For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 31, 2004
President's Remarks in Cambridge, Ohio
Cambridge City Park
Don Coss Field
2:16 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much. Thanks for coming out today. Thanks for inviting me to Cambridge, it's an honor to be here. (Applause.) I always feel comfortable being in the middle of a ball diamond. (Applause.) I appreciate so many taking time out of your Saturday to come by and say hello, and to welcome us on what we call the Heart and Soul of America tour. (Applause.)
There seems to be a difference of opinion about the heart and soul. I'm running against a fellow who thinks you can find the heart and soul in Hollywood.
THE AUDIENCE: Booo!
THE PRESIDENT: No, I know where you find the heart and soul of America, right here in places like Cambridge, Ohio. (Applause.)
Thanks for coming out. I'm here to ask for the vote. (Applause.) I'm ready to lead for four more years, and I want your help. (Applause.)
THE AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE PRESIDENT: I'm glad to be amongst my fellow Republicans, discerning Democrats and wise independents. (Applause.) I'd like to ask you to volunteer to register voters. See, we have a duty in this country to vote. We have a duty in a land of free to exercise our individual choices in the ballot box. So please register your neighbors to vote. Make sure you tell them after they register to vote, and when you get them heading toward the polls, why don't you nudge them our way? (Applause.)
Thanks for coming. My regret is that Laura isn't with me today.
THE AUDIENCE: Awww!
THE PRESIDENT: I know. That's usually the reaction. (Applause.) I'm really proud of her. She's a great lady. (Applause.) Today, I'm going to give you some reasons why I think you need to put me back in office, but perhaps the most important reason of all is so that Laura can be First Lady for four more years. (Applause.)
I'm running with a really good man. I know he's not the prettiest face on the ticket. (Laughter.) But I didn't pick him for that reason. I picked him because he's solid. I picked him because he's got good advice and great experience. I picked him because he's a good man. I'm proud to be running with Dick Cheney. (Applause.)
I'm proud to be traveling on this bus with Governor Bob Taft. Thank you for coming, Governor. (Applause.) Senator Mike DeWine, and his wife, Fran. (Applause.) By the way, Voinovich was with me a little earlier -- you need to put him back into office, he's a great United States senator. (Applause.) He's a good man. He's a good man.
I appreciate Congressman Bob Ney being with us today. Congressman, I'm proud you're here. (Applause.) Mr. Mayor -- I appreciate the mayor coming, Mayor Sam is with us today. I'm honored you're here, Mayor. (Applause.) Thank you, Mayor. I was walking by, he said, you get a chance, put in a good word for me. He said he's going to fill the potholes. I said, all right. (Applause.)
I want to thank all the other state and local officials. I appreciate the chairman of the party, Bob Bennett. I want to thank all the grassroots activists who are here. (Applause.) Those are the people who are putting up the signs and manning the phones and getting your neighbors to show up to the polls on Election Day and I want to thank you for your hard work, I really do. My job is to set the vision, your job is to get the people to the polls. And, together, we're going to win Ohio and win the nation. (Applause.)
Everybody running for office, every incumbent who asks for the vote has got to answer the question: Why? Why are you running again? Why should the American people give me the high privilege, the great privilege of serving as your President for four more years? Let me tell you something. We've been through a lot together, and we have done a lot. We've accomplished a great deal. But there's only one reason to look backward at the record, and that is to determine who best to lead the nation forward. (Applause.)
I'm asking for your vote because there's a lot at stake, and there's more to do to move our country forward. (Applause.) I want to be your President and I'll work hard to be your President and to keep your confidence to make this country safer, to make the economy stronger, and to make our future brighter and better for every single citizen. I'm ready to lead the country for four more years. (Applause.)
THE AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE PRESIDENT: Listen, we've got more to do. We've got more work to do to make sure our public schools are the center of excellence so no child is left behind in America. (Applause.) When we came to office three-and-a-half years ago, too many of the children were just being shuffled through, grade to grade, year after year, without learning the basics. So we confronted the status quo. We're challenging what I call the soft bigotry of low expectations. We're raising the bar. We expect better results. We're insisting on accountability, we're empowering parents, and we're making sure that local folks are in charge of the public schools. (Applause.)
And, today, children across America are showing real progress when it comes to learning to read and math. When it comes to improving our schools, we're turning the corner, and we're not turning back. (Applause.)
