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For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
September 10, 2004

Vice President's Remarks and Q&A at a Coffee with Community Members in Wisconsin
The Golden Basket Restaurant
Green Bay, Wisconsin

8:45 A.M. CDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Thanks to all of you for being here. We've brought -- of course, I've got Lynne with me. And Bart Starr -- I think some of you know him. (Laughter.) Great of him to spend the day with us as we campaign across Wisconsin. We got Daughter Liz over here. She's spending some time with us. And Daughter Mary is here someplace, but I think she's working.

MRS. CHENEY: Dick, do you want to move that mike up?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Can't hear me? All right, is that better?

Q That's better.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, what we wanted to do is just a chance, literally, to sit down this morning and have a cup of coffee and a conversation and hear from you what is going on and how you look at things, and maybe answer a few questions. There's no formal program. It's a little hard sometimes, given the crowd behind you over there. (Laughter.) They've got a job to do, and so they'll be here, as well, too. So it's all on the record. But the basic purpose is something relatively new, as we travel and campaign, of course, we've done a lot of speeches. We've done town hall meetings recently, where we get a big crowd together and speak and then answer questions. But this morning, after we leave here, we're going to go to Sheboygan, and then on down to Milwaukee -- a bus trip down the lake shore this morning.

I was just reminiscing. The first time I came through here was with Warren Knowles, who was governor 38 years ago. Yes, you and I remember, but the rest -- (Laughter.) But, no, it was the 1966 campaign. And we'd arrived in Wisconsin that January to work for the Governor for a while, came from Wyoming. And Liz was born here, in Madison, that summer. She now has four of her own. But it is always fun to come back and get to spend some time in Wisconsin. This was very important to us early in our careers, living in Madison and going to school there, working for the Governor. And I say, I covered the state from one end to the other with Warren Knowles, and then later on, worked for Bill Steiger, who, of course, was the congressman from the -- what was then the sixth district -- great guy, and really gave me my start in Washington when I first arrived there.

So we have many fond memories of Wisconsin. And one of the privileges of working for the Governor was he was a great Packer fan. (Laughter.) And we used to catch football games. (Applause.)

Bart, you want to say a word or two? It's good to be back.

MR. STARR: Thank you. It is -- it's great to be back. And I'm just glad that I -- that time when I was playing and not coaching -- (Laughter.)

Just quickly, as I was looking at the buses downtown before coming out here, noting the words on it, a safer America, a more hopeful, safer world -- a more hopeful America, I couldn't help but think of how privileged we are to be in this man, and his wife's company today. I've never been around -- I told him earlier -- I've never been around someone I was more impressed with when I had met him back in 2000. And what they stand for is class, is dignity, is responsibility, is commitment. It's just a joy to be in his presence. So I'm very, very honored to be here with you today.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, sir. It's our privilege to get to spend the day with you, Bart. And maybe we can just open it up to questions, if anybody has got anything they'd like to talk about, any issues you'd like to raise.

Yes, sir.

Q Mr. Vice President, I'm a dairy farmer (inaudible). And I'd like to commend the administration for supporting the (inaudible) program that George Bush signed (inaudible). And also, I think, we're still seeing a lot of farmers (inaudible) with health care. And there are some programs we have in Wisconsin here. And I think if they could be coordinated well with what you and George Bush want to do for health care in this country. It's an experimental program that would be jointly shared with the state and federal government. So I'm hoping that we'll see some focus on that, and continue to work in that area.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Sure. You say this is a program the state runs now?

Q It's an experimental one now that we're trying to put together, and we are having some problems with the USDA people, and agriculture appropriations -- Senator Bennett -- who would be responsible for helping us out in this area. And I think it would be a very good program, and it will bring affordable health insurance to farmers who find it difficult to be able to buy it. It's getting to be very expensive, and this would be a pooling program that would help a lot.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Sure. Now, that's one of the things we're pushing. We hadn't -- I hadn't seen it in connection with agriculture so much, although it might have application there, too, is this notion of what is called association health plans. It has been targeted upon small operators, small businesses and so forth who would be allowed to pool their purchases, in effect, and get the same kind of pricing and discounts that a large corporation can get in terms of acquiring health insurance for their people. That kind of concept, with respect to agriculture?

