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 Home > News & Policies > August 2004

For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
August 12, 2004

VP's Remarks in Dayton, Ohio
Dayton Convention Center
Dayton, Ohio

10:15 A.M. EDT


AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you all very much. Thank you for that warm welcome. And, Mike, thank you for that introduction. He does a superb job, by the way, for Dayton and Ohio as a member of the United States Congress. It's a pleasure to work with him. And I know John Boehner is here today, as well, too. You're very well represented in the U.S. Congress.

I served in the House of Representatives, as Mike pointed out. I was the congressman from Wyoming, elected to six terms. And Wyoming only had one member of the House. It was a small delegation. (Laughter.) But it was quality. (Laughter and applause.) But I became a pretty good judge of those people you can count on who make a difference in the House of Representatives, and Mike and John are two of those.

We're delighted to back in Dayton, Ohio today. And Dayton, of course, has been a proud, enterprising American city for some 200 years now. And by the looks of things today, Dayton is Bush-Cheney country. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I accept. (Laughter.) Now, I know your senators couldn't be here today. But one of my jobs as Vice President is to serve as the President of the Senate, so I get to spend a lot of time with our friends up there. And I've known Mike DeWine and George Voinovich for years, and they do a superb for the state of Ohio, and for the United States. (Applause.)

And it's my privilege today to bring greetings to everybody in Dayton from the President of the United States, George W. Bush. (Applause.) The President and I are tremendously grateful for our many supporters here in Ohio. We were proud to carry Ohio back in 2000. We're going to work hard to earn the votes of the people all over the state again this year. And come November, with your help, Ohio will be part of a nationwide victory for the Bush-Cheney team. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

THE VICE PRESIDENT: As you might have heard, there was a bit of a political gathering up in Boston a few weeks ago. (Laughter.) It's now official -- I have an opponent. (Laughter.) No, I really do. I have an opponent. People keep telling me that Senator Edwards got picked for his good looks, his charm, and his great hair. I explain to them, "How do you think I got the job?" (Laughter and applause.)

Now, we are in the midst of an extraordinarily important election campaign -- maybe the most important in my lifetime. 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 the Axis powers were in World War II, or the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. This enemy, in the words of the 9/11 Commission report released recently, is "sophisticated, patient, disciplined, and lethal." What the 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 as we saw on the morning of 9/11, this enemy is perfectly prepared to slaughter anyone -- man, woman, or child -- who stands in the way.

This is not an enemy that we can reason with or negotiate with or appease. This is, to put it simply, an enemy that we must destroy. And with President Bush as our Commander-in-Chief, that is exactly what we are going to do. (Applause.)

In the weeks following the terrorist attacks on America, 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 everything necessary to protect our people.

Under the President's leadership, we have driven the Taliban from power in Afghanistan and closed down the camps where terrorists trained to kill Americans. (Applause.) Under the President's leadership, we rid the world of a gathering threat by eliminating the regime of Saddam Hussein. (Applause.) Sixteen months ago, Saddam Hussein controlled the lives and the future of nearly 25 million people. Today, he is in jail. (Applause.)

A year ago, Libya had a secret nuclear weapons program. But after our forces ousted Saddam, and captured him in his hiding spot north of Baghdad, Libya's leader, Moammar Ghaddafi, had a change of heart. He turned over control of Libya's programs including the uranium, the centrifuges, the weapons plans, and today they are they are under American lock and key down at Oak Ridge, in Tennessee. (Applause.)

We've also shut down the secret network based in Pakistan that was the world's most dangerous supplier of illegal nuclear weapons technology. We've put terrorist financers out of office, and dismantled terror cells worldwide. And most of the planners of the 9/11 attacks have now been captured or killed -- including Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11.

