The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
September 14, 2004

Vice President's Remarks at a Victory 2004 Rally Clarksburg, West Virginia
Nathan Goff Armory
Clarksburg, West Virginia

4:04 P.M. EDT

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Mercy. Well, it's great to be back in the Mountain State. (Applause.) I'm grateful for a chance to come to Clarksburg. This is a proud, patriotic part of America. And by the look of things today, this is Bush-Cheney country. (Applause.)

My wife, Lynne, usually travels with me, but she was under the weather today, had a bad cold. And we got 48 days to go, so I told her stay home and get healthy, and she'll come back with us again. But she loves coming out and campaigning with me, as well, too.

And I often tell people that we have a Republican marriage, that we got married because Dwight Eisenhower got elected President in 1952. (Laughter.) The fact was then I was living with my folks in Lincoln, Nebraska. Dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service. Eisenhower got elected, reorganized the department, Dad got transferred to Casper, Wyoming -- which is where I met Lynne, and where we grew up together; went to high school together; and two weeks ago, celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. (Applause.) And I explained to a group the other day that if it hadn't been for Eisenhower's election victory, Lynne would have married somebody else. (Laughter.) And she said, right, and now he'd be Vice President of the United States. (Laughter.) Every husband knows exactly what I mean. (Laughter.) It's absolutely true.

We've been traveling the country, talking about the terrific convention we had in New York two weeks ago. (Applause.) When you get Zell Miller and Rudy Giuliani -- (Applause.) But the President, of course, gave a great speech there. And he laid out a clear, forward-looking plan for America to make it more hopeful and more secure. He talked about changing the world we live in and the need to transform the systems of government so that all our citizens are equipped and prepared and free to make choices to pursue their dreams. And he talked about the power of liberty to transform countries and lives and bring a future of hope and peace. We're looking forward to taking that message across the country over the next 49 days. And we're looking forward to November 2nd when we'll reelect George W. Bush President of the United States. (Applause.)

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: The President and I are tremendously grateful for all of our supporters here in West Virginia. And across the country, we've gotten strong backing from Republicans and independents. We're proud to have the support of so many Democrats like Zell Miller, who knows who the best man for the presidency is. (Applause.) We were proud to carry West Virginia in 2000. We're going to work even harder to earn your support this year. We've been here many times -- I was down in southern West Virginia yesterday. The President was in Huntington on Friday. You'll be seeing plenty more of us. With your help, we are going to win this state and we are going to win this election. (Applause.)

As I said in my convention speech in New York City, I'm mindful that I now have an opponent. (Laughter.) People keep telling me that Senator Edwards got picked for his good looks, his charm, his sex appeal and he's got great hair. (Laughter.) I say to them, "How do you think I got the job?" (Applause.)

But in all seriousness, this is an important election. We're going to make a vital choice on November 2nd. This election could not come at a more crucial time in our history. Today we face an enemy every bit as bent on destroying us as were the Axis powers in World War II. 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 destroy. (Applause.) And with George Bush as our Commander-in-Chief, that is exactly what we will do. (Applause.)

I'm sure many of you heard the remarks at the Republican convention by Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York. Rudy was remembering that day on 9/11, and the attacks on his city at one point when he turned to his police commissioner, Bernie Kerik, and said, "Thank God George W. Bush is our President." (Applause.)

Under the President's leadership, we have reached around the world to capture or kill hundreds of Al Qaeda. In Afghanistan, the camps where terrorists trained to kill Americans have been shut down, the Taliban driven from power. In Iraq, we dealt with a gathering threat, and removed the regime of Saddam Hussein. (Applause.) Seventeen months ago, he controlled the lives and the fortunes of 25 million people. Today, he sits in jail. (Applause.)

President Bush does not deal in empty threats and half-way measures, and his determination has sent a clear message. Just five days after Saddam Hussein was captured, the government of Libya agreed to abandon its nuclear weapons program and turn the materials over to the United States. (Applause.) Today, the uranium, the centrifuges, and the plans for nuclear weapons that were once hidden in Libya are locked up and stored away in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, never again to threaten us. (Applause.)

The biggest danger we face today is the possibility of having nuclear weapons fall into the hands of terrorists. The President is working with many countries in a global effort to end the trade and transfer of these deadly technologies. The most important result thus far -- and a very important one -- is that the black-market network that supplied nuclear weapons technology to Libya, as well as to Iran and North Korea, has been shut down. The world's worst source of nuclear proliferation is out of business, and we are all safer as a result. (Applause.)

We could not have succeeded in these efforts without the help of other nations. 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 and submitting to the objections of the few. We will never -- we will never -- seek a permission slip to defend the United States of America. (Applause.)

On November 2nd, America faces a choice between a strong and steadfast President and his opponent, who seems to adopt a new position every day.

AUDIENCE: Flip-flop! Flip-flop! Flip-flop!

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Just last week, John Kerry gave us what I think is his eighth position on the war in Iraq. He said that Iraq was, quote, "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time." (Laughter.) Except it turns out that it is really somebody else's position. It's former Democrat Primary Candidate Howard Dean's position.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: Nine months ago, when Howard Dean took this position during the primaries, Senator Kerry was all over it. He said, and I quote, "Those who doubted whether Iraq or the world would be better off without Saddam Hussein and those who believe today that we are not safer with his capture, don't have the judgment to be President or the credibility to be elected President." (Applause.) In a spirit of bipartisanship, this is one position of Senator Kerry's that I totally agree with. (Laughter.)