Q Yes, right. Basically, farmers -- small farmers would be in on it, and then the small business people who can't afford to supply it for their employees and things like that.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Yes, the same principle would apply. And it's one of our priorities, one of the things the President talks about in connection with health care and health care costs. And we have not been able to get the legislation through the Congress yet, but we'll keep working it. But it is a very important concept. And especially, when you think about -- from our perspective, whether you're talking about agriculture, from the standpoint of small business, seven out of 10 jobs in the country, new jobs are created in small businesses. And it turns out that about 60 percent of the people in the country who don't have health insurance are employees or owners of small businesses -- because of the cost that's associated with it, and their inability to take advantage of those larger discounts. So it is one we'll continue to push on. I hadn't heard about it in connection specifically with agriculture, but we'll take a look at it.

Q It's an experimental model. And it will be coop care -- so it will be controlled by the people that belong to it.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: So you belong to a coop and the health insurance will be part of the deal.

Q Right.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: It's an interesting idea.

Q Mr. Vice President, first as a small business person, I wanted to share that the tax cut from the economic policy of your administration really has made a significant difference. It has enabled us to reinvest in our business. And we've added over a hundred jobs in the past two years. And we see, certainly, that aggressive tax policy and maintaining a strong economy are important -- as well as recognizing that national security -- and security gives us the chance -- or enables us to have the security and the confidence to reinvest in our businesses. Could you share some of your thoughts both on the war on terror and economic, and it's impact on the economy as a whole?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Sure. Can I ask what kind of business you're in?

Q Yes, we're in a trucking company. We have a trucking operation that's located here in Green Bay, in Florida, and in Oklahoma.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I see. And you say -- and you've added a hundred employees in the last year?

Q We have. In two years, we've gone from a hundred people to now 215 people, and have invested about $11 million in assets that have enabled us to do that. And really when you look back, directly at the impact of the tax policy, and the strong environment for small business, it has really enabled us to do that. And you're right it's going to be small business that really drives the economy and creates new jobs. And we see evidence of it every day. And the policies that are happening at the national level are absolutely critical for us to be able to continue to invest in our business and continue to grow and generate those jobs.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Right. Well, we think going forward, with respect to the economy in particular, we think the tax policy that we put in place has been instrumental in getting us through the recession that really was there -- we inherited, as we were sworn in. And of course, it was made worse by the attacks of 9/11. We lost about a million jobs within a matter of a few weeks after the 9/11 attack. And it still had an impact on the airline industry and so forth.

One of the keys in the future will be for us to make those tax cuts permanent. Because of the way the Senate rules work, those tax cuts will expire a certain number of years out. And one of the things we're working on right now is to get legislation through that would leave those rates where we took them after we'd reduced rates. We doubled the child tax credit, reduced the marriage penalty, repealed the death tax over time so you can pass on a farm, or a ranch, or a small business to the next generation. But all of those provisions will sunset unless we can get permanent passage of them. And that's one of the items that will be a priority for us.

In other areas, we need -- with respect to small business and the economy, generally, we need to address health care costs. We've talked a little bit about the health insurance problem. But medical liability is a huge issue a lot of places around the country. I don't know what the situation is here in Wisconsin. I know I was in Ohio yesterday. It's a major problem there, big problem in my home state of Wyoming. The cost of malpractice insurance has gotten so high for doctors that a lot of them are just having to give up the ghost and move to states where there are controls so they can practice there.

In Wyoming, we just had a special session of the legislature to try to address these problems. For a new doctor just starting to practice in the home state of Wyoming costs about $80,000 up front, cash lay out -- outlay for health insurance. So we need to reform our medical liability system in order to cap some of those costs, and that's another important area.

Energy is an important area. You can't have a strong, viable economy without sound energy policy. We've been battling with that for three years now. We've gotten the bill through the House. We came two votes short in the Senate, and we'll continue to push that hard, as well, too. Senators Kerry and Edwards didn't show up for the vote in the Senate. And they opposed our package. But we need two more votes, and we'll be able to get sensible policy in place there -- so a series of items like that.

There's no silver bullet with respect to the economy. There are a whole series of things, regulation -- making certain that regulations aren't too burdensome; fair and effective trade policy -- opening up foreign markets to U.S. producers and manufacturers, as well as taxes, health care, education and so forth. And all of those were part of the President's agenda that he talked about in New York the other night with his acceptance speech at the convention.

Q Thank you.