There's more to do, this world of ours is changing. The jobs of the future will require greater knowledge and a higher level of skill. And so we must reform our high schools to make sure a high school diploma means something. (Applause.) We will expand math and education so our youngsters can compete in a high-tech world. We will expand the use of the Internet to bring high-level training to classrooms all across America with four years -- with four more years. We will help raise a generation of young Americans to have confidence and the skills necessary to realize the American promise. (Applause.)
We've got more to do to make quality health care available and affordable. (Applause.) When we came to office, too many of our older Americans could not afford prescription drugs, and Medicare didn't pay for them. You might remember the old debates of Medicare -- there was promise after promise, but nothing was ever done. We got it done. (Applause.)
More than 4 million seniors have signed up for drug discount cards that provide real savings. And beginning in 2006, all seniors on Medicare will be able to choose a plan that suits their needs and gives them coverage for prescription drugs. (Applause.)
Listen, we've expanded community health centers so low income Americans can get health care. We've created health savings accounts, so families can save, tax free, for their own health care needs. And when it comes to giving Americans more choices about their health care and making health care more affordable, we're turning the corner, and we're not turning back. (Applause.)
Most Americans get their health care coverage through their work. I understand that. Most of today's new jobs are created by small businesses. Many small businesses cannot afford to provide health coverage. We must deal with that. To help more American families get health insurance, small employers must be allowed to join together to purchase insurance at discounts available for big companies. (Applause.)
To make sure the health care system is available and affordable, we must limit the frivolous lawsuits that raise health care costs. (Applause.) They not only raise your costs, but they drive the good doctors of Ohio out of business. (Applause.) Listen, we'll harness technology to reduce costs and prevent costly errors. We will expand research to find new cures for terrible diseases. In all we do to improve health care in America, we'll make sure the health decisions are made by doctors and patients, not by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. (Applause.)
Listen, we've got more to do to make this country's economy stronger. We've come through a lot together. Think about what we've been through. We've been through a recession. We've been through attacks. We've been through a stock market decline. And we've been through corporate scandals. But we've overcome all these obstacles. We've overcome them together. I'll tell you why: we've got the greatest workers in the world in America; we've got the most productive, greatest workers in this country. (Applause.)
We're overcoming these obstacles because we've got great farmers and ranchers. (Applause.) We're overcoming these obstacles because the entrepreneurial spirit of America is strong. The small business sector of our economy is vibrant and alive. (Applause.)
And we've overcome these obstacles because of well-timed tax cuts. (Applause.) Listen, we didn't pick winners or losers when it came to tax relief. We had a fair attitude, I think, that says if you pay taxes, you ought to get relief. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: And so families with children got relief. (Applause.) People who are married got relief. (Applause.) Small business owners got relief. (Applause.) And this time, the check really was in the mail. (Laughter and applause.)
Because we acted, our economy since last summer has grown at a rate as fast as any in nearly 20 years. (Applause.) Because we acted, America has added over 1.5 million new jobs since last August. (Applause.) Look, I understand there are challenges here in eastern Ohio. This part of the country has lagged behind other parts of the country. But let me tell you something, raising your taxes isn't going to create jobs. (Applause.) Isolating America from the rest of the world isn't going to create new jobs. Voting against energy policy isn't going to create new jobs. (Applause.) We will not rest until every America [sic] who wants to find a job, has one. That's the policy of the Bush administration. (Applause.)
There's more work to do to make sure this country is job-friendly and our workplaces are family-friendly. To keep American jobs in America -- (applause) ?- regulations need to be fair and reasonable. To keep American jobs in America, we must end the junk and frivolous lawsuits that threaten employers all across the country. (Applause.) To keep American jobs in America, we will not overspend your money and we will keep your taxes low. (Applause.) To keep American jobs in America, we need a reasonable energy policy. As you know in Cambridge, an important part of an energy strategy is clean coal technology. (Applause.) Our budget for next year provides $447 million to encourage this vital technology. I'll tell you why. In order for us to be less dependent on foreign sources of energy, we must use American coal. (Applause.)
We have a difference of opinion on this. My opponent said -- he called coal a dirty energy source.
THE AUDIENCE: Booo!
THE PRESIDENT: He opposed my energy plan, which promoted clean coal technology and alternative sources of fuel. The other night in Boston, he said he wants America finally and forever independent of Mid-East oil. Listen, I share that goal and I know how to achieve it. To make sure we're independent, to make sure we're not dependent on foreign sources of energy, we must be wise about how we use America's energy sources, including coal. (Applause.)
