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For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
December 1, 2004

Vice President's Remarks at a Tauzin Rally in Louisiana
Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center
Houma, Louisiana

12:20 P.M. CST

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much. I haven't had this much fun since we beat John Kerry. (Applause.)

Well, it's -- we went through that campaign, and it was hard fought, then we won on November 2nd, and then you sort of decompress. And now, boy, I'm right back in the middle of it again. (Laughter.) You folks in Louisiana know how to operate; you just campaign all year 'round. (Laughter.)

But it's great to be back to visit America's South Coast, and I appreciate the warm welcome right here in Houma. And Louisiana, of course, is Bush-Cheney country. (Applause.)

And I'm delighted to be here today with your next congressman, Billy Tauzin III. Billy. (Applause.) Of course, I also want to wish Billy a Happy Birthday.

But it's great to see Billy's family here today, as well -? his wife Kristin, of course, the old man. (Laughter.) The Chairman and I served together in Congress for many years. I was the congressman from Wyoming for 10 years. Wyoming only had one congressman. (Laughter.) It was a small delegation. But it was quality. (Laughter and applause.) We had a great time serving together in the House, and he will be sorely missed. He's been a great member of the Congress.

I'm glad to see Bobby Jindal here today, as well, the newly elected member of the first district. (Applause.) And I'm honored, as well, to see your Republican Chairman here today, Roger Villere. (Applause.) And, of course, I bring good wishes to all of you from our newly reelected President of the United States, George W. Bush. (Applause.)

The President and I are deeply grateful for the tremendous support we received in Louisiana during the lengthy, hard-fought campaign. Because all of us worked together, the effort paid off. On Election Day, the President received more votes than any other candidate in the history of the country. (Applause.) He is the first presidential candidate since 1988 to receive a majority of the popular vote. George W. Bush received more than a million votes in Louisiana, and our ticket added additional states in Iowa and New Mexico, as well, for a broad, nationwide victory. And once again, I delivered the state of Wyoming for the Bush-Cheney ticket. (Laughter and applause.)

With strong voter turnout across the country, we also saw major Republican victories in both houses of Congress. Beginning next month, I will preside over a Senate with 55 Republican members. (Applause.) And it will be my great honor to swear in the first Republican senator ever elected by the people of Louisiana, Senator David Vitter. David. (Applause.)

As Vice President, I also maintain a close relationship with my friends in the House, where I served for better than a decade. When the men and women of the 109th Congress take their seats in January, we'll mark the sixth consecutive Congress with Republican control, and our largest House majority in 60 years. (Applause.)

In the election of 2004, big issues were set before the country, and discussed every day during the campaign. The President ran forthrightly on a clear agenda for this nation's future, and the nation responded by giving him a mandate. In the new term, we'll keep America's economy on an upward path. For the sake of this nation's freedom and security, we will continue to assert a confident American role in the world. To meet those duties, we need good allies in the Congress. And here in the third district, you can help out. The field has narrowed, the vote is Saturday, and the choice for south Louisiana is clear: It's time to elect Billy Tauzin to the Congress of the United States. (Applause.)

All of you know Billy very well. He has deep roots in this district, a close connection to the people who live here, and one of the most trusted names in Louisiana politics. He's supported by both Democrats and Republicans, he's an active member of the community, and he shares your values. He's committed to a healthy, growing economy that creates jobs and opportunities for the people of this district. He's committed to conserving the coastline, and to maintaining the very special way of life here in south Louisiana. Billy follows in a tradition of hard work, common sense, and a spirit of good will that puts the public interest ahead of partisanship. He'll work with members of both parties to achieve results for the people he serves, and he'll make you proud. Serving in the House is a serious responsibility, and President Bush and I ask you to send Billy to Washington, D.C. to help out. (Applause.)

He also shares the President's commitment to secure America, both at home and abroad. He'll stand with us to meet the greatest challenge of our time -? winning the global war on terror. That war continues, and we must persevere until the enemy is defeated and our nation is safe from danger. 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, and the Taliban driven from power. In Iraq, we dealt with a gathering threat, and removed the regime of Saddam Hussein. Twenty months ago, he controlled the lives of 25 million people. Today, he sits in jail. (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.

The biggest danger we face today is the possibility of having nuclear weapons fall into the hands of terrorists. The President is working with many countries in a global effort to end the trade and transfer of these deadly technologies. The most important result thus far 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 to defend the United States of America. (Applause.)

We are also helping the people of Iraq and Afghanistan build representative governments. In Afghanistan, 10 million people registered to vote, nearly half of them women. Elections were recently held -? the first in the 5,000-year history of that country. And in January, the people of Iraq will vote, as well. And the world will be safer as a result. (Applause.) 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. In the long run, the way to defeat the ideologies of terror is to spread the blessings of human freedom.

Some of the hardest duties in this war have fallen to the men and women of our military -? including Guard and Reserve personnel who have been called to active duty. Many of our troops have been deployed from Fort Polk and Barksdale Air Force Base, right here in Louisiana. Our people in uniform represent the very best of this country, and I want to thank them, their families, and all the veterans with us here today for all that they have done for America. (Applause.)

Our country requires strong leadership for our actions overseas, and the same is true for our policies here at home. Four years ago, when President Bush and I stood on the inaugural platform on the west front of the Capitol and took the oath of office, our economy was sliding into recession. Then terrorists struck on 9/11 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 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 14 consecutive months -? a total of nearly 2.4 million new jobs. Mortgage rates, and interest rates, and inflation are all low. Economic growth remains strong, businesses are investing, and families are taking home more of what they earn.

With Billy's support, we will keep our economy moving in the right direction by making the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Applause.) With Billy's support, we'll help families and small businesses by reforming and simplifying the federal tax code. (Applause.)

We will work to end lawsuit abuse because we know it's a lot easier for America's businesses to hire workers if they don't have to keep hiring lawyers. (Applause.) With Billy's support, we'll work for medical liability reform so America's doctors are able to spend their time healing patients, not fighting frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.)

With Billy's support, we'll continue working to adopt a comprehensive energy policy -? one that makes the United States less dependent on foreign sources of energy. (Applause.)

With Billy's support, 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.)

With Billy's support, we'll strengthen Social Security for our children and our grandchildren. Today's seniors don't need to worry -? Social Security is strong for them, and we'll protect their benefits. But younger workers are understandably worried about whether Social Security will be around when they need it. This is more than a problem to be solved; it is an opportunity to help millions of our fellow citizens find the security and the independence of ownership. For the sake of our children and grandchildren, we should allow young people to save some of their payroll taxes in a personal account -? a nest egg to call their own, which Washington politicians can never take away. (Applause.)

With Billy's support, President Bush and I will also continue to defend our society's fundamental rights and values. We stand for a culture of life, and reject the brutal practice of partial birth abortion. (Applause.) We stand strongly for the Second Amendment, and we'll defend the individual right of every American to bear arms. (Applause.) We believe our nation is "one nation under God" and that Americans ought to be able to say so when they pledge allegiance to the flag. (Applause.)

Under President Bush's leadership and with Billy's help, we'll continue using America's great power to serve great purposes. We'll protect our homeland by turning back and defeating the forces of terror, and spreading hope and freedom around the world. Here at home, we'll 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.

As we prepare for a new term in office, President Bush and I are proud to support Billy Tauzin. (Applause.) I am here today because this race is very important, and the outcome is in your hands. I want to thank you for supporting this fine new leader for south Louisiana. I look forward to welcoming him to Washington as a new member of the U.S. House of Representatives

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

END 12:34 P.M. CST

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