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 Home > News & Policies > October 2004

For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
October 27, 2004

Vice President's Remarks in Washington, Pennsylvania
Remarks by the Vice President at a Victory 2004 Rally
Washington & Jefferson College
Henry Memorial Center
Washington, Pennsylvania

1:41 P.M. EDT

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


THE VICE PRESIDENT: All right. (Laughter.) Mercy.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: All right, we may just -- we may just stay here and -- right here all week, for the rest of the campaign. (Applause.) Well, that's a great welcome, and a great crowd. I can see, obviously, there's no doubt in my mind, this is Bush-Cheney country. (Applause.)

I know -- of course, the President has been out campaigning all across the country. I don't know how many of you noticed last week, Senator Kerry went goose hunting. (Laughter.) The Senator wore a new camouflage jacket for the occasion, which made me wonder how often he'd been goose hunting before. (Laughter.) My personal opinion is his camo jacket is an October disguise. (Laughter and applause.) It's an effort he's making to hide the fact that he votes against gun-owner rights at every turn. My fellow sportsmen, the cover-up isn't going to work because you and I know the Second Amendment is more than just a photo opportunity. (Applause.)

Now, Lynne -- when Lynne introduced me, she talked about knowing me since I was 14 years old, and that's true. But she wouldn't go out with me until I was 17. (Laughter.) I explain to people that we got married because Dwight Eisenhower got elected President of the United States. (Laughter.) In those days I was a youngster living in Nebraska. Dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service. Eisenhower got elected, and reorganized the government; Dad got transferred to Casper, Wyoming, which is where I met Lynne. And we grew up together, went to high school together and recently celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. (Applause.) I explained to a group the other night 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.) It's a great joke.

With just six days left in the campaign, the choices in the election could not be more clear. The stakes are very high, both at home and abroad. And I believe on November 2nd, the American people are going to make George W. Bush President for four more years. (Applause.)

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: It's a pleasure to be in this historic part of Pennsylvania, the first county in the United States to be named after George Washington -- or, as his friends might have called him, George W. (Applause.) This year, as in the early days of the republic, Pennsylvania is at the center of American politics. The nation will be watching the results here on Election Day, and it is absolutely essential that everyone get out and vote. And with your help and hard work, President Bush and I will carry Pennsylvania next Tuesday. (Applause.)

The President and I are delighted to be part of a great Republican ticket here in Pennsylvania this year. I want to thank Congressman Tim Murphy for his kind words and the great leadership he provides. (Applause.) And I also want to put in a good word for Senator Arlen Specter, although he couldn't be here today.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: This is a tough crowd. (Laughter and applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you, Mrs. Cheney. (Applause.)


THE VICE PRESIDENT: You're playing havoc with my concentration. (Laughter.)

The President and I are proud to work with all of your Republican members in the Nation's Capital. And I also want to mention to other great Pennsylvania leaders who could not join us today -- good friends of mine -- Senator Rick Santorum and former Governor Tom Ridge. (Applause.) After the attacks of 9/11, we created the Department of Homeland Security to focus our government on the mission of protecting the American people. Governor Tom Ridge has been involved in this effort since the beginning. (Applause.)

I also want to thank everyone who has put up signs, made phone calls to help turn out the vote. Grassroots activists are an essential part of this campaign, and the President and I are tremendously grateful for your support.

Pennsylvania voters understand the importance of steady, principled, consistent leadership in the White House. This is no ordinary time for America. Our country faces some serious challenges, but we are meeting each and every one of those challenges with strength and resolve. Today, people in Pennsylvania and across the land can be confident of a better future; a stronger economy; and a nation that is more secure because of the leadership of our President, George W. Bush. (Applause.)

Over the course of the last four years, I think people have seen very clearly the character and the vision of our President. He's a man of loyalty and kindness who speaks plainly and means what he says. He sets clear goals, and works with members of both parties to achieve them. He puts the country first and his deepest commitment is to making us safer, more prosperous, and more secure.

During the course of this campaign, we have seen something quite different in the President's opponent. He is a man who will say and do anything if he thinks it will advance his cause.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: I haven't even gotten to the good part yet. (Laughter.)

Just over a year ago, John Kerry did something truly unthinkable for a man who aspires to be Commander-in-Chief; he turned his back on the troops that he had earlier voted to send into combat because he thought it was to his political advantage to do so.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: Senator Kerry, you will remember, voted in favor of using force to oust Saddam Hussein, but then during the Democratic primary season when it came time to vote funds that would provide our fighting men and women with body armor, ammunition, jet fuel, and spare parts, Senator Kerry voted "no."