In times of great challenge, our troops and our allies and our enemies must know where America stands. The President of the United States must be clear and consistent. But in all the national campaigns that I've watched up close, I have never seen a candidate go back and forth so many times on a single issue.

All the shifts Senator Kerry has made are troubling, but there is one that really stands out. It starts with Senator Kerry and his running mate, Senator Edwards, voting in favor of using 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.


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 he didn't really oppose the funding. He both supported and opposed it. (Laughter.) And then 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.)

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: What are you guys doing for the next 49 days? (Laughter.)

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

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 of the veterans with us here today for what they've done for all of us. (Applause.) One of the most important commitments that the President made in 2000 was that our armed forces would be given the resources they need and the respect they deserve -- and he has kept his 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. In his years in Washington, John Kerry has been one of a hundred votes in the United States Senate -- and fortunately on matters of national security, his views rarely prevailed. But the presidency is an entirely different proposition. A senator can be wrong for 20 years, without consequence to the nation. But a President -- a President -- always casts the deciding vote. And in this time of challenge, America needs -- and America has -- a President we can count on to get it right. (Applause.)

On Iraq, Senator Kerry has disagreed with many of his fellow Democrats. But Senator Kerry's liveliest disagreement is with himself. His back-and-forth reflects a habit of indecision, and sends a message of confusion. And it's all part of a pattern. He has, in the last several years, been for the No Child Left Behind Act -- and against it. He has spoken in favor of the North American Free Trade Agreement -- and against it. He is for the Patriot Act -- and against it. Senator Kerry says he sees two Americas. It makes the whole thing mutual -- America sees two John Kerrys. (Laughter and 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 west front 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.)

Every American who pays federal income taxes benefited from the Bush tax cuts -- and so has our economy. We've created jobs for the last 12 consecutive months -- a total of about 1.7 million new jobs over the last year -- including 144,000 new jobs in the last month alone. Here in West Virginia, 9,500 jobs have been created since May. 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.)

We know there are still challenges. 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 didn't go to the White House to mark time, or to spend his energy on small goals. He went to take on the big issues, and to make serious reforms. He's led with confidence, with clear vision, and unwavering purpose. He's made hard choices, and kept his word. And that's exactly how he will lead this 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 to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. And to help families and small businesses, we will lead a bipartisan effort to reform and simplify the federal tax code. (Applause.)

We will work to end lawsuit abuse. (Applause.) 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 because we know the cost of malpractice insurance is creating a crisis, not only in West Virginia, but across the nation. America's doctors should be able to spend their time healing patients, not fighting off frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.)

To create jobs, we also need a sound energy policy. More than three years ago, the President sent Congress a good plan to promote energy conservation, to encourage domestic production, and renewable resources. The President's energy plan will also modernize the electricity grid to protect against blackouts. And because America's best source for electricity is coal, our budget for next year includes $447 million for clean coal technology. (Applause.) That's more than double the level of funding when we took office. To keep businesses running, to keep Americans working, we will keep using West Virginia coal. (Applause.)

Our opponent has a different energy strategy, and he doesn't seem to find much use for coal. He has called coal a "dirty energy source."


THE VICE PRESIDENT: He supported legislation that would cost thousands of jobs in the coal industry.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: And he's helped block the energy bill that would increase use of clean coal technology.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: But West Virginians can be certain: President Bush and I know that coal is essential to our energy independence and our economic future. (Applause.) So we will continue working with -- so we will continue working with the Senate to pass a good energy bill, so we can make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy. (Applause.)

Our opponents have a very different vision for the country. They opposed our tax relief; now they're proposing massive increases in federal spending. They oppose effective reform of our legal system, and they're against medical liability reform. Their big idea for the economy: raise our taxes.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: 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 Americans ought to be able to say "under God" when we pledge allegiance to the flag. (Applause.)

There shouldn't be any question about this, and there wouldn'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 sensible, mainstream nominations for the judiciary.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: Recently, they used their obstructionist tactics to keep the Senate from voting on Bill Myers, a fine man from my part of the country. If Bill 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, by the way, 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 they could use some new judges on the Ninth Circuit. (Applause.) What the Democrats are doing is outrageous, and that's why we need to send more Republicans to the United States Senate. (Applause.)

On issue after issue, President Bush has a clear vision for the future of our nation. America has come to know him, and I have come to admire him very much. I watch him at work every day. He's a person of loyalty and kindness, a man who speaks plainly and means what he says. I have seen him face some of the hardest decisions that can come to the occupant of the Oval Office -- and make those decisions with the wisdom and the humility that Americans expect in their President. (Applause.)

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Abroad, under President Bush's leadership, 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 -- 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. (Applause.)

The President and I are honored by your confidence in us, and by your commitment to the cause we all share. President Bush and I will wage this effort with complete confidence in the judgment of the American people. The signs are good -- here in West Virginia, and even in Massachusetts. (Applause.) According to a news account, people leaving the Democratic Convention in July asked a Boston policeman for directions. He replied, "Leave here -- and go vote Republican." (Applause.)

President Bush and I are honored to have the support of that police officer, and of Democrats, Republicans, and independents from every calling in American life. We're grateful to our many friends across the great state of West Virginia. I want to thank you for this tremendous welcome this morning. 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 4:25 P.M. EDT

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