News & Policies >
For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
August 14, 2004
Vice President's Remarks at a Bush-Cheney '04 Rally
Elko High School
2:31 P.M. PDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you all very much. Mr. Mayor, Congressman Jim. It's great to be back in Nevada, and in the fine city of Elko. (Applause.) I was just in Reno about two weeks ago, again with Jim Gibbons, speaking to the Disabled Veterans of America. And I hear I'm the first sitting Vice President to visit Elko in about 50 years. (Applause.) There are probably some in the crowd who are glad that Vice Presidents don't show up more than once every 50 years. (Laughter.) But those other Vice Presidents missed out because Elko is beautiful place, a fantastic part of the West, and by the looks of things today, it is Bush-Cheney country. (Applause.)
In addition to your fine mayor and congressman, Nevada also has superb leaders in Governor Kenny Guinn and Senator John Ensign. Kenny and John couldn't be here today, but they're both doing outstanding work for the people of Nevada. And it's also my great privilege to bring greetings to everybody here in Elko from our President, George W. Bush. (Applause.)
Now, Lynne talked about knowing me since I was 14 years old. The truth is she didn't pay any attention to me until I was 17. (Laughter.) In spite of concerted efforts on my part. (Laughter.) But I love to tell a story about the fact that she and I got married because Dwight Eisenhower got elected President. Yes, what's he talking about now? (Laughter.) But in 1952, I was living in Lincoln, Nebraska with my folks. Dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service. And Eisenhower got elected and reorganized the Agriculture Department. And Dad got transferred to Casper, Wyoming -- which is where I married Lynne. And of course, we grew up together, went to high school together, and we'll shortly celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. (Applause.) But I explained 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.) No doubt in my mind.
The President and I are tremendously grateful for our many strong supporters here in Nevada. We were proud to carry the state in 2000. We're going to work hard again this year. And the President was in Las Vegas just last Thursday. You'll be seeing plenty more of us this year. We're going to be meeting people all over this state, and tell you why we think the Bush-Cheney team deserves your vote. And come November, with your help, Nevada is going to be part of a nationwide victory for the Bush-Cheney ticket. (Applause.)
Now, some of you might have noticed there was a little political gathering up in Boston here a couple weeks ago. Some people watched it. But not many, that's right. (Laughter.) But it's now official -- 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 because he's sexy, good looking, charming, and has great hair. (Laughter.) And I said, "How do you think I got the job?" (Laughter and applause.)
The fact is, this is going to be an extraordinarily important year from the standpoint of the election. It couldn't come at a more crucial time in our history. Today we face an enemy every bit as determined to destroy us as 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 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 we can reason with, or negotiate with, or appease. This is, to put it quite simply, an enemy that we must destroy. (Applause.) And with President George Bush as our Commander-in-Chief, that is exactly what we're 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 controlled the lives and future of nearly 25 million people. Today, he's in jail. (Applause.)
A year ago, Libya had a secret nuclear weapons program. But after our coalition ousted Saddam Hussein, Libya's leader, Moammar Ghadafi, had a change of heart. (Laughter.) He turned control of Libya's program over to us, and today the uranium, the centrifuges, and the designs for nuclear weapons are in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, under American lock and key. (Applause.)
We've also shut down the secret network that provided much of the technology to Libya -- which was based in Pakistan that was the world's most dangerous supplier -- that is the network was the world's most dangerous supplier of illegal nuclear weapons technology. We've put terrorist financers out of business, dismantled terrorist cells worldwide. Most of the planners of the 9/11 attacks have been captured or killed, including Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, the mastermind of 9/11. (Applause.)
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 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. Even France and Germany have had troops alongside ours in Afghanistan. Great Britain, Australia, Italy, Poland, South Korea, Ukraine, Japan and more than 20 other nations have contributed troops to our operations in Iraq. 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, Russia - and the list of those who are joined with us goes on and on. Remember this list -- 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. We will always seek international support for international efforts, but as President Bush has made clear, there is a difference between leading a coalition of many nations and submitting to the objections of a few. We 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. We passed the Patriot Act to give law enforcement the tools they need to track down and convict terrorists. We created the Department of Homeland Security to focus the efforts of government on the mission of protecting the American people. We passed Project BioShield to fund cutting edge drugs and other defenses against a potential attack with biological weapons.