Q Mr. Vice President, I represent veterans from the state of Wisconsin. And I'm a past national commander of Uniformed Services Disabled Retirees. And during your and the President's term, you have accomplished more for us disabled retirees and disabled veterans than they have in this country in the last 40 years. And we just ask that all of the young men and women that are coming back from Iraq, that you continue that support, and that we do not falter in our job in Iraq because we just feel that that is so important to bring down terrorism in this country.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, we appreciate that very much, and appreciate your service. And one of the things I know -- (Applause.) One of the things I know -- I guess, everybody is listening in. (Laughter.) With respect to caring for our veterans, that's an absolute commitment that has been there, needs to be there. And the President feels very strongly about one of the promises he made during the last campaign was that we'd make certain that the troops had the resources they need and the respect they deserve. And we've tried very hard to do that. And with respect to veterans, one of the -- a couple of key indicators, I guess, one is that if you look at spending on veterans over the last four years, we have done twice as much by way of increases as the Clinton administration did throughout eight years in terms of meeting the requirements and needs of our veterans. And of course, the concurrent receipts legislation has been one of the most important pieces of legislation in a long time.

Q Well, I am a recipient of concurrent receipt and combat-related specialty pay, so I know what that means.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: It's very important.

Q It has just brought so many rewards from the veterans. This is an important issue.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Yes. The President is the first one ever to sign that legislation. So it's a significant -- a significant milestone and achievement.

With respect to Iraq and the war on terror, maybe I can just take a couple of minutes and talk about that and respond to the questions. In effect, what happened with 9/11 is it really forced us to think in new ways about the nature of the threat to the United States, about the kind of strategies we had to pursue in terms of defending the U.S. And so we've made significant changes, if you will, in our national security strategy.

At the heart of that was the President's decision that we would not only go after the terrorists, but we would also go after states that supported terror -- that provided sanctuary or safe harbor for terrorists; provided support for them, or training, or financial assistance, or weapons. And that was a new departure. And it was absolutely necessary for us to do that, especially in Afghanistan, where we first gave the Taliban the opportunity to cough up the al Qaeda organization. But when they failed to do that, we moved in and, obviously, took down the government of Afghanistan -- the Taliban government. We captured or killed hundreds of al Qaeda. We closed the training camps. There were training camps throughout Afghanistan that had been used to train some of the terrorists who attacked the United States on 9/11, as well as about total -- one estimate is about 20,000 terrorists in the late '90s went through those camps, and then went back out to their home countries and set up cells in various countries around the world. So that was a major achievement. And then, of course, when we moved into Iraq, took down Saddam Hussein's regime, he had a history of 12 years of defying the international community. He had produced and used weapons of mass destruction in the past, on his own people and on the Iranians. He had provided sanctuary and support for terrorists in the past. They used to pay $25,000 to the family of suicide bombers who'd kill Israelis. He hosted Abu Nidal. There was a relationship with al Qaeda. There's no question but what the world is better off today with Saddam Hussein in jail and his government shut down. And both in Afghanistan and Iraq now, we're actively involved in standing up new governments and new security forces.

In Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai is the interim President. They'll have elections next month in October, before our election. They've got -- 10 million people have registered to vote in Afghanistan -- never before in history have had that -- (applause) -- that election -- they've already written the constitution. They'll have a democratically elected government in place by the end of the year. And that's a huge change from what was there just three years ago when that was the base from which al Qaeda launched the attack that killed 3,000 Americans.

In Iraq, we're attempting the same basic operation. We've got an interim government stood up now. The Iraqis control all the ministries. Mr. Allawi, the Prime Minister, is in place -- will probably be coming to the United States in a couple weeks for the U.N. General Assembly meeting up in New York. That's still an open question. But at the same time, they're getting ready to hold elections in January.

They've now created an advisory national -- a national advisory body. In January, they'll elect, in effect, their first constitutional assembly, if you will, a group of Iraqis that will come together and write a constitution for Iraq, and that will ultimately lead to elections for a new government in December of next year, of '05. Both in Iraq and Afghanistan, we're also spending a lot of time and effort training the Iraqis and the Afghans to deal with their own security problem, that is building an Afghan national army, building an army in Iraq, and security forces, police forces, people that can control the borders so that they can take over the responsibility for dealing with the old elements of the old regime, and any terrorists that are left operating in those nations. That's a very important part of our overall strategy, as well, too.

