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

For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
September 12, 2005

Vice President's Remarks to the National Restaurant Association
Grand Hyatt Hotel
Washington, D.C.

4:33 P.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. I guess, we've got somebody here from Wyoming, huh? (Laughter.) Right back there.

I was Wyoming's congressman for 10 years, elected six times. And of course, as Craig mentioned Wyoming only had one congressman. It was a small delegation, but it was quality. (Laughter.)

But I'm delighted to be here this afternoon. I want to thank Craig for those words. And I'm pleased to have the opportunity to welcome all of you to Washington. I saw Bob Novak on the way out. It's always easy to follow Novak; he's so depressing, he leaves everybody -- (Laughter.) So I got to do that for years. (Laughter.)

And although I know this is an annual conference, I assume some of you are visiting for the first time, and we want to welcome you to the Nation's Capital.

I appreciate the chance to say a few words to the members your organization and to bring greetings to all of you from our President, George W. Bush. (Applause.)

You've come to Washington in a busy season, and this is, of course, an especially eventful time for our nation.

The President today is traveling once again down to the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. I was down just this weekend, met with officials at the federal, state and local in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. The devastation, of course, is enormous, and the work of cleanup and rebuilding is going to be one of the most large scale -- or largest scale projects the nation has ever undertaken.

It will take time, but we believe that we will get the job done. There is a good strategy in place, a range of assets has been deployed, our active duty troops and National Guard are providing security and logistic support. Emergency responders are working around the clock to assist the victims. Local communities, churches and civic organizations are coming together to help those in need. And the President and the Congress are providing massive assistance to our fellow citizens.

I know that, like many others in this country, members of the National Restaurant Association have reached out to give help to victims of the hurricane and the floods afterwards. I want to thank you for your compassion and for your generosity to your fellow citizens who are trying to rebuild their lives and reclaim their future. As tough as this has been, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the people and the communities on the Gulf Coast are going to overcome these difficulties and come back stronger than ever. (Applause.)

Families will return to their homes; our schools will reopen; the economy is going to be back on track; and we will get the job done. And when it comes to the great city of New Orleans, I think Americans are confident that it's going to be back as an even greater city in the future.

As we answer the crisis on the Gulf Coast, we are going to continue working on other great priorities for the country -- to keep the economy moving forward, to extend America's prosperity into the lives of even more of our citizens, and to protect the nation against those who wish to harm us.

As the President has said many times, we did not come to Washington simply to mark time, but rather to face challenges squarely, to act when action is required, to solve problems instead of simply passing them on to future generations. That has been our approach from the first day we arrived.

When we took office four-and-a-half-years ago, the economy was sliding into recession. To get it growing again, we delivered tax relief four times in four years. We doubled the child tax credit, decreased the marriage penalty, cut taxes across the board. We gave small businesses strong incentives to invest, and we phased out the death tax, so that families and farmers can leave behind to their families more of what they earned. (Applause.)

These were the right policies for our struggling economy, and now we're seeing the results. Americans today have more money to spend, to save, and invest, and they are using it to drive the economy forward. Even allowing for the economic impact of the hurricane on the Gulf Coast, our economy is resilient and still on an upward path. The home ownership rate is high. Interest rates are low. Manufacturing activity is strong. Productivity is high. We've seen job gains steadily now for 27 straight months. Since May of '03, this economy has generated over four million new jobs, and more Americans are working today than ever before in our history.

At the same time, federal revenues are increasing -- proving once again that lower taxes are an incentive for entrepreneurs to start businesses, to invest in equipment, and to hire new workers. Thanks to a pro-growth agenda, the federal deficit has been falling more quickly than projected.

To keep the economy on track, we're going to continue to be good stewards of the taxpayer dollars. For the sake of long-term growth and job creation, we need to make tax relief permanent, and we need to maintain strong economic growth in order to generate the revenues that the government clearly needs to meet our most urgent priorities.

We'll also keep the economy strong by delivering regulatory relief and legal reforms that spare honest restaurant owners and other honest entrepreneurs from junk lawsuits.

And in a time when all of us are concerned about higher gasoline prices, we have set the nation on a better course to the future with an energy policy -- recently enacted by the Congress -- that will expand production, promote conservation and new technology, and make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy.

To build a stronger, better America for the next generation, we must also uphold the values that sustain our society -- limited government, personal responsibility, free enterprise, reverence for life, and equal justice under the law. And in this second term, President Bush will continue nominating federal judges who faithfully interpret the law, instead of legislating from the bench. (Applause.)

Throughout his time in office, the President has nominated men and women who meet the highest standards of legal training, temperament, and judgment -- the very kind of standards that were embodied in the late Chief Justice, William Rehnquist. In keeping with this commitment, President Bush has nominated a man of experience, wisdom, and character, Judge John Roberts, to be the next Chief Justice of the United States.