We'll offer America's workers a lifetime of learning, and to help them get training for the jobs of the future at our community colleges. Listen, to make sure American jobs stay here, we must be wise and educate people for the jobs of the 21st century.
When it comes to keeping jobs in America, we must not isolate ourselves from the world. I know people around here are worried about trade. Let me tell you my view of trade. I believe we can compete with anybody, anytime, anywhere, so long as the rules are fair. (Applause.) I believe -- and my job is to make sure the rules are fair, holding countries to account that mistreat American manufacturers, holding countries to account that do not let their currency float, holding countries to account that close their markets. No, to keep jobs in America, you need a President who won't isolate us in the world, a President who's confident in the American worker, the American entrepreneur, the American manufacturer, and insists that foreign countries treat us just the way we treat them. (Applause.)
We'll help American families keep something they never have enough of, and that is time, time to be with your kids, time to go to Little League games or Girl Scout meetings, time to take care of the elderly, time to improve themselves by going back to class. Congress needs to join me in supporting what we call comp-time, and flex-time, to help American families better juggle the demands of work and home. (Applause.)
After four more years, there will be better paying jobs in America. There will be more jobs in America. Our farmers will be better off, and the small business sector will be alive and well. (Applause.)
Listen, we've got more to do to wage and win the war on terror. America's future depends on our willingness to lead in the world. If America shows uncertainty and weakness in this decade, the world will drift toward tragedy. That's not going to happen on my watch. (Applause.)
The world changed on that terrible morning in September. And since then, we have changed the world. We've done the hard work and we're headed to peace. Before September the 11th, Afghanistan served as the home base of al Qaeda, which trained and deployed thousands of killers to set up terror cells in dozens of countries, including our own. Because we acted, Afghanistan is a rising democracy. (Applause.) Because we acted, many young girls now go to school for the first time.
Let me tell you something, what happened yesterday in Cleveland. I went to the International Children's Games. I was able to see a young girls' soccer team from Afghanistan on American soil. (Applause.) Because we acted, the people are free. Because we acted, we have an ally in the war on terror in Afghanistan. Because we acted, America is safer and so is the world. (Applause.)
Before September the 11th, Pakistan was a safe transit point for terrorists. Today, they're an ally in the war on terror. Their forces are aggressively helping to round up the terrorists, and America and the world is safer. (Applause.) Before September the 11th, in Saudi Arabia, terrorists were raising money and recruiting and operating with little opposition. Today, the Saudi government has taken the fight to al Qaeda, and America and the world are safer.
Before September the 11th, Libya was spending millions to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Today, because America and our allies have sent a strong and clear message, the leader of Libya abandoned his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and America and the world are safer. (Applause.)
Before September the 11th, the tyrant of Iraq was a sworn enemy of America. He was defying the world. You might remember, he was firing weapons at American pilots who were enforcing the world's sanctions. He had pursued and used weapons of mass destruction against his own people. He harbored terrorists. He invaded his neighbors. He subsidized the families of suicide bombers. He had murdered tens of thousands of his own citizens. He was a source of great instability in a dangerous part of the world.
After September the 11th, we looked at all the threats of the world in a new light. See, the lesson of that fateful day was that we must take threats seriously, before they fully materialize. (Applause.)
And so we looked at the intelligence and saw a threat, that's what the intelligence said. The United States Congress, members of both political parties -- including my opponent -- looked at the same intelligence and came to the same conclusion, that Saddam was a threat. The United Nations Security Council looked at the intelligence and voted unanimously to demand a full accounting of Saddam's weapons, or he would face serious consequences. That's exactly what the world said. After 12 years of defiance, the dictator chose defiance again. He deceived the inspectors. So I had a choice to make: forget the lessons of September the 11th, hope for the best and trust a madman -- or take decisions to defend this country. And given that choice, I will defend America every time. (Applause.)
THE AUDIENCE: Four More Years! Four More Years! Four More Years!
THE PRESIDENT: The dictator of Iraq sits in a prison cell, and America and the world are safer. (Applause.)
We have more to do. We've more to do. We must continue to work with friends and allies around the world to aggressively pursue the terrorists and foreign fighters in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere. See, you can't talk sense to these folks. You cannot negotiate with them. You cannot hope for the best. We must engage these enemies around the world, so we do not have to face them here at home. (Applause.)
