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

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 29, 2005

President's Remarks at Musgrave for Congress Luncheon
Comfort Inn Downtown
Denver, Colorado

1:24 P.M. MST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Thanks for the warm welcome. Thanks for the invitation, Marilyn. I am here because Marilyn Musgrave is a great Congresswoman. (Applause.) And she deserves to be reelected to the United States Congress. (Applause.)

And I want to thank you all for coming to support her. I want to remind you, it's one thing to support a person with your hard-earned wages; it's another thing to support a person with your time and efforts. So when the time comes, I hope you're dialing the phones and knocking on the doors and helping defeat the special interests that are trying to drive her out of office. (Applause.)

I appreciate Marilyn because she's a hard worker. You know, some of them get up to Congress and they take it easy, take things for granted. Not this Congressperson. She's home in her district because she cares about the people of Colorado. I know she cares about the people of Colorado because every time I see her she says, I want to remind you about the values that are important in Colorado. (Laughter.)

She's not only a hard worker, she brings common-sense values to Washington, D.C. And that's a town that needs some common-sense values. (Applause.) In order to keep this country safe, in order to keep this country strong, we need people like Marilyn Musgrave in the United States Congress. (Applause.)

By the way, Laura agrees with me. (Laughter.) I'd like us to hang around for lunch, but I've got to head back to Washington and have dinner with her -- and my mother and dad, by the way, who send their love, as well, to the Congresswoman. (Applause.)

I'm proud to have traveled from the airport not only with your great Governor, Bill Owens -- it's great to see you, Governor, thanks for being here -- but with Marilyn's husband, Steve. (Applause.) As a matter of fact, I've met so many Musgraves today -- (laughter) -- that if they all lived in the district, it would be a landslide. (Laughter.) Nothing like somebody in the Congress who loves her family and who understands the importance of family values. And that's Marilyn Musgrave. (Applause.)

Not only do we have the Governor here, we got the Lieutenant Governor, Jane Norton. Thanks for coming, Governor -- both Governors. Proud you're here. (Applause.) Mark Hillman, the Treasurer, is here; a lot of state and local officials. Thanks for coming. It's good to see my friend the Congressman, Bob Beauprez, and Claudia. Thanks for coming, Mr. Congressman. (Applause.)

I had the privilege of saying hello to former Senator Armstrong and his wife, Ellen. It's good to see the Senator. It looks like he's doing pretty good. Retirement hasn't been all that difficult on him. And nor has it been rough on former Congressman Schaffer, as well. (Applause.)

But most of all, I want to thank you all for working hard to get this good person back in Congress. We got a lot to do up there. These are extraordinary times that we live in. We're at war. I wish I could report to the people of Colorado the war was over. It's not. There's an enemy still out there that wants to inflict harm on the United States of America because of what we believe in.

We believe in the freedom of people to worship and speak their mind, the freedom of the press to print what they want. They believe in the opposite. They have a dark vision of the world. They have made their intentions clear. They want to establish a totalitarian empire that stretches from Spain to Indonesia. And one way for them to accomplish their objective is to drive us out of the Middle East, is to cause America to become isolated. It's not going to happen on my watch. (Applause.)

One of the reasons I'm proud to stand here with Marilyn is she understands the stakes, as well. It's important to have a -- somebody from the United States Congress from that district, from her district, who understands that on September the 11th, 2001, an enemy declared war on the United States of America, and we must do everything in our power to protect the American people.

This is an enemy that has declared their intentions in Iraq. They've got one weapon, by the way -- their ideology is so dark, nobody believes in it except for a handful, but they've got the capacity to kill innocent people and have those images on the TV screens around the world, all attempting to shake our will and to get us to retreat. They have stated openly their desire to do to Iraq what they did to Afghanistan, to convert that country into a safe haven so they can plan, plot and attack. We will defeat the enemy in Iraq. We will do our job to protect the American people. (Applause.)

The stakes are high, and it's important to have members of the United States Congress who understand that. Marilyn Musgrave understands that we're in a time of war. And in a time of war, it's important to support those who wear the uniform, the men and women who are courageous enough to volunteer for the United States military. (Applause.) Marilyn is a strong supporter for our troops, and that's important.

Marilyn also understands what I know, is that we've got a strategy for victory in Iraq. On the one hand, we'll help this good country develop into a democracy. And it's happening. Think about what's happened in such a brief period of time. You might compare it with our own history, which was a little rocky getting to our own constitutional process. In two-and-a-half years, that country has gone from a totalitarian dictator who is an enemy of the United States, to a transitional government, to the ratification of a constitution, and in two weeks' time, elections, to elect a government to serve the people for four years. Democracy is on the march in Iraq.

And at the same time, we're training the Iraqi troops so they can take the fight to the enemy. The Iraqis are becoming more and more capable of doing that which they want to do, which is secure their own country against terrorists and Saddamists. Listen, these people -- the mothers in Iraq are like the mothers here in Colorado; they want to raise their child in a free and peaceful society. And they've got citizens willing to sacrifice for that free and peaceful society.

Oh, I know there's some in Washington that have said, get out of Iraq now. They're wrong. Precipitous withdrawal of our troops would send the wrong signal to our own troops, send the wrong signal to the enemy, and send the wrong signal to people around the world who watch the commitment of the United States. We're going to stand squarely with the people of Iraq and help them develop a free society. (Applause.)