We could not have succeeded in these efforts, without the help of dozens of countries around the world. Now if you were to listen to our opponents in this election, you would think that America was fighting the war on terror all alone. Nothing could be further from the truth -- or more insulting to our allies. Terrorists have been killed or captured because of the efforts of our partners in Pakistan and Turkey, in Saudi Arabia, in Kenya and Malaysia. France and Germany have had troops alongside ours in Afghanistan. Great Britain, Australia, Italy, Poland, South Korea, the Ukraine, Japan and more than 20 other nations have contributed troops for the freedom of the Iraqi people. And as we fight the global war on terror, we have the support of Canada and Mexico, of Colombia, Jordan, and Morocco, of India, Paraguay, Denmark, the Netherlands, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Algeria, Uzbekistan, Egypt, Singapore, and Russia -- and the list of those who have joined with us in the global war on terror goes on. Remember this list -- and remember how long it is -- the next time you hear Senator Kerry say America does not have allies. (Applause.)

We are proud of our allies' contributions to the common effort. We will always seek international support for international efforts, but as President Bush has made very clear, there is a difference between leading a coalition of many nations and submitting to the objections of a few. This President will never seek a permission slip to defend the United States of America. (Applause.)

Under the President's leadership, we have taken unprecedented steps to protect the American people here at home. To give law enforcement the tools they need to track down terrorists, we passed the Patriot Act. To focus our government on the mission of protecting the American people, we created the Department of Homeland Security. To fund cutting edge drugs and other defenses against the possibility of an attack with biological weapons, we set up Project BioShield.

But a good defense is not enough, and so we have also gone on the offense in the war on terror -- but the President's opponent, Senator Kerry, sometimes seems to object. He has even said that by using our strength, we are creating terrorists and placing ourselves in greater danger. But that is a fundamental misunderstanding of the way the world we are living in works. Terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength; they are invited by the perception of weakness. (Applause.)

Senator Kerry has also said that if he were in charge he would fight a "more sensitive" war on terror. (Laughter.) America has been in too many wars for any of our wishes, but not a one of them was won by being sensitive. President Lincoln and General Grant did not wage sensitive warfare -- nor did President Roosevelt, nor Generals Eisenhower and MacArthur. A "sensitive war" will not destroy the evil men who killed 3,000 Americans and who seek the chemical, nuclear and biological weapons to kill hundreds of thousands more. The men who beheaded Daniel Pearl and Paul Johnson will not be impressed by our sensitivity. As our opponents see it, the problem isn't the thugs and murderers that we face, but our attitude. Well, the American people know better. They know that we are in a fight to preserve our freedom and our way of life, and that we are on the side of rights and justice in this battle. Those who threaten us and kill innocents around the world do not need to be treated more sensitively. They need to be destroyed. (Applause.)

I listened to what Senator Kerry had to say in Boston, and, with all due respect to the Senator, he views the world as if we had never been attacked on September 11th. The job of the Commander-in-Chief, as he sees it, is to use America's military strength to respond to attacks. But September 11th showed us, as surely as anything can, that we must act against gathering dangers - not wait for to be attacked. That awful day left some 3,000 of our fellow citizens dead, and everything we have learned since tells us the terrorists would do worse if they could, and that they will even use chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons against us if they can. In the world we live in now, responding to attacks is not enough. We must do everything in our power to prevent attacks -- and that includes using military force. (Applause.)

In his convention speech, Senator Kerry invited us to judge him by his record, and that seems like a pretty good idea. (Laughter and applause.) As he frequently reminds people, he was once a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and what was his record there? Well, to begin with, he attended less than 25 percent of the intelligence committee's public meetings. In the aftermath of the first terror attack on the World Trade Center, Senator Kerry put forward two measures to gut the intelligence budget by $7.5 billion. His first proposal was voted down 75 to 20. Not even Senator Ted Kennedy, from his own state, would vote for it. When he proposed his second bill, he was unable to find a single co-sponsor for it. Even after this the -- even after this attack on the World Trade Center, Senator Kerry proposed legislation so harmful to our intelligence capabilities -- so extreme and out of the mainstream -- that even his fellow Democrats refused to support it.

The Senator has taken lately to portraying himself as a champion of strengthening our intelligence, but looking at the record, as he has invited us to do, paints a picture that ought to give us pause. The American people deserve a Commander-in-Chief who truly understands the need for intelligence capabilities, a leader who appreciates the vital work done by the men and women of our nation's intelligence community. They have had many successes that will forever go unheralded, and they deserve our gratitude. (Applause.)