Judge Roberts is universally regarded as one of the most distinguished and talented lawyers in the country today. Two years ago he was confirmed by unanimous consent to the second-highest court in the land. He comes before the Senate Judiciary Committee for hearings beginning this afternoon, and the President and I have full confidence that the Senate will recognize the high caliber of this man and confirm him promptly with a fair up or down vote.

In this time of testing for our country, the President and I understand that our greatest responsibility is to provide for the active defense of the American people.

Yesterday was the anniversary of the attacks on our country four years ago. And even though four years have passed since 9/11, we have continuing, urgent duties. That morning in 2001 changed everything for our country, as we began fighting a new kind of war against determined enemies. The terrorists behind 9/11 have declared their intention to kill great numbers of innocent Americans, and they seek ever more deadly means of doing so. There's a brand new tape out just today with more threats from the al Qaeda organization.

This ongoing threat demands a comprehensive, effective response -- to make the nation better able to respond to any future attacks, to reduce our vulnerability, and, above all, to hunt down the terrorists before they can hit us again.

Every morning President Bush and I receive an intelligence briefing that includes a review of the threats we face. The enemy that appeared on 9/11 is wounded, off-balance, and on the run -- yet still very active, still seeking new recruits, still trying to hit us.

Since 9/11 they have continued to kill at random in Casablanca, Jakarta, Mombassa, Bali, Riyadh, Baghdad, Istanbul, Madrid, London, Sharm el-Sheikh and elsewhere. Killers who target innocent, unsuspecting men, women, and children during a morning rush hour, or fly passenger jets into buildings, are not the kind of people you can bring to the bargaining table and sit down for a reasonable exchange of ideas. Our only option against these enemies is to find them, to fight them, and to destroy them. (Applause.)

In these 48 months, we have been unrelenting in the effort to defend freedom and the security of the American people. In a multinational campaign, we continue to make progress on many fronts -- financial, legal, military, and others. We are dealing with a network that has had cells in countries all over the globe. Yet bit by bit, through diplomacy and by force, with our allies and partners, we are acting to shrink the area in which they can operate freely.

Many countries have joined us in tracking the enemy, disrupting plots against America and our friends, destroying the training camps of terror, and closing off their access to funding. With good allies at our side we removed two brutal regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. We have persuaded the regime in Libya to voluntarily surrender its nuclear weapons program. We have uncovered a sophisticated, large-scale network selling nuclear technology on the international black market, and we have shut that network down.

The United States has acted decisively, and we have sent a clear message: We will not stand by and allow terrorists to find safe haven, or to gain weapons for mass murder.

There is still hard work ahead, and the world is continuing to count on the United States for leadership. We have no illusions about the difficulty of engaging enemies who dwell in the shadows and recognize neither the laws of warfare nor standards of morality. We cannot predict the length or the course of the war on terror. Yet we know with certainty that with good allies at our side, this great nation will prevail. (Applause.)

Yet overcoming threats is only the beginning of America's responsibilities. In the broader Middle East, we are encouraging free markets, democracy, and tolerance -- because these are the ideas and the aspirations that overcome violence, and turn societies to the pursuit of peace.

Like other great duties in history, it will require decades of patient effort, and it will be resisted by those whose only hope for power is the spread of violence. Yet the direction of events is clear. Afghanistan has held the first free elections in the nation's 5,000-year history. The Palestinian people have chosen a new President and have new hopes for democracy and peace.

In Lebanon, citizens have poured into the streets to demand freedom to determine a peaceful future for their own country as a fully independent member of the world community. And in Iraq, voters turned out in incredible numbers and elected leaders who are now preparing the way for a new constitution and a representative, pluralistic government. We are seeing the power of freedom to change our world, and all who strive for freedom can know that the United States of America is on their side. (Applause.)

We know from history that the technology of warfare is always changing. And in our own time that technology is more deadly than ever. Yet our most basic military asset has not changed in the slightest. It is the character, the daring, and the resourcefulness of those who man the aircraft and the ships, and carry the rifles.

For those of you with family members in the armed forces, you can be tremendously proud of their service. There is simply no way to overstate the quality of our men and women in uniform, or the skill and the bravery that we're seeing every day. American soldiers and Marines are hanging tough, going directly into the face of danger, rooting out deadly enemies, and dealing with them. They are going to keep going after the terrorists, and continue training the Iraqi military, so that Iraqis can eventually take the lead in providing for their country's security. That mission will be successful. And when it has concluded, the American people will welcome our military home as the heroes they are. (Applause.)

As I said earlier, this is an eventful time for our country, and President Bush and I recognize that the American people have entrusted us with great responsibilities for the prosperity and security of our country. We've set big goals. They're not always easy to achieve. And if they were, somebody would have done them already. But it's more than worth the effort, and we'll give it everything we have.

We're also very grateful for the support of people like you -- entrepreneurs from the heart of America who are committed to working hard, improving your communities, creating jobs and opportunity for others. You have our respect and admiration, and I greatly appreciate your hospitality here today.

Thank you very much.

END 4:42 P.M. EDT

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