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

For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
September 29, 2004

Vice President's Remarks at a Victory 2004 Rally in Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Choice Products USA
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
September 28, 2004

5:25 P.M. CDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much. That's a great welcome. This must be Bush-Cheney country. (Applause.)

Now, Lynne has known me since she was 14, but she wouldn't go out with me until I was 17. (Laughter.) I tell everybody, we got married because Dwight Eisenhower got elected President of the United States, because in 1952, I was a youngster living in Lincoln, Nebraska with my folks. Dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service. Eisenhower got elected, reorganized the government. Dad got transferred to Casper, Wyoming, and that's where I met Lynne. And we grew up together, went to high school, and a couple of weeks ago celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. (Applause.) But I mentioned to a group of folks the other night, I said, if 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 and applause.) Absolutely true.

But it is always good to come back to Wisconsin. As Lynne said we came here many years ago, 1966, January, we arrived matter of fact. And I went to work for Warren Knowles. Warren was then the governor, superb governor for Wisconsin. But he taught me a lot of what I know about politics. And later on, when I went to Washington, my first boss was Bill Steiger, from the sixth district. He was a great, very capable, talented member of Congress. And we look back on those days with great fondness, but much of what I've accomplished later on in my career had to do with the start I got right here in Wisconsin with fine people, always delighted to come back. (Applause.)

I want to thank Dale Schultz, your outstanding candidate for Congress, for being here today. (Applause.) And I also want to put in a good word for your candidate for the Senate, Senator Tim Michels -- (Applause.) The President and I hope you'll send both Dale and Tim to Washington because we need them. They'll be great allies for us. (Applause.)

The President and I are grateful for all of our friends and supporters across Wisconsin. 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 Senator Zell Miller. (Applause.) I thought he gave one of the best convention speeches I've ever heard. He was superb. (Applause.)

Last time around, the President and I came within a few thousand votes of winning Wisconsin. We're working even harder this year. And with your support on November 2nd, we're going to carry this state, and we're going to win the election. (Applause.)

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I accept. (Applause.)

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

But in all seriousness, this is a very important election. It could not come at a more crucial time in our history. The decision we're going to make on November 2nd is very important. Today we face an enemy every bit as intent on destroying us as the Axis powers were in World War II. And from the night of September 11th to this day, America has left no doubt about where we stand. We have no illusions about the nature of this struggle, or the character of the enemy we face. 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 President George W. Bush as our Commander-in-Chief, that is exactly what we're going to do. (Applause.)

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

Last week I sat in the chamber of the House of Representatives as Ayad Allawi, the Prime Minister of a free Iraq, addressed the Congress and said, "thank you America." He noted the struggle in Iraq is tough and that there have been and will be setbacks. But he also noted there is progress not always reported on by the American media.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: Iraqi children are in school, security forces are being trained, the economy is coming back, and the country is on a course toward free elections. Prime Minister Allawi is a brave man. Some years ago, Saddam Hussein sent killers after him with axes. They tried to hack him to death in his bed. He is a brave and determined leader, and I was appalled at the complete lack of respect that Senator Kerry showed for this man --


THE VICE PRESIDENT: -- when he rushed out to hold a press conference and attack the Prime Minister. Prime Minister Allawi is our ally. Senator Kerry's sagging poll numbers have led him to think he has to go on the attack. He gave a speech last week assailing the President and suggesting Iraq was not a home for terrorists before America deposed Saddam. But, ladies and gentlemen, Saddam himself was a terrorist. (Applause.) He provided a safe-haven for terrorists over the years. He was making $25,000 payments to the families of suicide bombers, and he had a relationship with al Qaeda. Iraq for years was listed by the U.S. State Department as a state sponsor of terror. America does not create terrorists -- but under President Bush, we will defeat them. (Applause.)

President Bush's steadfast leadership and clear determination send an important signal. 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 U.S., and reenter the community of nations. (Applause.)

The biggest danger we face today is that 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 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. (Applause.) The world's worst source of nuclear proliferation is out of business, and we all are safer as a result.

