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For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
July 30, 2004
Vice President's Remarks at a Bush-Cheney '04 Rally
Jackson County Fairgrounds
Central Point, Oregon
4:50 P.M. PDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you.
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: That's all right, don't hold back. (Laughter.) Thank you all very much for being here today, and for that warm welcome to Medford, Oregon. Lynne and I were in Portland at the beginning of the week campaigning for two of your next representatives in Congress -- Goli Ameri and Jim Zupancic. (Applause.) We made a few more stops during the week in Washington, California, Utah. Tomorrow, we'll be in Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. But we enjoyed Oregon so much we decided to come back. (Applause.) And I'm glad we did because southern Oregon looks like Bush-Cheney country. (Laughter.)
Now, Lynne was pretty impressive when she was 14 years old, too. (Laughter.) It's an interesting story that, in fact, we got married because of Dwight Eisenhower. You say, what's he talking about now? Presidential elections have lasting consequences that sort of ripple through the society. But in effect what happened, in 1952, I was living in Lincoln, Nebraska with my folks. Dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service. And Eisenhower got elected. He reorganized the Agriculture Department. Dad got transferred to Casper, Wyoming. And that's where I met Lynne. We grew up together, went to high school together. And next month, we'll celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. (Applause.) But I explained to a group the other night that if it hadn't been for Dwight Eisenhower, Lynne would have married somebody else. She said, right, and now he'd be Vice President of the United States. (Laughter and applause.)
And I want to thank my good friend Al Simpson for being back on the campaign trail with us these days. (Applause.) As Al explained, we've traveled many, many miles together. And in all that time, in all those campaigns, I've never lost an election when Al has been out campaigning with me. And we're not going to lose this year. (Applause.)
It's great to see Bob Smith. (Applause.) Bob and I did a lot of damage together in the House of Representatives in years past. (Applause.) And of course, it's a special privilege to be joined by your outstanding Congressman, Greg Walden. (Applause.) I can also report, as President of the Senate -- many of you may not know this, the only real job I have in Washington is President of the Senate. When they wrote the Constitution, they created the post of Vice President, they got down to the end of the Constitutional Convention. They decided they hadn't given him anything to do, so they made him the President of the Senate. You get to preside over the Senate and cast tie-breaking votes. And, of course, my predecessor John Adams, our first Vice President, also has floor privileges. He could go down into the well of the Senate and actually debate and engage in the debate on the issues of the day, and then he did a couple of times, and they withdrew his floor privileges. (Laughter.) Never been restored. But I spend a lot of time up on Capitol Hill in the Senate, and I can report that Gordon Smith is doing great work for the entire state of Oregon. (Applause.)
As you might have heard, there was a political gathering in Boston this week.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: It's now official -- I have an opponent. (Laughter.) People keep telling me that Senator Edwards got picked for his good looks, his charm, and his great hair. (Laughter.) I say to them, "How do you think I got the job?" (Laughter and applause.)
And it's a pleasure also to bring good wishes to southern Oregon from our President, George W. Bush. (Applause.) The President and I are proud to count many Republicans, Democrats, and Independents from all across Oregon among our supporters. You're going to be hearing a lot from us over the next few months. And I know many voters in this state plan to cast their ballots by mail. And the President and I have a lot of confidence in our chances. This November, Oregon is going to lead our nationwide victory. (Applause.)
This election could not come at a more crucial time in our history. Today we face an enemy every bit as intent on destroying us as were the Axis powers in World War II, or the Soviet Union during the Cold War. This enemy, in the words of the 9/11 Commission report filed just last week is "sophisticated, patient, disciplined, and lethal." What this enemy wants, as the 9/11 report explains, is to do away with democracy, to end all rights for women, and to impose their way of life on the rest of us. And in pursuit of its goals, as we saw on the morning of 9/11, this enemy is perfectly prepared to slaughter anyone -- man, woman, or child -- to advance its cause.
This is not an enemy we can reason with, or negotiate with, or appease. This is, to put it simply, an enemy that we must vanquish. And with President George W. Bush as Commander-in-chief, that is exactly what we're going to do. (Applause.)
In the weeks following the terrorist attack, people in every part of the country, regardless of party, took pride and comfort in the conduct of our President. They saw a man calm in a crisis, comfortable with responsibility, and determined to do anything necessary to defend the American people.
Under the President's leadership, we removed the Taliban from power in Afghanistan and closed down the training camps. (Applause.) Under the President's leadership, we removed the regime of Saddam Hussein, a man who cultivated weapons of mass destruction. (Applause.) Saddam Hussein once controlled the lives and the future of nearly 25 million people. Today, he's in jail. (Applause.)
The defeat of tyranny and violence in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the rise of democracy in that troubled part of the globe will be a crucial setback for international terror. Because we have been 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 force 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. 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. President Bush will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of the United States. (Applause.)
Our nation is extremely fortunate during these times of testing to have the dedicated service of our men and women in uniform. (Applause.) The men and women defending our country represent the very best of the United States of America. (Applause.) One of the most important commitments the President and I made in the last campaign was that our armed forces would be given the resources they need and the respect they deserve, and we have kept our word to the U.S. military. (Applause.)
