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

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 11, 2002

Remarks by the President at Coleman/Kline/Minnesota Republican Party Victory 2002 Dinner
Target Center Arena
Minneapolis, Minnesota

6:10 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thanks for that warm welcome. It's great to be back in Minnesota. (Applause.) I've had some opportunity to welcome some fine Minnesota folks to the White House. Last May, a couple of Minnesota teams came by to say hello that happened to be national champs in -- (applause) -- in women's and men's hockey. (Applause.) They felt pretty good about things and they said they felt they're going to be back next year. (Laughter.) Next year when they come back, Norm Coleman and John Kline are going to be with me to greet them. (Applause.)

I want to thank you for supporting these fine candidates. I want to thank you for being here tonight, and I want to thank you for what you're going to do -- which is to man the phones and put up the signs and convince your neighbors that these two men need your support for the good of the country and for the good of your great state.

I'm proud to be here with not only Norm, but as importantly, his wife Laurie. It's important to have a -- (applause.) And I appreciate Vicky Kline, as well, being here with John tonight. (Applause.)

I know something about marrying well. (Laughter.) We -- (applause.) I'm really proud of Laura. Some day she needs to come and campaign for these candidates if they want to win. (Applause.) I don't know if you've heard me say this before, but when I married Laura she was a public school librarian. And the truth of the matter is she didn't particularly care about politics or politicians. (Laughter.) And now, here she is, the First Lady of the greatest country in the world. (Applause.) And what a fabulous, fabulous job she's doing. (Applause.) She sends her best.

You know, one of the things about a President, people come by, and they say, we appreciate the job you're doing. And one of my first responses is that if you've got a good team, the job is a lot easier than it might look. And I want you to know, I put together a fabulous team. And one of my team members is here tonight, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the former Governor of the state of Wisconsin, my close friend, a guy doing a great job, Tommy Thompson. (Applause.)

I want to thank those who are -- who hold office now. The Speaker is here, and the Senate minority leader is here, the Secretary of State is here. Thank you all for coming. And I'm honored also to be sharing the stage with the next Governor of the State of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty. (Applause.)

There's no doubt in my mind that these great candidates can win, there's no doubt, because they bring a lot of qualities to the ticket that the people of Minnesota will respect. Norm Coleman: First he loves his family, he's a man of faith, he loves his country. He's an independent kind of fellow -- nothing wrong with that. (Laughter.) The thing I like about Norm is he focuses on results.

As the Mayor of St. Paul, I'm told a pretty Democratic city, at least that's what the numbers looked like to me the last time I ran -- (laughter) -- he wins as a Republican because he brought a compassionate conservative agenda to the people. (Applause.) He focused on things that matter, like jobs and making sure children got a quality education. (Applause.)

He agrees with me that, when it comes to educating our children, it is important to have high standards and high expectations. You see, if you don't think some kids can learn, the system will just shuffle them through, the system will quit on them. That is not good enough for America.

He understands that to make sure that every single child gets educated, we must understand whether they're learning to read and write and add and subtract. And if they are, we will praise the teachers. And if they are, we will praise the teachers. But if we find out that our children can't read, write, and add and subtract, we better do something out it early, before it's too late. No child should be left behind in America. (Applause.)

Norm's got a record of prosecution, prosecuting white-collar crime. Our nation must have confidence in our institutions. I oftentimes talk about the need for each of us to be responsible for our behavior. Corporate America must be responsible for its behavior, as well. We expect -- (applause) we expect balance sheets to be fair and open. We expect transparency, and we expect those in charge of corporate America to treat the shareholders and employees with the utmost respect. (Applause.)

I need Norm in the Senate to help me on Medicare. Today, I had the honor of going to the University of Minnesota Medical Center, and what a fabulous place that is. It is first-class. (Applause.) And we saw some of the new -- heard about some of the new drug therapies being developed to save lives and extend life, and to enhance the quality of life. And what we need is a Medicare plan that not only encourages innovation, but gives seniors choices, all of which will include prescription drugs. (Applause.)

I need a man in the Senate who will join me in nominating judges to our courts, who will not -- (applause) -- who will not use the bench from which to legislate, but will strictly interpret the Constitution of the United States. (Applause.) And we need a voice in the United States Senate who will focus on the people's business, not the needless partisanship, the bickering, the name-calling that too often -- too often fills that great chamber. We need somebody who can work with both sides of the aisle, somebody who's focused on what's right for Minnesota and what's right for America. And there's no doubt in my mind that the right person to handle that important responsibility is Norman Coleman. (Applause.)

And I'm here to campaign for John Kline for the United States House of Representatives. (Applause.) If the good folks in his district are wise, they'll send him to Washington. John served the United States with distinction as a member of the Marine Corps. He understands the need to support our military, and we need people who will support our military in the United States Congress. (Applause.)