Marilyn also understands what I know, is that democracies yield the peace we all want. You know, I just came back from the Far East, had a great trip representing our country there. And it's -- and my time in Kyoto, Japan, it struck me again about how amazing the democratic process can be for laying the foundation for peace. I was there to -- as a guest of Prime Minister Koizumi, and we sat around the table talking about helping Iraq develop a democracy, and what do we do about the person in North Korea that is developing a nuclear weapons program, we think, and how do we keep the peace.

Sixty years ago, my dad fought the Japanese. Many of your relatives fought the Japanese, as well. They were the sworn enemy of the United States. Yet, in the year 2005, the President is sitting down with the Prime Minister talking about making the world a more peaceful place. Something happened, obviously, between when an 18-year-old fighter pilot -- Navy fighter pilot, I might add -- George H.W. Bush signed up and his son is the President. What happened was Japan developed a democracy, a Japanese-style democracy, but a democracy.

Democracies make the world more peaceful. Someday an American President is going to look back at this period of history and say, thank goodness the United States of America kept faith in the capacity of democracy to change the world, and be dealing with duly democratic-elected leaders in the Middle East, helping to lay that foundation of peace for generations to come. The stakes are high. It's important to have members of the United States Congress like Marilyn Musgrave, who understand the fact that we're laying the foundation of peace for generations to come. (Applause.)

I promise not to talk so long the food gets cold. (Laughter.) But I do appreciate Marilyn's understanding about how our economy works. You know, there are some in Washington that would like to raise your taxes. They believe that raising taxes would be good for the economy. I think that's what they believe. But their logic is backward. Marilyn and I understand if you let people keep more of their own money, it spurs economic growth and vitality. We've come through a lot in this economy. We've been through a recession; we've been through terrorist attacks; we've been through corporate scandals. Yet economic -- the economic growth of this nation is strong and vital. And I believe, and Marilyn believes, one of the main reasons why is because of the tax cuts that we delivered for the American people. (Applause.)

She also understands that the death tax is unfair. We put the death tax on the road to extinction, and we need to make sure it stays extinct, for the good of our farmers and ranchers and small business owners.

Good thing about Marilyn, she also understands Washington has got to be wise about how we spend your money. We're working on a lean budget up there, and it's good to have strong fiscal conservatives in Washington, D.C. to fight off the tendency of Washington to spend too much.

She understands how the economy works. She understands that small businesses create most new jobs. It's important to have somebody from the state of Colorado in that congressional district who stands squarely with the entrepreneurs and small business people, and that's Marilyn Musgrave. (Applause.)

I look forward to working with her on a rational immigration policy. The United States of America will secure our border. (Applause.) I just signed an appropriations bill which expands the number of Border Patrol agents, which is good. But you can't do that, enforce this border only with agents, you need technology like drones and infrared and cameras. And the bill I signed provides for additional technology to help these good Border Patrol agents do their job down there. (Applause.)

We're going to stop catch and release by expanding the number of detention beds. We got people working hard down there. They're finding people trying to sneak into the country, and sure enough, shortly after they get detained, they're back in society again. And so we're going to increase the amount of detention space and work on expedited removal. We're also going to do a better job of enforcing work site rules here in the United States of America. (Applause.)

Finally, I feel strongly that in order to have a good and secure border, we got to differentiate between those who are here to work and those who are here to bring criminal -- to provide -- to do criminal activities. Listen, we got people coming into this country to do the jobs Americans won't do. It seems like to me it makes sense to have a willing worker be able to work with a willing employer on a temporary basis.

I stand strongly against amnesty. Amnesty sends the wrong message. Amnesty would say to other illegal aliens, come and you can come into America and get citizenship automatically. No, I'm for a bill that strengthens our border by providing people with a tamper-proof identity card to let them work in America for jobs Americans won't do, on a temporary basis, and then go back to their country. (Applause.) And I'm looking forward to working with Marilyn on rational border control policy. And I think we can get something done.

I'm also proud of the fact that she stands up for values that she thinks important. It's really important for the United States of America to promote a culture of life, to be a welcoming society -- (applause) -- to recognize the value of each person. Marilyn is a strong supporter of developing a culture of life. And she's a strong supporter of the sanctity of marriage -- (applause) -- who supported a constitutional amendment to make sure that activist judges do not redefine traditional marriage. And I'm proud of your support of that important piece of legislation, Marilyn. And the people of this district ought to send her back to Washington, D.C. because she shares the same values as most people in Colorado. (Applause.)

So, in summary, send her back. (Laughter.) She's doing a fine job. You know, when you find somebody who's honest and upright, somebody who speaks her mind, somebody who's willing to take a tough position regardless of all the noise around, seems like to me that it makes a lot of sense to keep her in the United States Congress. I'm proud to be here today to support a good person, a good family person, good God-fearing person, somebody who is doing a fine job for the people of Colorado, and somebody who will do -- continue to do a great job for the people of Colorado.

Thanks for letting me come by to say hello. Marilyn, I'm proud to be on your side. God bless you all. (Applause.)

END 1:39 P.M. MST

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