We're making progress in Afghanistan, as well. An interim government is operating, a constitution has been written; this fall, free elections will be held. And just last week, Hamid Karzai, the President of Afghanistan, came before a joint session of Congress to thank the American people for liberating his country. (Applause.)
The defeat of tyranny and violence in Afghanistan and Iraq is key to establishing democracy in the heart of the Middle East, and will be a crucial setback for international terror. Because we're strong and resolute, Iraq will never go back to the camp of tyranny and terror. And America will never go back to the false comforts of the world before 9/11. Terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength. They are invited by the perception of weakness. (Applause.) And this nation has made a decision -- this nation has made a decision: We will engage the enemy -- facing him with our military in Afghanistan and Iraq today, so we do not have to face him with armies of firefighters, police and medical personnel on the streets of our own cities. (Applause.)
This nation is extremely fortunate during these times of testing to have the dedicated service of our men and women in uniform. (Applause.) They are proving every day that when we send them to defend the nation, we are sending the very best of the United States of America. (Applause.) One of the most important commitments President Bush made during the 2000 campaign was that the armed forces would be given every resource they need and the respect they deserve -- and he has kept his word to the United States military. (Applause.)
From the beginning, America has sought -- and received -- international support for our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the war on terror, we will always seek cooperation from our allies around the world. But as the President has made very clear, there is a difference between leading a coalition of many nations and submitting to the objections of a few. The United States will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country. (Applause.)
These are not times for leaders who shift with the political winds, saying one thing one day and another the next. (Laughter.) This is the good part of the speech. (Laughter.) We need a Commander-in-Chief of clear vision and steady determination -- and that's just what we have in President George W. Bush. (Applause.)
The President's opponent, Senator Kerry, comes at things a little differently. Sometimes his position on a big issue depends on when you ask him. (Laughter.) When Congress voted to authorize force against Saddam Hussein, Senator Kerry voted "yes." This year, when it served his purpose, he described himself as an opponent of the war.
When it came time to fund our troops in Iraq, he managed to take both sides of that issue, as well. Last fall, at the President's request, Congress considered legislation providing funding for body armor and other vital support for our military, such as hazard pay, health benefits, ammunition, fuel and spare parts. The legislation passed overwhelmingly, with a vote in the Senate of 87 to 12. Senator Kerry voted "no."
THE AUDIENCE: Booo!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: He then gave one of those explanations we've all come to expect from him. He said, "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it." (Laughter.) Well, that sure clears things up. (Laughter.)
And then there was Senator Kerry's announcement that foreign leaders are supporting his campaign.
THE AUDIENCE: Great -- (laughter.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: In Pennsylvania, a voter asked the Senator directly who these foreign leaders are. Senator Kerry said, "That's none of your business." (Laughter.) But it is our business when a candidate for President claims political endorsements from abroad. This election will be decided by the American people -- not by unnamed foreign leaders. (Applause.)
There is no doubt that great events will turn on the choice we make this November. The leader who sits in the Oval Office will set the course for the war on terror, and set the direction for the American economy. Three and a half years ago, by the time the President and I took office, the economy was sliding into recession. Then, just as our economy was ready to recover, the terrorists struck and shook our economy once again.
President Bush took strong steps to get the economy moving. Working with our allies on Capitol Hill, the President signed into law major tax relief for millions of American families and businesses. (Applause.) We doubled the child tax credit, decreased the marriage penalty, cut tax rates across the board and put the death tax on the path to extinction. (Applause.)
Across the nation, the results of the President's policies are clear. The economy added 248,000 new jobs last month, alone. We've added more than 1.4 million new jobs since August, and more than 10,000 of those jobs have come here in Iowa. Our farm economy is strong -- America has had four straight years of rising farm exports, and last year we had the highest farm income on record. (Applause.) Manufacturing jobs have increased for four straight months. The home ownership rate is the highest ever. Productivity is high. Incomes and wages have been rising. Economic growth over the last year has been high -- at 4.8 percent, GDP has grown at the second highest four-quarter rate in nearly 20 years. There's a simple reason for our growing prosperity: The Bush tax relief is working. (Applause.)
Just as we expected, the American people are using their money far better than the government would have -- and Congress was right to let them keep it. (Applause.)
Senator Kerry looks at all the economic growth and the efforts of workers across America, and somehow can only find cause for pessimism. And his idea for cheering up the country? Raise our taxes. (Laughter.)
THE AUDIENCE: Booo!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: It's all right, I like it. (Laughter.) The Senator has promised to repeal most of the Bush tax cuts within his first 100 days in office.
THE AUDIENCE: Nooo!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: This isn't surprising when you consider his record. Over the years, Senator Kerry voted over 350 times for higher taxes on the American people -- including the biggest tax increase in history. That's an average of a vote for higher taxes every three weeks for 20 years. (Laughter.) At least the folks back in Massachusetts knew he was on the job. (Laughter.)
For the sake of long-term growth and job creation, we should do exactly the opposite of what Senator Kerry proposes. We should make those tax cuts permanent because they're the basis for our economic recovery. (Applause.)
Under the strong economic leadership of President Bush, this nation is going to continue moving forward with an aggressive, optimistic, pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda.
Our nation needs lawsuit abuse reform, to protect small businesses from junk lawsuits and needless regulation. (Applause.) America's entrepreneurs should be able to hire productive workers, instead of hiring lawyers.
America needs medical liability reform, as well, to control the costs of health care. (Applause.) Here in Iowa and across the nation, doctors should be able to spend their time healing patients, not fighting off frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.)
Our country also needs a comprehensive energy policy. It's time for Congress to pass the plan the President submitted three years ago -- a plan that would promote domestic energy production, increase our use of alternative fuels like ethanol and biodiesel, and make the United States less dependent on foreign source of energy. (Applause.)
And it is also time for the United States Senate to get about the business of confirming President Bush's judicial nominees. (Applause.) Far too many of the President's nominees are being forced to wait months, or even years, for a hearing or an up-or-down vote. A number are still being filibustered. That's unfair to the judicial nominees, and it's an abuse of the constitutional process. Every nominee deserves a prompt up-or-down vote. (Applause.) And that's another reason we need to send Chuck Grassley back to the United States Senate. (Applause.)
Ladies and gentlemen, on issue after issue, the choice on November 2nd is very clear. It's a choice between President Bush's optimism, and Senator Kerry's pessimism. On national security, it's a choice between President Bush's confidence and Senator Kerry's confusion. (Laughter.) On the economy, it's a choice between a President who took action and has led America to days of progress and opportunity, and a senator who would take us back to the days of malaise. That's a contest we welcome, and with your vote, that's a contest we'll win. (Applause.)
THE AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I've got another page to go here. (Laughter.)
President Bush has a clear vision for the future of the nation. Abroad, we'll use America's great power to serve great purposes -- to protect our homeland by turning back the forces of terror, and to spread hope and freedom around the world. Here at home, we'll continue building a prosperity that reaches every corner of the land.
The President and I are both honored by your confidence in us, and by your commitment to the cause we all share. We're grateful to our many friends all across Iowa. And now, together, we're going to see our cause forward to victory on November 2nd.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
END 4:22 P.M. CDT