And you're absolutely right. The key here is not just to go close training camps, or to capture or kill terrorists, you've also got to go change the circumstances on the ground that breed terrorism, and that led to the failed state in Afghanistan, and to the -- obviously, the situation in Iraq that constituted a threat to people in the region, as well as an emerging threat to the United States. So it's a very important piece of work. It's part of a worldwide effort that has to be mounted in terms of working with other intelligence services, drying up the financial networks that support terror.

It's important for us to remember this is a global problem. This is not just a U.S. problem. Remember all the attacks that have occurred since 9/11 elsewhere in the world; including Madrid, last spring; including Casablanca, in Morocco; including Mombassa, in East Africa; including Istanbul, in Turkey; and Riyadh, in Saudi Arabia; and Bali and Jakarta, in Indonesia -- mostly recently in Jakarta just this last week, when they made an abortive attempt at the Australian embassy -- or what happened in Russia last week, where -- took down two airliners, and then a few days later, moved in on that school, killed over 350 people, most of the school children. That is a global, worldwide problem that the civilized world cannot accept. And the United States, obviously, will play a leading role in dealing with that global war on terror for the foreseeable future.

I wish we could say there is a point at which they'll sign a treaty, and the war will be over with. But it's not that kind of conflict. It's the kind of conflict that's going to take a long time for us to resolve. And we'll have to be on our guard. They'll continue to try to attack us. We have done a lot to harden the target here at home to improve our defenses -- created the Department of Homeland Security, passed the Patriot Act to give our law enforcement people the tools they need to prosecute terror. But in the final analysis, even if we're successful 99 percent of the time, it's a little bit like football, Bart, a good defense isn't enough, we got to go on offense. And that has been the key to the President's strategy.

I think it's one of the major differences in terms of how we perceive what is required in the future, and how a Kerry administration would perceive what is required in the future. He's still very uncertain about Iraq. He has been for it. He's been against it. He obviously can't make up his mind exactly how he would have dealt with those conditions and circumstances. And I think George Bush has provided the kind of leadership we need, and that we need to retain for the next four years in order to prevail in the war on terror. (Applause.)

Q Along with that theme, Mr. Vice President, I appreciate your acknowledgment of the balance between the security operations that are occurring right now in both Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the civil military operations, that aspect. Green Bay has sent 130 of its citizen soldiers, and we recently served -- returned about four months ago, after a 14-month tour. It's a civil affairs battalion, and we were responsible for over 50 percent of the nation, of establishing the government as it currently is, restoring essential services. It's probably one of the most proudest moments of my life, being able to help in that mission.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: You were over there with your unit for 14 months you say?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Yes, sir. Yes, we returned April 22nd. I want you to know that since I've been home and I'm watching the media, you would never know that this is one of America's finest moments. I remember Jeane Kirkpatrick had made a statement to the United Nations, she's our former ambassador to the United Nations. She had made the statement that, every once in a while America has to look at itself in the mirror and be prepared for a pleasant reflection, and here is a beautiful reflection. And I watched you at the Republican Convention with that swagger in your speech -- (laughter) -- confident that you know that -- I'm a school teacher. I teach government and economics to eighth grade. And I have always talked about the veterans, the generation -- the greatest generation, World War II, and the sacrifices that this nation has made in resources in man -- in manpower, and monetary resources to make the world a better place. And I know -- and I felt that, in your speech, you know that this is going to go down as one of those moments that I be teaching when I retire, that this is one of those times when this generation of Americans, with a huge sacrifice, made the world a tremendously better place. I thank you for your vision.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, sir. (Applause.) And thank you for what you did for all of us. We're glad to have you home. (Applause.)

Q Mr. Vice President, welcome to Wisconsin. It's a pleasure having you back. I'm an executive director of a faith-based organization called Rawhide Boys Ranch, here in Wisconsin. And we are a youth-serving organization. We work with court-referred and at-risk youth. And the gentleman sitting next to you, actually, is our co-founder, and has invested 40 years of his life in terms of seeing this mission succeed. We work with young men from the inner city of Milwaukee, as well as throughout Wisconsin to redirect their lives.