America will continue to lead the world with confidence and moral clarity. We put together a strong coalition to help us. There are nearly 40 nations involved in Afghanistan, and some 30 nations involved in Iraq. Over the next four years, we'll continue to build on our alliances and work with our friends for the cause of security and peace. But I will never turn over America's national security decisions to leaders of other countries. (Applause.)
We'll keep our commitments to help Afghanistan and Iraq become peaceful and democratic societies. These two nations are now governed by strong leaders. See, these people are committed to free societies. They understand the moms and dads of Iraq and Afghanistan want the children there -- want their children there to grow up in a peaceful world, just like moms and dads here in America do, just like Laura and I do. We want people to grow up in a peaceful society. We want them to be able to realize their dreams. The people of these countries can count on our continued help. See, when we acted to protect our own security, when we took action to do our duty to protect our own people, we also promised to help deliver them from tyranny, to restore their sovereignty, to help them get on the path to liberty. And when America gives it word, America keeps its word. (Applause.)
In these crucial times, America's commitments are kept by the men and women of our military. At bases across our country and around the world, I have had the privilege of meeting with those who defend our country and sacrifice for our security. These are fine, fine people. (Applause.)
The cause of freedom is in really good hands, and those who wear our uniform deserve all the support from our government. Last September, while our troops were in combat in both Afghanistan and Iraq, I proposed supplemental funding to support them in their missions. The legislation provided funding for body armor and vital equipment, for hazard pay, health benefits, ammunition, fuel and spare parts. In the United States Senate, only a small, what I would call out-of-the-mainstream minority of 12 senators voted against the legislation. Two of the 12 senators are my opponent and his running mate.
THE PRESIDENT: When asked about his vote, Senator Kerry said: I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it. (Laughter.) End quote. Now he's got some different explanations. He said, well, he's proud of the vote, and further, he said, the whole thing is a complicated matter. There's nothing complicated about supporting our troops in combat. (Applause.)
In the long run, our security is not guaranteed by force, alone. We must work to change the conditions that give rise to terror: poverty and hopelessness and resentment. You see, a free and peaceful Iraq and a free and peaceful Afghanistan will be powerful examples for their neighbors. Free countries don't export terror. Free countries do not stifle the dreams of their citizens. Free countries have governments which listen to the aspirations of their people. By serving the ideal of liberty, we're bringing hope to others, and that makes America more secure. And by serving the ideal of liberty, we're serving the values which make us great. We don't -- America does not believe that freedom is our gift to the world. America believes freedom is the Almighty God's gift to every man and woman in this world. (Applause.)
There are still enemies that want to do us harm. They still plot. Listen, I agree with the conclusion of the September the 11th Commission says, our homeland is safer but we're not yet safe. But we've started the hard process of reform. We've transformed -- we're transforming our defenses, and created a new Department of Homeland Security. We passed the Patriot Act to give law enforcement the new tools to track and find the terrorists. (Applause.) The mission of the FBI is now focused on preventing terror. We've integrated intelligence and law enforcement better than we ever have before. When it comes to protecting America, we're turning the corner, and we're not going back. (Applause.)
There's a lot more to do over the next four years to better secure our ports and borders and to train our great first responders, and to dramatically improve our intelligence gathering capabilities. Listen, reform isn't easy. There's a lot of entrenched interests in places like Washington, D.C. (Laughter.) Some people up there love the status quo.
It's not enough to advocate reform; you have to get it done. See, because when it comes to reforming schools to provide an excellent education for all our children, results matter. When it comes to health care reforms to give families more access and more choices, results matter. When it comes to improving our economy and creating quality jobs, results matter. When it comes to defending America and spreading freedom and peace, results matter. When it comes to electing a President, results matter. (Applause.)
THE AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE PRESIDENT: This week, the other party gathered in Boston. And they had a convention and there was a lot of clever speeches and some pretty big promises. Listen, I think my opponent has good intentions, but good intentions don't always translate into results. He's been there for 19 years in the U.S. Senate. He's had thousands of votes, but few signature achievements. During eight years on the Senate Intelligence Committee, for example, he voted to cut the intelligence budget, yet he had no record of reforming America's intelligence gathering capability. He's had no significant record on education or health care.