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, 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 live 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 ever won by being "sensitive." (Applause.) President Abraham Lincoln and General Grant did not wage sensitive wars. President Roosevelt and Generals Eisenhower and MacArthur did not wage a sensitive war. A "sensitive war" will not destroy the evil men who killed 3,000 Americans on the morning of 9/11, and who now seek 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. (Applause.) As our opponents see it, the problem isn't the thugs and the murderers we face, but it is somehow 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 right 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 to be attacked. (Applause.)
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, that they will use chemical, biological, or even nuclear weapons against us of 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. (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 did not even bother to show up for 75 percent of the Intelligence Committee's public meetings. He also tried very hard, in the aftermath of the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, to gut the intelligence budget. He put forward two measures to cut the intelligence budget by $7.5 billion. His first proposal was voted down 75 to 20. Not even Senator Kerry -- excuse me -- not even Senator Kennedy would vote for it. Sometimes I get them confused. (Laughter and applause.) When he proposed his second bill, he was unable to find a single co-sponsor for it. Less than one year after the attack on the World Trade Center, Senator Kerry proposed legislation so harmful to our intelligence capabilities -- so extreme and so far out of the mainstream -- that even his fellow Democrats refused to support it.
The Senator has taken lately to portray 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 the 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.) 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, as well as all the veterans here with us today for your past service, and for what you'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, as well as 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, the economy was sliding into recession. Then, on 9/11, terrorists struck and shook our 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.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Every American who pays federal income taxes benefited from the Bush tax cuts - and so has our economy. For the last 11 consecutive months, we've created jobs, and since last August we've added about 1.5 million new jobs. Here in Nevada, more than 95,000 jobs have been created since January of '02. Your unemployment rate is 4.2 percent, down from its peak of 6.6 percent two-and-a-half years ago, and lower than Nevada's average rate in the 1980s and 1990s. Mortgage rates, and interest rates, and inflation are low. Consumers are confident, businesses are investing, and families are taking home more of what they earn. We know there are still challenges, especially in our manufacturing communities. 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, and it's growing stronger. The Bush tax cuts are working. (Applause.)
We've also acted to meet regional priorities. And here in Nevada, one of your highest priorities is protecting forests and preventing catastrophic wildfire. The President worked with legislators on both sides of the aisle -- including both Senators from Nevada -- to pass a responsible bill called Healthy Forests. By thinning out the forest underbrush that damages trees and serves as kindling for fires, we are improving the health of Nevada forests, and increasing the safety of Nevada communities. (Applause.)
In our second term, we will keep moving forward with our 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 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 continue to move forward on a comprehensive energy policy to make this nation less dependent on foreign sources of 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 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 your 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.) Our opponents also take a different view on the important issue of mining. As Westerners, the President and I understand the importance of mining to Nevada's economy, and to Nevada families. Over these past four years, we've acted to put government decisively on the side of miners in the Silver State. But just this week, the Junior Senator from Massachusetts, that's Senator Kerr -- (Laughter) -- in case you didn't know -- the Junior Senator from Massachusetts proposed having America's miners send up to an additional $600 million to Washington. That burden could cost up to 44,000 good paying jobs, and it would hit especially hard in rural communities like Elko. In this election, there's only one presidential candidate with a record and an agenda that defend Nevada's miners, and that's President George W. Bush. (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.)
There shouldn't be any question about this, and there won't be if we had more reasonable judges on the federal bench. (Applause.) But we have a situation in the United States Senate now where Democrats -- including Senators Kerry and Edwards -- are using the filibuster to block the President's mainstream nominations to the judiciary. Recently, they used their obstructionist tactics to keep the Senate from voting on four of the nominees that the President sent forward. One of them was Bill Myers, a fine man with widespread bipartisan support, a friend of mine from Boise, Idaho. He has 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 had the votes to be confirmed to the Ninth Circuit, which, as you know, is the circuit that decided we should not say "under God" when we pledge allegiance to the flag. Sounds to me like they could use some new judges on the Ninth Circuit. (Applause.) This is another good reason why Nevada should send another Republican like John Ensign to the United States Senate. (Applause.)
On issue after issue, President Bush has a clear vision for the future of our nation. Abroad, we'll 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 throughout the world. Here at home, we 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 great state of Nevada. Thanks for the 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.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
END 2:58 P.M. PDT