The thing I like about this good man is he actually worked on a farm. He knows if you own the land and make a living on the land, every day is Earth Day. (Applause.) He understands how important farming is not only to his district, to his state and to the nation. And he understands what I know: when you're good at something, you need to promote it. Our farmers and ranchers are the best in the world, and we need to be selling our farm products and ranch products all over the world. (Applause.) I look forward to having John in the United States Congress to work on the homeland defense, and on the defense of our nation. And when you put him there, he'll bring honor to that office.

I'm also here -- I'm pleased to urge you to work hard for your next governor, Tim Pawlenty. (Applause.) He understands what I know -- if you let people keep more of their own money, it invigorates the economy. (Applause.) And he knows the best way to bring fiscal disciple to anybody of government is to resist unnecessary spending. Tim Pawlenty will be a fine and great governor for the state of Minnesota, and I'm proud to lend my support. (Applause.)

I'm pleased to talk about tax relief and trade because it is necessary to -- those are necessary items to make sure our economy recovers. You know, in Washington, they talk a lot about statistics and that's fine, this number's up or that number's down. What I worry about is any time anybody is looking for work and can't find it, we've got a problem.

So, therefore, I ask the question, how do we make sure we continue to expand our job base? What does it take to make sure that the entrepreneurial spirit of America is strong and vibrant so that there are more jobs for people who want to work? And that means making sure Congress doesn't overspend, doesn't over-commit, and making sure we have fiscal sanity in Washington, D.C. (Applause.)

We cut taxes at the right time. You see, I read the textbook that says, when people have more money, they're going to demand a good or a service. And if they demand a good or a service, somebody's going to produce the good and service. And if somebody produces that good and service, it means somebody's going to find work. For the good of long-term economic growth, and for the good of long-term economic vitality, we need to make the tax cuts permanent. And I want a senator and members of the House to do so. (Applause.)

One of the worst taxes -- one of the worst taxes in America is what they call the death tax. It's a tax that taxes people's assets more than once. It's a tax that hurts farmers and ranchers. It says you cannot leave your business -- if you're a small business owner -- to your relative. It says to some in America that if your loved one passes away, that you might have to liquidate your family farm in order to pay inheritance taxes. The Congress did the right thing in eliminating the tax, but it only lasts, because of a quirk in the Senate rules, for 10 years. We need people in the United States Congress who understand how bad the death tax is to small business owners, ranchers and farmers in America, and make the repeal of the death tax permanent. (Applause.)

So I spend a lot of time on economic security, and will continue to do so until I'm confident people can find work. I also spend a lot of time on our homeland security. You need to know that we fight an enemy that is not only ruthless, a group of people who don't value human life, but they're -- they hide, and they're patient, and they're determined to hurt America. People -- I'm sure some of the young here, well, why would you want to hurt our country, why would they care? And the answer is, because we're a beacon for freedom. We stand for things they don't stand for.

See, we believe people should be able to worship the almighty God anyway they see fit. They don't. (Applause.) We believe people should be able to speak their mind. We believe in a free press. We believe in open elections. What we stand for is freedom, and they hate freedom. And, therefore, they hate us. But they may be patient; we're more patient. They may be determined; we are more determined. They may think they have hit a country that is soft and weak; they have found out the United States of America will defend our freedoms at all costs. We're going to hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice. (Applause.)

We are we're making progress in a different kind of war. You know, you watch the old war films, you'd see tanks moving across a battlefield or formations of airplanes. That's not the kind of war we're in. We're after international killers, cold-blooded killers, that's all they are. They and, therefore, we've got to make sure at home we're secure.

The other day, I made a far-reaching proposal that urges Congress to join me in reorganizing our government so we can do as good a job as possible about protecting the homeland. Listen, I didn't run by saying, vote for me, I'm for bigger government. That wasn't my platform. (Laughter.) But I did run, and say, give us a chance to produce results. Now, you need to know that when it comes to homeland security, there are over 100 agencies involved with homeland security, which means it's hard to align authority and responsibility. We've got 100 of them scattered all over Washington. I think those agencies, for the good of the country, need to be under one Cabinet officer. (Applause.) We need to have as a -- the priority of these agencies, the protection of the American people.

Now, some of the agencies do other things, no question about it. But in order to effect a new culture, and to set new priorities, it makes sense to me to have authority and responsibility aligned. And this new agency will have several functions. One is to make sure we understand who's coming into our country, and why they're coming in, and whether they're leaving when they say they're going to leave. (Applause.) This new agency will be charged with working with some of America's finest citizens, our first responders, the police and fire fighters and EMS teams all across the country, to make sure that we respond to an emergency if it ever were to occur. (Applause.)

This new agency is in charge of working to deal with the threat of bio -- a bioterrorist attack, so they've got the immunizations available and our health care systems are prepared to respond. This new agency will analyze data, intelligence that has been gathered from around the world, and analyze it in one place to determine our vulnerabilities, and then the response necessary to button up the American homeland.

I'm proud of those who work for our government. We've got a lot of fine folks working a lot of hours, running down any kind of hint there is. Any kind of suggestion that somebody is going to do something to America, we're responding as quickly as we possibly can. And we're making good progress. But you just need to know, the best way to secure the homeland is to do what we're doing. And that's to hunt these killers down one person at a time.