THE VICE PRESIDENT: He offered a ridiculous explanation which, frankly, I think will go down in the history of American politics. 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: Okay. But the real reason he turned his back on our troops was Howard Dean. Dean was the antiwar candidate; Dean was surging ahead in the polls; and so John Kerry, in order to advance himself in the Democratic primary, turned his back on the troops. He said his vote was "complicated," but, my friends, supporting American troops in combat should never be a complicated matter. (Applause.)

John Kerry will say and do anything in order to get elected. He will attack the Patriot Act -- after he voted for it. He will attack the No Child Left Behind Act -- after he voted for it. He will try to scare young people by raising the specter of the draft ?- when he knows that the only people who have supported the idea of bringing it back are two members of his own party. Nobody but a couple of Democrats wants to change the all-volunteer force because it's the finest military the world has ever known. (Applause.)

John Kerry will say and do anything to get elected. Most recently, he's been charging that American forces did not do enough to protect a weapons facility in Iraq, with the result that some 380 tons of explosives disappeared. But John Kerry doesn't know if those explosives were even at the weapons facility when our troops arrived. The charge he is making is so wild that his own advisors are saying they don't know if it's true. But John Kerry is not a man to let a shortage of facts bother him. (Laughter and applause.)

He rushed out to put up a TV ad saying there was a failure to secure these explosives, when he has no idea if they were even there to be secured. The title of John Kerry's TV ad is Obligation, which is pretty ironic if you think about it: The first obligation of a Commander-in-Chief is to support our men and women in combat. (Applause.) Which John Kerry failed to do a year ago when he voted against the funding they needed, and which he is failing to do now by making accusations without knowing the facts. Our troops ought to be praised for the 400,000 tons of weapons and explosives they've captured. (Applause.) At the same time, they've been building schools, training Iraqi forces, fighting an insurgency, they've seized 400,000 tons and are in the process of destroying them. These brave men and women deserve better than to have their actions called into question by a political candidate who is so ambitious, he can't wait for the facts. (Applause.)

John Kerry is playing armchair general, and he's not doing a very good job of it. This shouldn't surprise us given his weak record on national security. He first ran for Congress advocating the idea that we should deploy American troops only under the authority of the United Nations.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: He ran for the Senate on the platform that we should dismantle most of the major weapons systems Ronald Reagan used to keep the peace and win the Cold War.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: In 1991, when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and stood poised to dominate the Persian Gulf, John Kerry voted against Operation Desert Storm.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: And in the first debate this year, Senator Kerry said America had to meet some kind of global test before we could take military action.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: The President and I know better than that. We know that it is not our job to conduct international opinion polls, our job is to defend America. (Applause.)

Now, in the closing days of this campaign, John Kerry is trying every which way to cover up his record of weakness. But he can't do it. It won't work. As we like to say in Wyoming, you can put all the lipstick you want on a pig, but at the end of the day, it's still a pig. (Applause.) That's one of my favorites. (Laughter.)

John Kerry does not have the judgment or the conviction that America needs in a President. He is not a steadfast leader. Our President is. (Applause.)

Let me tell you why that matters. A country can never know what a President will be called upon to do. Think of the last four years; think of the challenges of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the global war on terror, and because our President is a man of strong character and steadfast determination, he has led us very well. At the Republican Convention, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani told the story of how on 9/11, he turned to his police commissioner, Bernie Kerik, and said, Thank God, George Bush is Commander-in-Chief. (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 shut down, the Taliban driven from power. In Iraq, we dealt with a gathering threat, and removed the regime of Saddam Hussein. Nineteen months ago, he controlled the lives of 25 million people. Today, he sits in jail. (Applause.)

We are also helping the people of Iraq and Afghanistan to build representative governments. In Afghanistan, 10 million people registered to vote, nearly half of them women. Elections were held two weeks ago, the first in the 5,000-year history of that country. (Applause.) In January, the people of Iraq will vote, as well. And we will be safer as a result. One of the lessons that history teaches is that institutions of self-government turn the energies of people away from violence to the peaceful work of building better lives. Freedom is the best antidote to terrorism. (Applause.)

Because of President Bush's determination in the war on terror, leaders around the world are getting the message. Just five days after Saddam Hussein was captured, Moammar Ghadafi in Libya agreed to abandon his nuclear weapons program and turn the materials over to the United States. (Applause.)

The biggest danger we face today is having nuclear weapons technology 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. And the world is safer as a result. (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 -- (Applause.) We will never seek a permission slip to defend the United States of America. (Applause.)