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.)


THE VICE PRESIDENT: You got any more advice? (Laughter.) Come on now, let me get through this speech.

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. Last week, John Kerry gave us yet another position on the war in Iraq. He attacked the progress we're making and the policies we have implemented. Yet despite all the harsh rhetoric, Senator Kerry endorsed many of the same goals President Bush has been pursuing in Iraq for months. Senator Kerry also said that under his leadership, more of America's friends would speak with one voice on Iraq. That seems a little odd coming from a guy who doesn't speak with one voice himself.

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: What are you guys doing for the rest of the campaign? (Applause.)

By his repeated efforts to recast and redefine the war on terror and our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Senator Kerry has given every indication that he lacks the resolve, the determination and the conviction to prevail in the conflict we face.

The position Senator Kerry adopted most recently seems to be that he would not have supported the use of force to remove Saddam Hussein's regime -? and that removing Saddam has somehow weakened our national security. Nine months ago when Howard Dean took a similar position during the Democratic primaries, 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.) The only thing I have to say to that is, I'm Dick Cheney and I approve this message.

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 the troops. Only four Senators voted for the use of force and against the resources our men and women 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. Then he said, and I quote, "I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it."

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: 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.) 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 troops, our allies, and our enemies must know where America stands. The President of the United States must be clear and consistent. 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.)

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: President Bush knows that our dedicated servicemen and women represent the very best of the United States of America. (Applause.) And I want to thank them and all the veterans here today for what they have done for all of us. (Applause.) One of the most important commitments the President made during the 2000 campaign was that our armed forces have the resources they need and the respect they deserve, and he has kept his word to the U.S. military. (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. But it is all part of a pattern. He has, in the last year or two, 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. (Applause.)

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: 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 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.)

Every American who pays federal income taxes has benefited from President Bush's tax cuts. In Wisconsin, more than two million taxpayers have seen their income tax bills reduced, more than 700,000 married couples are benefiting from marriage penalty relief, and more than 500,000 families have benefited from the increase in the child tax credit. (Applause.) The average savings from the President's across-the-board tax cuts topped $1,500. Some critics don't think that's very much. But it sure feels like a lot when you have to send it to the federal government. We did the right thing by returning it. (Applause.)

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 Wisconsin, nearly 63,000 jobs have been created in 2004. 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.

The agricultural economy is strong, and we're seeing record exports for farm products, and other goods produced in Wisconsin. Last year alone, exports from this state topped $11 billion. Wisconsin's exports to Canada have continued to rise. Your exports to Mexico are up. Exports to China rose fourfold in the last four years. Wisconsin is even exporting cheese to France. (Applause.) Wisconsin is selling what the world wants to buy.

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, a growing economy. The Bush tax cuts are working. (Applause.)

In our second term, we will move forward with a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda. We will work to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Applause.) Congress took an important step last week by extending tax relief for working families, and the President will be proud to sign that bill into law. And working with allies on Capitol Hill, 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 it's a lot easier for America's businesses to hire new workers if they don't have to keep hiring lawyers. We will work for medical liability reform because 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 the country. They opposed our tax relief, and now they're proposing massive increases in federal spending.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: They helped block our energy plan in the Senate. They oppose effective reform of the legal system, and they're against medical liability reform. Right. 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.)

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I'm getting to the good part. (Laughter.) 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 so when they 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. The Democrats in the Senate have been doing everything they can -? including using the filibuster -? to keep the President's sensible, mainstream nominees off the bench.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: They are hoping to wait the President out. But I've got news for them. That's not going to happen. We are going to win this election. (Applause.)

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: And a good way to deal with the problem of the Democratic filibuster in the Senate is to elect some good Republicans like Tim Michels from Wisconsin. (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 says what he means and means what he says. (Applause.) 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 Americans expect of their President.

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 spreading 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. (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 Wisconsin, and even in Massachusetts. 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." (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 you for your support. 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 5:50 P.M. CDT

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