In my speech to the country outlining my vision for a Department of Homeland Security, I told the folks that we've we and our friends have hauled in over 2,400 of these killers. (Applause.) Sometimes sometimes you'll know about it and sometimes you won't. But what you need to know is that wherever they try to light, we're going to get them on the run and we're going to keep them moving. And we're going to keep them moving until our military and our coalition brings them to justice.

You've got to know how proud I am of the United States military. What a great group. (Applause.) I asked the United States Congress for a significant increase in defense spending. And I know the two gentlemen up here, if they were in the halls of the Congress, would be strongly supporting what I'm about to tell you. The reason I asked for the biggest increase since President Ronald Reagan was the President is because I believe this. Any time you commit an American youth into harms way, they must have the best equipment, the best training, the best pay possible. (Applause.)

And the increase also sends this signal to our friends and allies, as well as the enemy: We're in it for the long haul. We're talking about freedom. We're talking about civilization itself. History has called our country into action. There's a big spotlight on America, and our country will lead. We will lead this vast coalition.

I want you to know, the doctrine that says either you're with us, or you're with the terrorists, it still stands. And we enforce it every single day. (Applause.) If you harbor a terrorist, if you feed a terrorist, if you finance a terrorist, you're just as guilty as the killers who struck America on September the 11th, and we'll hold you accountable, as well. (Applause.)

Our task is bigger than any single individual. We chase down a network. And at the same time, I have tried to speak as plainly as I possibly can about those nations with -- who harbor weapons of mass destruction, who would dare try to blackmail the United States and other freedom-loving countries. We cannot, and we must not, allow the world's worst leaders to develop and deploy the world's worst weapons. We owe it to our children and we owe it to our children's children to be tough and firm. (Applause.)

We're making progress. We've got a lot of work to do, a lot of work. And I appreciate so very much the resolve of the American people. My, what a fantastic country we have. (Applause.) We are so strong and so courageous and so compassionate, it leads me to declare this -- that out of the evil done to America will come incredible good. (Applause.) Out of the evil done to our country will be some some positive developments, starting with this. I believe that, as the United States continues to lead with resolution and determination, that we can achieve peace. We can achieve peace not only here at home, but we can achieve peace in places around the world that haven't dreamt of peace, or dreamt that peace is possible. I believe it.

I believe that the terrorists I don't know what went through their mind. They must have thought we were so self-absorbed and materialistic that all we would do after 9/11 was file a lawsuit or two. (Laughter.) What they didn't realize is that this is a great nation, a great nation full of determined people, people not only to work for peace, but people who here at home will seize the moment to make our communities a more decent and positive place for everybody to live.

We live in a fabulous nation, a rich nation, but we must always remember that in our wealth, there are pockets of despair. There's loneliness, there's addiction. There are children who wonder whether the American Dream is meant for them. And I believe out of the evil done to America will come the good of addressing those problems. Because a lot of Americans have stepped back, and said, what is the value of life? How do I have a complete life? And many of our fellow citizens understand that to have a complete life, you love a neighbor just like you'd like to be loved yourself.

There are thousands of our citizens on a daily basis responding to the evil done to America by mentoring a child, or helping a shut-in, or delivering food to the hungry, providing shelter for the homeless. And that's the true strength of our country. We're a decent country, a compassionate country. We understand that each of us can't do everything, but each of us can do something to help make a difference in changing America, one soul, one conscience, one heart at a time. (Applause.)

And that is why I feel so strongly that our government must not fear the compassionate programs that emanate out of the faith-based institutions. We must not discriminate against faith. We must welcome faith in America, in order to change lives. (Applause.)

And that's part of the spirit that is evolving in the country. We are ushering in a new period of personal responsibility, where each of us understands we're responsible for the decisions we make in life. We're responsible for loving our children. If you're a mom or a dad if you're lucky enough to be a mom or a dad, you're responsible for loving your children with all your heart and all your soul. If you live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and you're aware of a friend in need, you're responsible for helping that friend in need. If you're running a corporation, you're responsible for open books and treating your employees well.

That message came home loud and clear in Flight 93, the concept of serving something greater than yourself in life. The concept of understanding that patriotism is more than saying the Pledge or saluting the flag. Patriotism is serving your nation by helping a neighbor in need.

We had citizens traveling across the country; they realized their airplane was going to be used as a weapon. They told their loved ones they loved them. They said a prayer. One guy said, "Let's roll." And they drove the plane in the ground to save other people's lives. It's the new spirit of the 21st century. (Applause.)

And so, tonight, I urge you not only to work hard for these good candidates, but work hard to be a part of making America a complete country for everybody.

And it's happening. It's happening. You see, I can confidently predict, out of the evil done to America will come great good, because I'm the President of the greatest nation in the face of the Earth.

It is my honor to be here. May God bless you all, and may God bless America. (Applause.)

END 6:36 P.M. CDT

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