See, he and his running mate consistently opposed reforms that limit the power of Washington, reforms that leave more power in the hands of the people. We have a different point of view. We have a different philosophy. He spent nearly 20 years in government, in the federal government, and now he's concluded it's not big enough. That's why he's promised $2 trillion of new money. That's a lot of money, and the campaign is just getting started. (Laughter.) He hasn't told us how he's going to pay for it, though. Yes, I know, we can figure it out looking at his record. In order to pay for all that new spending, you're going to have to pay for it. But we're not going to let him.
THE AUDIENCE: No!
THE PRESIDENT: It's the wrong medicine for America. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: And the people understand, you're not raising taxes on the working people of this country. (Applause.) They share that same old Washington mind set: They'll give the orders, and you pay the bills. (Laughter.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: No way!
THE PRESIDENT: We're turning that corner, and we're not turning back. (Applause.)
This is a world of rapid change, amazing times we live in. In order to make sure the American people are able to adjust to the change, I think people need to own something. I think you need to be owning your own health care account and managing it for your purposes. I think people, younger workers -- I mean, young workers, need to have the opportunity to manage and own some of their own retirement accounts. (Applause.) I think -- I know we need to keep working for people to own their own home, own their own small business. This administration understands that when you own something, you have a vital stake in the future of our country. (Applause.)
No, this is a time of amazing change. But some things will never change: our belief in liberty, our desire for opportunity to spread throughout this country, the non-negotiable demands of human dignity. The individual values we try to live by will not change: courage and compassion, reverence and integrity. The institutions that give us direction and purpose, our families, our schools, our religious congregations; these values and institutions are fundamental to our lives. They deserve the respect of government. (Applause.)
We stand for something. We stand for institutions like marriage and family, which are the foundation of society. (Applause.) We stand for a culture of life in which every person counts and every person matters. (Applause.) We stand for judges who faithfully interpret the law, not legislate from the bench. (Applause.)
We stand for the Second Amendment, which gives every American the individual right to bear arms. (Applause.) I've got a record on that issue. It stands in stark contrast to my opponent. As a sportsman, I understand that gun ownership carries serious responsibilities. I also know that when a person commits a crime with a gun, they need to be held to account. (Applause.) Over the past three years, federal prosecutions of criminal -- of crimes committed with firearms have increased 68 percent. Our message is, law-abiding citizens should be allowed to bear and own a gun, and criminals who commit crime with guns ought to go to jail. (Applause.)
We stand for a culture of responsibility in America. This culture of this country is changing from one that has said, if it feels good, just go ahead and do it, and, if you've got a problem, blame somebody else, to a culture in which each of us understands we're responsible for the decisions we make in life. If you're fortunate enough to be a mother or a father, you're responsible for loving your child with all your heart and all your soul. (Applause.) If you're worried about the quality of the education in which you live, you're responsible for doing something about it. If you're a CEO in corporate America, you're responsible for telling the truth to your shareholders and your employees. (Applause.) And in a responsibility society, each of us is responsible for loving our neighbor, just like we'd like to be loved ourselves. (Applause.)
You know, for Americans, these years in our history will always stand apart. There are quiet times in the life of a nation when little is expected of its leaders. This isn't one of those times. This is times that requires vision and strength and determination, resolute will.
None of us will ever forget that week when one era ended and another began. On September the 14th, 2001, I stood in the ruins of the Twin Towers. It's a day I will never forget. I remember those guys in hard hats yelling at me: Whatever it takes. I remember the firefighter grabbing me by the arm and looking me in the eye, bloodshot eyes and sweat pouring, and he said: Do not let me down. This fellow -- and they all took what happened on that day personally. I know you did, as did I. I have a duty that goes on. I wake up every morning thinking about how to better protect America. I will never relent in bringing justice to the enemy. I will never relent in defending America, whatever it takes. (Applause.)
We've come through a lot. We've come through a lot together. We've done a lot of hard work together to make this country hopeful and promising. During the next four years, we'll work to spread ownership and opportunity to every corner of the country, I mean every corner. We'll pass the enduring values of our country on to another generation. We will lead the cause, lead the cause of freedom and peace. And we will prevail. (Applause.)
With your support and your prayers, I will be a leader America can count on in this world of change. Listen, four years ago whether I traveled to your great state and traveled our wonderful nation, I told our fellow citizens, if you honored me with the great responsibility of being the President, I would uphold the dignity and the honor of the office to which I was elected. If you give me four more years, with your help, with four more years, I will continue to honor that pledge. (Applause.)
Thank you for coming. May God bless you all. And may God bless our great country. Thank you all. (Applause.)
END 2:54 P.M. EDT