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

For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
September 16, 2004

Remarks by the Vice President at a Victory 2004 Rally
Reno-Sparks Convention Center
Reno, Nevada

3:20 P.M. PDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.)

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much for that warm welcome. (Laughter.) I'm delighted to be here my daughter Liz, who is filling in for her mother these days on the campaign trail. (Applause.) Lynne is back in Washington this week. But she has a commitment tomorrow. But she usually travels with me and introduces me at these events. And Liz may be working into her job -- if she's not careful here. She didn't do so bad today.

But I oftentimes tell people that Lynne and I got married because of a great Republican victory in 1952 -- that if Dwight Eisenhower hadn't been elected -- if Dwight Eisenhower hadn't been elected President, we would never have gotten married because in 1952, I lived in Nebraska with my folks. Dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service. Eisenhower got elected, Dad got transferred as a result of the reorganization of the government to Casper, Wyoming. And in Casper, I met by bride-to-be, Lynne. We grew up together, went to high school together, and just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. (Applause.) I explained that to a group the other day that if it hadn't been for Eisenhower's election, Lynne would have married somebody else. (Laughter.) And she said, right, and how he'd be Vice President of the United States. (Laughter.) Every husband in the audience knows whereof I speak. That's the way it works.

But I'm delighted to be here today with your senator, John Ensign, and of course, Governor Kenny Guinn. They do a great job for Nevada and for the nation. (Applause.) And, of course, although he couldn't be here today, I get to do a lot of work with your congressman, Jim Gibbons. And he does a superb job for all of us in Washington. (Applause.)

It's great to be back in Reno. I'm proud to be in the Biggest Little City in the World. (Applause.) And by the looks of things this is Bush-Cheney country. (Applause.)

I've been traveling the country talking about the tremendous convention we had in New York a couple weeks ago, and the great speakers there when you think about Zell Miller -- (aApplause) -- Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rudy Guiliani. (Applause.) And of course, the President is no slouch either. (Laughter.) He laid out a clear, forward-looking plan to make America more hopeful and the world more secure.

The President and I are tremendously grateful for all of our supporters here in Nevada. Here and across the country, we've got strong backing from Republicans and independents. And we're proud to have the support of so many Democrats like Georgia's Zell Miller, who knows that the best man for the presidency is George W. Bush. (Applause.) The President and I were proud to carry this state in 2000. And we're going to work even harder to earn your support this year. (Applause.) We've been to Nevada many times. I was in Reno about six weeks ago. The President was in Las Vegas earlier this week. You'll be seeing plenty more of us. And with your help, we are going to win this state and we are going to win this election. (Applause.)

In my speech in New York City at the convention, you may have noticed I mentioned that I now have an opponent. (Laughter.) No, I do. People keep telling me Senator Edwards got picked because he's sexy, charming, good looking, has great hair. I said, "How do you think I got the job?" (Applause.)

But in all seriousness, this is an important election. It comes at a 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. This is not an enemy we can reason with or negotiate with or appease. It is, to put it simply, an enemy that we must destroy. And that's what exactly what we will do with George W. Bush. (Applause.)

I'm sure that many of you heard Rudy Giuliani's remarks at the convention when he talked about the attacks of 9/11, and that day, how he turned at one point 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 out 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 doesn't deal in empty threats and half-way measures, and his determination has sent a clear message. Just five days after Saddam was captured, the government of Libya agreed to abandon its nuclear weapons program and turn the materials over to the United States. Today, the uranium, the centrifuges, and the plans for nuclear weapons that were once hidden in Libya are locked up and stored away, never again to be a danger to Americans. (Applause.)

The biggest threat we face today is the danger 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 it's 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 proliferation is out of business. (Applause.)

We could not have succeeded in these efforts without the help of dozens of countries around the world. 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. We will never seek a permission slip to defend the United States of America. (Applause.)

America faces a choice on November 2nd between a strong and steadfast President and his opponent, who seems to adopt a new position every day. (Laughter.) Just last week, John Kerry gave us what I think is his eighth position on the war. (Laughter.) He said that Iraq was, quote, "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time." Except it turns out that's not really his position, that's somebody else's position. It's former Democrat Primary Candidate Howard Dean's position. And nine months ago when Howard Dean took this position during the primary, Senator Kerry jumped on him, and 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 the spirit of bipartisanship, this is one position of Senator Kerry's I agree with. (Laughter.)

In times of great challenge, our troops, 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 I have watched up close, I've never seen a candidate go back and forth so many times on a single issue.

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: 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 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." 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 his decision was "complicated."

But funding American troops in combat should never be a complicated question. (Applause.) Today, while speaking to the National Guard Association meeting down in Las Vegas, John Kerry said that our troops deserve no less than the best. But I am stunned by the audacity of that statement since Senator Kerry voted to send the troops into combat and then deny them the support they needed once they were at war.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: We need a President who will back our troops 100 percent, and that's exactly what we've got in George W. Bush. (Applause.)

Senator Kerry said today that leadership starts with telling the truth. But, see -- (Laughter.) That's not the laugh line. (Laughter.) The America people also know that true leadership requires the ability to make a decision. True leadership is sticking with the decision in the face of political pressure, and true leadership is standing for your principles regardless of your audience or your most recent political advisors. (Applause.) Senator Kerry today said he would always be straight with the American people on the good days and on the bad days. In Senator Kerry's case, that means when the headlines are good, he's for the war. And when his poll numbers are bad, he's against it. (Laughter.)

What are you guys doing the rest of the campaign? (Laughter.) You want to travel with me?

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

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 prevail. 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. (Laughter.) His back-and-forth reflects a habit of indecision, and sends a message of confusion. And it is 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 -- it makes the whole thing mutual -- America sees two John Kerrys. (Laughter and applause.)

Our country requires strong and consistent leadership, both 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, 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 1.7 million new jobs over the last year; 144,000 new jobs in the last month alone. (Applause.) Here in Nevada, more than 100,000 jobs have been created since January of 2002. 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.

We know there are still challenges. And the President and I will not be satisfied until every American who wants to work can find a job. (Applause.) But this is a strong economy, it's growing stronger. The Bush tax cuts are working. (Applause.)

Our accomplishments these last 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 has 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 govern America for the next four years. (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. 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'll work for medical liability reform because we know the cost of malpractice insurance is creating a crisis, not only in Nevada, but across the nation. (Applause.) America's doctors should be able to spend their time healing patients, not fighting off frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.)

Our opponents have a very different vision for our country. 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. (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 last four years -- (applause) -- over these last four years, we've acted to put government decisively on the side of miners in the Silver State. But the Junior Senator from Massachusetts has 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.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: In this election, there's only one presidential candidate with a record and an agenda that defend Nevada's miners, and that is 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 Americans ought to be able to say "under God" when they pledge allegiance to the flag. (Applause.)

There shouldn't be any question about that -- 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 to the judiciary. Recently, they used their obstructionist tactics to keep the Senate from voting on Bill Myers, a fine man, a Westerner, a friend of mine. 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, as you know, 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 man in the Oval Office, and make those decisions with the wisdom and the humility that Americans expect in their President. (Applause.)

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, we will continue building a 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 Nevada, and even in Massachusetts. (Applause.) According to a news account, people leaving the Democratic National Convention in July asked a Boston policeman for directions. He replied, "Leave here -- and go vote Republican." (Laughter and applause.)

President Bush and I are honored to have the support of that police officer -- (laughter) -- and of Democrats, Republicans, and independents from every calling in American life. We're grateful to our many friends across the great state of Nevada. Thanks for this tremendous welcome. 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 3:44 P.M. PDT

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