And a couple things I'd like to address with you. One is just a favor. There is some legislation coming forward that is going to make it -- help to make it more restrictive to donate used vehicles to the charities, and the situation that is a wonderful source of support for a nonprofit organization. Rawhide has benefited from it. We serve more youth because of it. And we give them an environment that truly is making a difference in their lives. In fact, we're on the theme of Iraq right now -- I'm just going to point out, one of our alumni actually served in Iraq. He's in the U.S. Army Airborne Rangers, and served in Afghanistan, and served in Iraq, and actually participated in the capture of Saddam Hussein. He was among the special operations unit that was involved in that raid. And so we're very proud of him. Bart is proud of him. And we know that this type of donation makes a big difference. And Senator Grassley from Iowa is proposing to kind of limit that. And we'd certainly appreciate if the administration would consider not making it more difficult for people to donate things that they feel are a value to them, and could make a difference for a charity. It serves as a job training environment for our youth. These vehicles come, and so it serves them in that way, as well -- as well as it raises support for us.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: You got some paper or specifics on it, we'll be happy -- I'll be happy to talk to Chuck and see what the story is.

Q My question has to do with your trip to Milwaukee. We're reading stories recently about roving gangs of youth going throughout the city of Milwaukee, and encountering other youth, and actually beating them. And so it is becoming quite a situation. I'm wondering if you could just comment on the administration's vision for assisting youth who are at-risk, or in desperate situations, in terms how the government's vision is in terms of assisting them and seeing them have greater hope for their future.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, one of the things, of course, that the President campaigned on last time around and continues to push very hard on is exactly the kind of organization you represent -- the notion of faith-based, charitable organizations that really do wonders in our society. And it's not government. It's out there in the private sector. It's groups and organizations of various kind that come together for worthy purposes to deal with problems in the community, and to help, especially at-risk youth. And he's pushed hard to -- and we've done a lot by executive order, but we'd like to get legislation through that would make it possible for organizations to receive support without being discriminated against by the government, in terms of the way that whole mechanism works. And we'll continue to push hard on that in the future.

Other areas that I think are vital that contribute long-term to solutions in those areas -- is reform of the education system. You look at one of the issues that George Bush felt most strongly about, really was, I think, was one of the motivators for his running for governor in Texas was the problems in the education system -- and so in Texas, he moved aggressively to establish high standards and accountability, had some considerable success. And the first piece of legislation he introduced when he got to Washington was the No Child Left Behind Act, and of course, reached out, got bipartisan support for it. Ted Kennedy signed on. John Kerry supported it. He has problems with it now. But at one time he supported it. (Laughter.) And the NCLB is, I think, the most important reform of the education system in about 40 years. Lynne knows more about it than I do. She's the education expert.

But we have increased spending on Title I and Title II of elementary and secondary education by some 49 percent in the four years -- the three years, I guess, now that we've been there. It is a major priority for us going forward. The President talked the other night in his acceptance speech about some additional initiatives we want to pursue in that area. We're talking about taking the same concept -- that is establishing standards and having tests to measure progress for our elementary schools, and moving that now to the secondary schools, as well, too, so that we get schools that work, schools that don't fail to address the achievement gap -- especially between the majority of our students and minority groups of various kinds. I think teachers benefit from that. They want accountability. Parents want accountability. And we need public schools that work. Lynne and I were products of public school. I would guess most of us around the table are. Our daughters went to public schools. And in our day, that was the route up. That's how you got the skills and talents you needed. And it's especially important in the inner city where oftentimes there aren't other institutions that work that can help young people find the true path in life. So those are all some of the things we'll continue to push and work on.

Q Hi, Mr. Vice President. Welcome to Green Bay. I'm a small business owner. I'm actually in the brewing and restaurant business. And Wyoming and Wisconsin have the lowest state taxes on brewing. So I appreciate -- I don't know if you had anything to do with that. (Laughter.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I didn't have anything to do with it, but I'll take credit. (Laughter.)

Q Okay. Only like $2 a barrel. Anyway, that's something in common we have, too. I just want to continue to emphasize to simplify our tax code, the marriage penalty -- getting rid of that was a real benefit for my wife and I. We have three children, too. So that just -- it really helps out. And I think I just continue to encourage you to continue to simplify our tax code. Because when I hear the other candidate talking about tax credits. And to me that means your accountant has got to figure more stuff, and more lines. And it's really -- you don't see the benefit. When at the bottom of the line, you get that money back, it means a lot. So I just -- continue to fight for that.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: No, well, we appreciate that. I think it has been one of the President's real contributions is what we've done to the tax code because it was revolutionary in many respects -- not just reductions, but rather reform. We doubled the expensing for small business to be able to buy equipment and expand the business -- buy equipment or vehicles and so forth from $25,000 I think to $100,000 a year. And those kinds of changes have lasting significance for firms, as well, too.

