For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
August 2, 2004
Vice President's Remarks at Neugebauer Reception
Lubbock Memorial Civic Center
5:35 P.M. CDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much. At ease. (Laughter.) Please be seated. I want to thank you for that warm welcome. It's great to be back in the great state of Texas. This looks to me like it's Bush-Cheney-Neugebauer Country. (Applause.)
I campaigned with Randy back in December, and I'm delighted to stand with him again today. He's doing a superb job for the people of Texas back in Washington, and he has earned another term in the United States Congress.
It's also my privilege to pass along best wishes from another Texan on his way to a second term, President George W. Bush. (Applause.) I know all Texans are proud of our President, and our fine First Lady, Laura Bush, as well. (Applause.)
You can also take pride in an outstanding Senate delegation. As President of the Senate -- that's my only real job as Vice President is President of the Senate. I get to preside over the Senate -- but I can report that Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn make up one of the finest teams from any state in the nation. (Applause.)
My wife, Lynne, wanted to be here with me today. She was traveling with me earlier, but she had to take a little side trip over to Dallas, where she's doing an event like this right now for Pete Sessions, who is going to beat Martin Frost, come November 2nd. (Applause.)
I like to tell folks that Lynne and I have a marriage that came about as the result of a great Republican victory in a presidential campaign in 1952. You say where he's going with this. (Laughter.) The fact is that in 1952, I was a youngster living with my folks in Lincoln, Nebraska. Dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service. Eisenhower got elected, reorganized the Agriculture Department. Dad got transferred to Casper, Wyoming, and that's where I grew up and met Lynne. We went to high school together. And next month, we'll mark our 40th wedding anniversary. (Applause.) But I explained to a group the other night if it hadn't been for Dwight Eisenhower winning that election, 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.)
As you might have heard, there was a bit of a political gathering up in Boston last week. 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 the job because he is good looking, charming, has great hair. (Laughter.) I said, "How do you think I got the job?" (Laughter and applause.)
We're all here today to make sure Randy continues his fine work in the House of Representatives. In just over a year on the job, Randy has already earned a reputation for hard work and outstanding service to his constituents. He's repaid your confidence with his good judgment, and his dedication to meeting the priorities of families, farmers, and businesses in his district. Randy is a steady advocate for agricultural interests, for low taxes, a sound energy policy, and a strong national defense. He stands up for his views, he's not afraid to reach across the aisle to get things done. That's exactly the kind of Congressman you deserve here in the 19th district -- and that's why you're going to send him back for another term in the U.S. House. (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 days of 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, end all rights for women, and 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 -- to advance its cause.
Randy understands that 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. (Applause.) With Randy Neugebauer in Congress and President George W. Bush as Commander-in-Chief, that is exactly what we will do. (Applause.)
In the weeks following the terrorist attacks on America, people in every part of the country, regardless of party, took great comfort and pride 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 removed the Taliban from power in Afghanistan and closed down the camps where terrorists trained to kill Americans. Under the President's leadership, we removed the regime of Saddam Hussein, a man who had developed weapons of mass destruction, used them against his own people, started two wars, and provided safe haven for terrorists. Saddam Hussein once controlled the lives and future of some 25 million people. Tonight, he is in jail. (Applause.)
The defeat of tyranny and violence in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the rise of democracy in that troubled region of the world, will be a crucial setback for the terrorists. Because we have been strong and resolute, these nations will not 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 today in Afghanistan and Iraq, 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. Our broad coalition includes some 30 nations involved in Iraq, and nearly 40 nations involved in 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 of America. (Applause.)
Our nation is extremely fortunate during these times of testing to have the dedicated service of our men and women in uniform. These men and women, who are defending our country, represent the very best of the United States of America. (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.)
We have some important differences with the folks you saw in Boston last week. 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 was intended to 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 voted to commit the troops and refused to support them once they were there. 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. (Laughter.) He said, and I quote, "I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it." That sure clears things up. (Laughter.) Lately, however, he's been saying he is 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.) As Randy understands, it's simply wrong to vote to commit our troops to combat and then refuse to provide them with what 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.)
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 United States Capitol and took the oath of office, on January 20, 2001, the 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 money with families and businesses, or to take more of the American people's tax 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 Texas, more than 111,000 jobs have been created over the last nine months. Home ownership is now at an all-time high. 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. And over the past year, the economy has grown at a rate of nearly 5 percent. 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 have acted to bring high standards and measurable results to our schools so that no child will be left behind. We are demanding accountability, empowering parents, and making sure that local folks are in charge of their own public schools. Under the President's leadership, we passed Medicare reform, and gave senior citizens more affordable access to modern medicine and prescription drugs. Under the President's leadership, we passed an environmental law called the Healthy Forests Act, and helped reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires across the West. Under the President's leadership, we have also taken unprecedented steps to protect the American people. We passed the Patriot Act to give law enforcement the tools they need to track down and prosecute terrorists. We created the Department of Homeland Security to focus our government on one mission: protecting the American people. We passed Project BioShield to fund cutting edge drugs and other defenses against the possibility of an attack with biological weapons. Today 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.)
But as the 9/11 Commission said last week, we are safer, but we are not yet safe. Threats are still out there. The terrorists are still plotting and planning, trying to find ways to attack the United States. We saw an example of that just this weekend in the announcement made by our Secretary of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge.
Our accomplishments these past four years have made America safer, stronger, and better. They also demonstrate something about the character of our President. He didn't come to the White House to mark time, or to spend his energy on small goals. He came to take on the big issues, and to make serious reforms. He has led with confidence, clear vision, and unwavering purpose. He's made hard choices, and he's kept his word. And that's exactly how he will lead the country for the next four years. (Applause.)
Randy shares our hopeful, optimistic vision for the future. He's a valuable ally on Capitol Hill, and we look forward to working with him to accomplish great goals.
We need Randy in Congress to keep moving forward with our pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda. We need Randy in Congress to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Applause.) We need Randy in Congress to help end lawsuit abuse. 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 Randy in Congress to help work for medical liability reform. America's doctors should be able to spend their time healing patients, not fighting off frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.) And we need Randy in Congress to help us continue to move forward on a comprehensive energy policy that promotes domestic energy production; respects the environment; modernizes our electricity grid; promotes conservation; and supports alternative sources of energy. We will work to enact the President's plan to make the United States 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 our taxes.
What we're hearing from the other side is the failed thinking of the past -- and we're not going back. (Applause.)
With Randy in Congress, 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 support for their good works. 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 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 the judiciary by the filibuster. Senators Kerry and Edwards made sure that the Senate never got to vote on Priscilla Owen, a respected, principled jurist with nearly a decade of experience on the Texas Supreme Court. Senators Kerry and Edwards are helping keep fine men and women like Priscilla Owen -- and dozens of other qualified nominees -- off the federal bench. What the Democrats are doing is simply 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 in America has a chance to learn, to succeed, and to rise in the world.
Randy has the same great goals for the state of Texas, and with your help, he'll keep working hard as your congressman. President Bush and I are grateful to all of you for sending Randy to Washington, D.C. We are looking forward to the months ahead, and to November 2nd, when we will see our cause to victory. And we're looking forward to working with Congressman Randy Neugebauer for many years to come.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
END 5:58 P.M. CDT