The President and I have some important differences with the folks you saw in Boston this week. There's one story that makes this about as clear as anything could be. It starts with Senators Kerry and Edwards voting yes when the President asked the Congress to authorize the use of force against Saddam Hussein. But then, when it came time to vote for funds that would provide our fighting men and women with body armor, ammunition, and jet fuel, and spare parts, Senators Kerry and Edwards voted no.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Only 12 members of the United States Senate opposed the funding that would provide vital resources for our troops. Only four senators voted for the use of force and against the resources our men and women in uniform needed once they were in combat. Only four. And Senators Kerry and Edwards were two of those four.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: At first Senator Kerry said that he didn't really oppose the funding. He both supported and opposed it. (Laughter.) He said, "I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it." (Laughter.) That sure clears things up. (Laughter.) But lately he's been saying he's proud that he and John Edwards voted no, and he explains that his decision was "complicated." (Laughter.) But funding American troops in combat should never be a complicated matter.
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Surround them with love. (Laughter.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! (Applause.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Funding American troops in combat should never be a complicated matter. It's simply wrong to vote to commit our troops to combat and then refuse to provide them the resources they need. We need a President who will back our troops 100 percent, and that's exactly what we've got in George W. Bush. (Applause.)
Our country requires strong and consistent leadership for our actions overseas, and the same is true for our policies here at home. When President Bush and I stood on the inaugural platform on the Capitol steps and took the oath of office, our economy was sliding toward recession. Then, on 9/11, terrorists struck our nation and shook the economy once again. We faced a basic decision -- to leave more of the hard won dollars of the American people with people for their purposes, or take those dollars for the federal government. President Bush made his choice. He proposed and delivered tax savings to the American people -- not once, not twice, but three times. (Applause.)
The Bush tax cuts have helped our national economy create jobs for 10 consecutive months. We've added more than 1.5 million new jobs since last August. Here in Oregon, more than 42,000 people have gone to work at a new job over the last year. (Applause.) Home ownership is now at an all-time high. Mortgage rates, and interest rates, and inflation are all low. Consumers are confident, businesses are investing, and families are taking home more of what they earn. (Applause.) This is a strong economy, and it's growing stronger every day. The Bush tax cuts are working. (Applause.)
These past four years have brought historic progress in other areas as well. Under the President's leadership, we passed the No Child Left Behind Act, and brought high standards, accountability, and measurable results to our public schools. (Applause.) Under the President's leadership, we passed Medicare reform, and gave senior citizens more affordable access to modern medicine and prescription drugs. (Applause.) Under the President's leadership, we passed the Healthy Forests Act, and Greg Walden was they key sponsor of that legislation. (Applause.) And under the President's leadership, we have taken unprecedented steps to protect the American people. We created the Department of Homeland Security and passed the Patriot Act to allow law enforcement experts to have a better shot at being able to prosecute terrorists. (Applause.) And just within the last week, the President signed the Project BioShield legislation that will make it easier for us to defend ourselves against a potential biological attack. (Applause.) Under the President's leadership, every American can be certain we are doing everything in our power to defend against a terrorist attack on our homeland. (Applause.)
Our accomplishments these past four years have made America safer, stronger, and better. And they also demonstrate something about the character of our President. (Applause.) He didn't go to Washington to mark time, or to spend his energy on small goals. He went to take on the big issues, and make serious reforms. He has led with confidence, with clear vision, and unwavering purpose. He's made hard choices; he's kept his word. And that's exactly how he plans to lead the country for the next four years. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: In our second term, we will keep moving forward with a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda. We will work with Congress to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Applause.) We will take action to end lawsuit abuse. It's a lot easier -- (applause) -- it's a lot easier for America's businesses to hire new workers if they don't have to keep hiring lawyers. (Applause.)
We will work for medical liability reform. America's doctors should be able to spend their time healing patients, not fighting off frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.)
In our second term, we will move forward on a comprehensive energy policy that promotes domestic production, respects the environment, modernizes our electricity grid, promotes conservation, and supports alternative sources of fuel. We will work to enact the President's plan to make the U.S. less dependent on foreign energy. (Applause.)
Our opponents have a very different vision for our country. They talk about jobs, yet they never explain how they would put a single American back to work. They opposed us on tax relief, and now they're proposing massive increases in federal spending. They helped block the energy plan in the Senate. They oppose effective reform of our legal system, and they're against medical liability reform. Their big idea for the economy: to raise our taxes.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: What we're hearing from the other side is the failed thinking of the past -- and we're not going back. (Applause.)
In our second term, President Bush will also continue to defend society's fundamental rights and values. We stand for the fair treatment of faith-based charities, so they can receive 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.)
We have a situation in the United States Senate where Democrats -- including Senators Kerry and Edwards -- are blocking the President's mainstream nominations to federal bench.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Just last week, Democrats used their filibuster to keep the Senate from voting on four of the sensible, mainstream nominees the President put forward. One of them was a man named Bill Myers, a fine man, a good friend of mine and Senator Simpson's. He has widespread bipartisan support for his personal integrity, his judicial temperament, and his legal experience. If Bill Myers had made it to the Senate floor, he has the votes to be confirmed to the Ninth Circuit, which, as you know all too well --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: -- is the circuit that decided we should not say "under God" when we pledge allegiance to the flag.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Sounds to me like the Ninth Circuit could use some new judges. (Applause.) What the Democrats are doing is outrageous, and it's time for this travesty to end. (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 and defeating 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. (Applause.)
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 Oregon. Thanks for a tremendous welcome today. We're proud to have you on the team. And together, on November 2nd, we'll see our cause forward to victory.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
END 5:14 P.M. PDT