The clearest, most important difference in this campaign is simple to state: President Bush understands the war on terror and has a strategy for winning it; Senator Kerry does not.

All doubt on that matter was removed when Senator Kerry recently said that he wanted to lead America back to the place where we were -- to a time when terrorism was, in his word, a "nuisance."


THE VICE PRESIDENT: He compared it to illegal gambling or prostitution. That's the comparison he made.

When I read that, I thought to myself, when was terrorism only a nuisance? Was it a nuisance four years ago, when the USS Cole was attacked and we lost 17 sailors and nearly lost the ship? Was it a nuisance six years ago when they simultaneously attacked two of our embassies in East Africa and killed hundreds of people?


THE VICE PRESIDENT: Was terrorism just a nuisance 11 years ago, when they first bombed the World Trade Center in New York?


THE VICE PRESIDENT: Or 16 years ago, when Pan Am Flight 103 was blown out of the skies over Lockerbie Scotland?


THE VICE PRESIDENT: Or 21 years ago, when a suicide bomber in a truck drove into the barracks in Beirut and killed 241 Marines?


THE VICE PRESIDENT: My friends, there never was a time when terrorism was just a nuisance. (Applause.) Our goal -- our goal is not to reduce terror to some acceptable level. Our goal is to defeat terror, and with George Bush as our President, that's what we'll do. (Applause.)

These are not times for leaders who shift with the political winds; or who fail to understand the nature of the struggle we're in. 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!

AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love Mrs. Cheney!


THE VICE PRESIDENT: All right, control yourselves. (Laughter.)

President Bush knows our dedicated servicemen and women represent the very best of the United States of America. (Applause.) I want to thank them, and their families, and all the veterans with us here today for what they've done for all of us. (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 side of the Capitol and took the oath of office, the economy was sliding into recession. Then terrorists struck on 9/11 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 cuts for the American people not once, not twice, but four times in four years. (Applause.)

Every American who pays federal income taxes benefited from the Bush tax cuts, and so has the economy. We've created jobs for 13 consecutive months -? a total of over 1.9 million new jobs during that period. Here in Pennsylvania, more than 71,000 jobs since February of this year. (Applause.) Mortgage rates, interest rates, and inflation are all low. Consumers are confident; businesses are investing; families are taking home more of what they earn. (Applause.)

We're seeing record exports for farm products. Farm income is up. Our farm economy is strong and that's good for the entire nation. (Applause.)

We know there are still challenges, especially in our manufacturing communities. The President and I will not be satisfied until every American who wants to work can find a job. But this is a strong, growing economy -- don't let the Democrats tell you otherwise. (Applause.)

Our accomplishments these past four years have made America safer, stronger, and better. In our second term, we will keep moving forward with a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda. We'll work to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Applause.) And to help families and small businesses, we'll lead a bipartisan effort to reform and simplify the federal tax code. (Applause.)

We will work to end lawsuit abuse. We know it's a lot easier for America's businesses to hire workers if they don't have to keep hiring lawyers. (Applause.)

And we will continue to work to help parents and teachers improve our public schools so that all our children receive the world-class education they deserve. (Applause.) We will work to make it easier for small businesses to provide health insurance to their employees and for families to meet health care needs ?- and we'll do this in ways that keep health decisions in the hands of doctors and patients, not bureaucrats in Washington. (Applause.)

We will work for medical liability reform because we know the cost of malpractice insurance is creating a crisis, not only in Pennsylvania, but across the nation. America's doctors should be able to spend their time healing patients, not fighting off frivolous lawsuits. (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 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 we pledge allegiance to our 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.) 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. They are hoping to wait the President out. But I've got news for them. That's not going to happen because we're going to win this election. (Applause.)

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: My friends, the differences between the President and his opponent are as sharp as they can possibly be, and the consequences for the country are enormous. On vital matters of national security, Senator Kerry offers a record of weakness and a strategy of retreat. President Bush offers a record of steady purpose, resolute action, and a strategy for victory. Senator Kerry wants to empower government; President Bush will empower the citizens of this great land. John Kerry seems to think all wisdom is found in Washington, D.C.; George Bush trusts the wisdom of the American people. (Applause.)

Under President Bush's leadership, we will use America's 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 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.

The President and I are honored by your commitment to the cause we all share. President Bush and I will wage this effort with complete confidence in the American people. The signs are good -? here in Pennsylvania, 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. (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 Pennsylvania. I want to thank you for the tremendous welcome this morning. We're proud to have you on the team. (Applause.) And together, on November 2nd, we'll see our cause forward to victory.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

END 1:10 P.M. EDT