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For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
July 17, 2004
Vice President's Remarks at a Bush-Cheney '04 Rally
Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center
July 16, 2004
4:20 P.M. CDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well. (Applause.) Thank you very much. That's a great welcome. All right. (Laughter.) Well, it's great to be back in Iowa. I was in Sioux City a few weeks back, and we've been looking forward to our return trip. As I explained to people at the time, I was born next door in Lincoln, Nebraska -- a few yeas ago. And so coming to Iowa is always a little bit like coming home.
And Lynne mentioned that we met when we were -- when I was 14 years old. We're actually en route -- after we go to Minneapolis and do an event there tomorrow morning, we're headed home to Casper, Wyoming, to celebrate our 45th high school reunion. (Applause.) Lynne was very young when she graduated. (Laughter.)
But I often tell the story about the fact that we got married because Dwight Eisenhower got elected President of the United States in 1952, because in those days, we were living in Lincoln, Nebraska. My dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service. Eisenhower got elected, reorganized the Agriculture Department, and Dad got shipped to Casper, Wyoming, where I met Lynne and we grew up together, went to high school together. We'll mark our 40th wedding anniversary next month, August. (Applause.) But I explained that to a group the other night that if it hadn't been for Eisenhower's victory, Lynne would have married somebody else. (Laughter.) And she said, right, and now he'd be Vice President of the United States. (Laughter and applause.)
I especially wanted to thank Chuck Grassley for being here today, and for his kind words. (Applause.) As Vice President, my only real job is to preside over the Senate as President of the Senate. When they wrote the Constitution, they created the post of Vice President. But then they got down to the end of the Constitutional Convention and discovered they hadn't given him any real work to do. So they made him the President of the Senate.
But that means I get to spend a lot of time up there on the Hill. I go up and have lunch every Tuesday with the Senate Republicans. And Chuck does an absolutely superb job. When you think about what we've been able to accomplish -- (applause) -- the significant tax program that President Bush has been able to advocate and put into place wouldn't have happened without Chuck Grassley. He's done a superb job for Iowa, a superb job for all of us, and I'm delighted to be on the ticket with him this year. (Applause.)
The President and I also count on your congressman, Jim Nussle. Jim does a great job for this district, as well, too. (Applause.)
The President and I are tremendously grateful for all the support we've got here in Iowa. You'll be seeing a lot of us over the next few months. And with your help, Iowa is going to be part of a great nationwide victory in November. (Applause.)
President Bush has his opponent in this campaign, and now I have mine. (Laughter.) I called Senator Edwards to welcome him to the race, and we had a very friendly chat. Somebody said to me the other day that Senator Edwards got picked for his good looks and charm. I said, "How do you think I got this job?" (Laughter and applause.)
We're looking forward to a spirited contest this year. And when you talk to your friends and neighbors about this campaign, ask them to remember all that has occurred since George W. Bush was elected President. These last three-and-a-half years have brought some serious challenges to our country. But we're meeting every one of those challenges with strength and resolve. And today, 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 leadership of our President, George W. Bush. (Applause.)
In the weeks following the terrorist attack on America, people in every part of the country, regardless of party, took pride in the conduct of our President. Since 9/11, he has led a steady, focused, relentless campaign against the enemies who struck America that morning and killed some 3,000 of our fellow citizens. With the President's leadership, we are fighting the war on terror -- and we will win the war on terror. (Applause.) Many of al Qaeda's known leaders have been captured or killed. Those still at large are on the run, and we are going to hunt them down -- one by one. (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. Saddam Hussein once controlled the lives and the future of almost 25 million people. Today, he is in jail. (Applause.) Because we acted, Afghanistan and Iraq have gone from terrorist states to free, sovereign nations, and emerging democracies.
The defeat of tyranny and violence in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the rise of democracy in a troubled part of the region -- a troubled part of the world, will be a crucial setback for international terrorism. Because we're strong and resolute, these nations 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.) 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.)
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 nation.
Our nation is extremely fortunate during these times of testing to have the dedicated service of our men and women in uniform. They are proving every day that when we send them to defend our country, we are sending the very best of the United States of America. (Applause.) One of the most important commitments that George Bush and I made during the 2000 campaign was that our armed forces would have the resources they need and the respect they deserve -- and we have kept our word to the U.S. military. (Applause.)
These are not times for leaders who shift with the political winds, saying one thing one day and another, the next and that brings to mind -- brings to mind our opponents in this campaign. (Laughter.) Senator Kerry's position on big issues often 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 critical funding for our troops -- for body armor and other vital support, such as hazard pay, ammunition, jet fuel, vehicles, and spare parts. The legislation passed overwhelmingly, with a vote in the Senate of 87 to 12, and that small group of senators voting no included Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Later Senator Kerry 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.) The second time the issue of troop funding came up, Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards signaled their own priorities by not even showing up for the vote.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I'm not going to repeat that. (Laughter.) Earlier this week, Senator Kerry told us he is proud that he and Senator Edwards voted against the funding the troops. Later he explained that his decision to oppose funding for our military personnel was complicated. Funding American troops in combat should not be a complicated choice. (Applause.) We need a President who will back our troops one hundred percent, and that's exactly what we have in George W. Bush. (Applause.)