We also have important differences with the Kerry-Edwards record when it comes to providing for our men and women in uniform. And there's one story that makes that 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, jet fuel, and spare parts, Senators Kerry and Edwards voted no. 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.

At first Senator Kerry said that he didn't really oppose the funding. He both supported and opposed it. He said, and I quote, "I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it." Well, that certainly 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." But funding American troops in combat should never be a complicated question. (Applause.)

It's simply wrong to vote to commit our troops to combat and then refuse to provide them with 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.)

President Bush knows that our dedicated servicemen and women represent the very best of the United States of America. And I want to thank them and all the veterans here today for what they've done for all of us. (Applause.) One of the most important commitments that George W. Bush and I made during the 2000 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.)

These are not times for leaders who shift with the political winds, saying one thing one day and another, the next. 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 west side of the Capitol and took the oath of office, our economy was sliding into recession. Then, on 9/11, terrorists struck our nation and shook the economy once again. We faced a basic decision -- to leave more money with families and businesses, or to take more of the American people's hard-earned money for the federal government. President Bush made his choice. He proposed and he delivered tax savings to the American people -- not once, not twice, but three times. (Applause.)

Thanks to the Bush tax cuts, consumers are confident, businesses are investing, and families are taking home more of what they earn. Mortgage rates, and interest rates, and inflation are all low. America has created jobs for 11 consecutive months -- about 1.5 million new jobs since last August. Here in Ohio, your unemployment rate is 5.8 percent -- down from 6.3 percent last July, and moving in the right direction. We know there are still challenges, especially in our manufacturing communities. You should know that the President and I will not be satisfied until every American who wants to work can find a job. But this is a strong economy; it's growing stronger. The Bush tax cuts are working. (Applause.)

Our accomplishments these past four years have made America safer, stronger, and better. They also demonstrate something about the character of our President. He did not go to the White House to mark time, or to spend his energy on small issues. He went to take on the big issues, and to make serious reforms. He has led with confidence, with clear vision, and with unwavering purpose. He's made hard choices, and he's kept his word. And that's exactly how he will lead this country for the next four years. (Applause.)

In our second term, we'll keep moving forward with a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda. We will work to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Applause.) We will work to help end lawsuit abuse because we know that it's a lot easier for American businesses to hire 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 continue to move forward on a comprehensive energy policy and make this nation less dependent on foreign sources of energy. (Applause.)

Our opponents have a very different vision for the country. They talk about jobs, yet they never explain how they would put a single American back to work. They opposed our 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: raise our taxes. What we're hearing from the other side is the failed thinking of the past -- and we're not going back. (Applause.)

President Bush and I will also continue to defend our society's fundamental rights and values. We stand for a culture of life, and we reject the brutal practice of partial birth abortion. (Applause.) We stand strongly for the Second Amendment, and we will defend the individual right of every American to bear arms. (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 their flag. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

THE VICE PRESIDENT: We have a situation in the United States Senate where Democrats -- including Senators Kerry and Edwards -- are using the filibuster to block the President's sensible, mainstream nominations to the judiciary. Recently, they used their obstructionist tactics to keep the Senate from voting on four nominees that the President had sent forward. One of them was Bill Myers, a close friend of mine, a fine man with widespread bipartisan support for his personal integrity, his judicial temperament, and his legal experience. If Bill Myers had made it to an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor, he clearly had the vote to have been confirmed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which, by the way, is the circuit that decided we should not say "under God" when we pledge allegiance to the flag. Sounds to me like we could use some new judges on the Ninth Circuit. (Applause.) What the Democrats are doing -- filibustering judges -- is simply outrageous, and that's another very good reason to send George Voinovich back to the United States Senate. (Applause.)

On issue after issue, President Bush has a clear vision for the future of the nation. Abroad, he 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, he will continue building prosperity that reaches every corner of the land so that every child 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, and by your commitment to the cause we all share. We're grateful to our many friends across the state of Ohio. Thanks for the tremendous welcome today. We're proud to be part of your team. And together, on November 2nd, we're going to see our cause forward to victory.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

END 10:40 A.M. EDT