With respect to simplification, it's something the President talked about the other night. Anybody who sets down and tries to figure their own taxes, recognizes how enormously complex it has gotten. One estimate I've seen -- I can't remember the exact number now -- we spend billions, though, every year just trying to comply with a tax code that was designed to collect enough revenue to operate the government. And when we make it as complicated as we have, that's wasted effort. There's great inefficiencies built into the system. So the President has indicated he wants to try to put together a bipartisan effort to reform and simplify the tax code in a second term. And it's one of the priorities that we'll be talking about.

Q Thank you.


Q Mr. Vice President, I want to commend you on what you are doing with the No Child Left Behind. I'm a retired school teacher. And I see -- after 35 years of teaching, I have seen that there's no child that doesn't have potential for something. And they may not be the A students, they may not be the top athletes, but they have something to offer to everyone. And so I'm very interested and concerned about that bill, and that program -- the No Child Left Behind. I'm wondering is there something that can be done more locally with that program? It seems kind of dormant in some places.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Kind of dormant?

Q Yes.


Q Because it's not moving.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, basically what it has done -- and maybe -- I suppose it depends, in part, on the quality of your schools here in Green Bay, and in Wisconsin. My guess is the school system, generally, in Wisconsin is pretty good.

Q I think we have --

THE VICE PRESIDENT: And so you don't have as many of the kinds of problems that we've got in some other areas of the country. But the basic principle, of course, is to test in certain grades on a regular basis, on an individual basis so that we know whether or not the school is producing the desired results, and so that individual students are performing up to snuff, and that when we have failing schools, that the parents are given opportunities if those schools fail to meet with the necessary standards, that they've got options to send their kids to other schools -- other public schools, or to require to achieve and receive funding for tutors, for example, to improve the performance of their own kids. It's that basic notion of testing and high standards and of accountability that's the heart of the effort. And, I say, we've provided significant funding to carry out that program now. And the next step is to apply it at the secondary level, as well, too. I'm not familiar with the specific circumstances in Wisconsin. My general impression, though, is the school system here is in pretty good shape.

Q We do have good volunteer backgrounds in Wisconsin, I think -- or at least in our community. And I think that is helping with a lot of individualized tutoring. And I think -- that is headed in that direction. And that is why I think Kerry's idea of just giving $4,000 to every kid that wants to go to college, and then pay it back in community service like babysitting and things like is so ridiculous.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Okay. Do you want to say anything? I usually defer to Lynne on education. (Laughter.)

MRS. CHENEY: I actually think I knew George Bush as a policymaker before Dick did. Because we were living in Texas, and I watched what he was doing. And he was just convinced that we don't need to settle for schools where there's this achievement gap between Anglo youngsters and Hispanic youngsters, between African American youngsters and Anglo youngsters. He just didn't accept that we need to do that, and that if we set high standards no child should be left behind. And we've begun to close that gap. It's something we still have to work on. But early results across the nation, there's some indications that we're beginning to close that gap. And it is so important to make sure that -- as Dick often says in his speech that every child who is born in this country has a chance to rise and succeed in the world. That's a goal we have to set.

Q I'm a pastor. And I just want to thank you. A big issue for me, of course, in our church is pro-family, and pro-life. And you talk about terrorism, the womb should be the safest place. And I want to thank you and the President for your strong support for the family and for protecting the unborn. And I don't know what the future strategies are, but it's very strong, I think, for the moral fiber of America. And we just wanted to thank you for that.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you. No, it's something the President feels very strongly about. And we'll continue to work on very aggressively.

Q Thank you.

Q Mr. Vice President, we want to thank you for coming here to Green Bay. We're very pleased to have a chance to spend some time with you this morning. I know you've got a busy schedule. I just wanted to thank you for coming in today and sharing your time with us. Best of luck with the rest of the trip in Wisconsin. All of you enjoy the state and thank you for coming.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: All right, well, we appreciate that. Maybe I can grab you two on the way out, and get a --

Q I wanted to say thank you for coming.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: All right, well, thank you.

END 9:20 A.M. CDT

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