There is no doubt that great events will turn on the outcome of this election. The leader who sits in the Oval Office -- and the men and women who represent us on Capitol Hill -- will set the course of the war on terror, and set the direction of the American economy. Strong, consistent leadership is required, both on our actions overseas and our policies here at home.
Our economy has been tested these past three-and-a-half years, and we have responded with strong, decisive action. When we took office, the stock market was declining and the economy was sliding toward recession. Then, on 9/11, terrorists struck our nation and shook our economy once again. We faced a basic decision: to leave more money with families and businesses, or to take more of your tax dollars for the federal government. President Bush made his choice. Working with our allies on Capitol Hill, like Chuck Grassley, he proposed and delivered tax relief -- not once, not twice, but three times. (Applause.)
Since President Bush took office, more than a million Iowa taxpayers have seen their federal tax burden reduced; more than 370,000 married couples here now pay lower taxes because we reduced the marriage penalty; and nearly 280,000 Iowa families now pay lower taxes because we doubled the child tax credit. (Applause.) For individuals and families, the average savings from the President's across-the-board cuts topped $1,500. You're using that money far better than we would have in Washington, and we did the right thing by letting you keep it. (Applause.)
The Bush tax cuts have helped our national economy create jobs for 10 consecutive months. We've added more than 1.5 million since last August. In Iowa, tax relief has helped to send 13,900 men and women to work in the past 11 months; and your unemployment rate is now 4.3 percent -- more than a full point below the national average. (Applause.) Our farm economy is strong. America has seen four straight years of increasing farm exports, and net cash farm income is near an all-time high. The national home ownership rate is at record highs. Incomes are rising. Productivity is high. And in the last year, our economy has grown at a rate of nearly 5 percent. The American people are proving the pessimists wrong -- the Bush tax cuts are working. (Applause.)
We recognize there are still challenges, especially in our manufacturing communities. That's why we'll keep moving forward with a comprehensive pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda. The President and I will not be satisfied until every American who wants to work can find a job. (Applause.)
We've seen the positive effects of tax relief and now the task before us is work with Congress to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Applause.)
There are a number of other items on our agenda this year.
For the good of this economy, we need to end lawsuit abuse. (Applause.) Junk and frivolous lawsuits can ruin an honest business. They put people out of work. They clog the courts, delaying justice for people with real problems. It's a lot easier for America's businesses to hire new workers if they don't have to keep hiring lawyers. (Applause.)
We need medical liability reform to control the costs of health care. 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 common-sense plan President Bush submitted three years ago, a plan that would promote domestic energy production; encourage alternative sources of fuel, such as ethanol and biodiesel; promote conservation; and make the United States less dependent on foreign sources of energy. (Applause.)
Our opponents have a different vision for our economy. They talk a lot about jobs, yet they never explain how they would put a single American back to work. They oppose effective reform of our legal system; they're against medical liability reform; and they helped block the energy plan in the U.S. Senate. Their big idea for the economy: raise our taxes.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: In fact, they would repeal many of the Bush tax cuts within their first 100 days in office.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: This isn't surprising when you consider their record. Over the years, Senator Kerry has voted over 350 times for higher taxes on the American people -- including the biggest tax increase in American history. That's an average of a vote for higher taxes every three weeks for the last 20 years.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: At least the folks back in Massachusetts knew he was on the job. (Laughter.)
Listen to the other side's proposals between now and November, and you'll see a very clear pattern. Their plans would increase the power of Washington and the bureaucracy, increase the clout of the trial lawyers, increase the size of government's claim on your paycheck, and they would not create jobs or drive economic growth. What we're hearing from the other side is the failed thinking of the past -- and we're not going back. (Applause.) Under the strong economic leadership of President Bush, this nation is going to continue moving forward for four more years. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: President Bush and I will also continue to defend our society's fundamental rights and values. We stand for the fair treatment of faith-based charities, so they can receive federal support for their good works. (Applause.) We stand for a culture of life, and we reject the brutal practice of partial birth abortion. (Applause.) We believe that our nation is one nation under God. (Applause.) And we believe that Americans ought to be able to say "under God" when they pledge allegiance to the flag. (Applause.) The founders of this great country acknowledged God in the Declaration of Independence, but we have judges now who seem to have forgotten this history.
And we also have a situation in the United States Senate where Democrats -- including Senators Kerry and Edwards -- are blocking the President's mainstream appointments to the judiciary. Senators Kerry and Edwards made sure that the Senate never got to vote on a fine man named Miguel Estrada, a man who came to this country as an immigrant from Honduras, graduated from Harvard Law School, and served as a clerk at the Supreme Court, and worked in the U.S. Justice Department. Senators Kerry and Edwards are keeping fine people like Miguel Estrada off the bench, and it is time for this travesty to end. (Applause.) That's also another reason why it's absolutely essential to send a man like Chuck Grassley back to the United States Senate. (Applause.)
On issue after issue, President Bush has a clear vision for the future of the nation. Abroad, we will 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 will continue building prosperity that reaches every corner of the land so that every child born in America has a chance to learn, to succeed, and to rise in the world.
The President and I are honored by your confidence in us, by your commitment to the cause we all share. We're grateful to our many friends across the great state of Iowa. Thanks for this tremendous welcome today. We're proud to have you on the team. And together, on November 2nd, we're going to see our cause forward to victory. (Applause.)
END 4:44 P.M. CDT