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 Home > News & Policies > August 2002

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 23, 2002

Remarks by the President at Bill Simon for Governor Reception
St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort
Dana Point, California

7:04 P.M. PDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much. (Applause.) Thanks for inviting me. We don't have views like this in Crawford. (Laughter.) What a beautiful spot this is, in a fantastic state. (Applause.) And thanks for coming tonight. It is my honor to come and help support the fine slate of candidates that our party is fielding this year. And it's my honor to come and support the next governor of the state of California, Bill Simon. (Applause.)

Bill mentioned that Laura was out here working for -- on his behalf. And that day he drew the long straw, and today -- (laughter) -- you drew the short one. (Laughter.) But she's doing great. I had a talk with her when we got settled into this beautiful spot. And yesterday in Leander, Texas, they named an elementary school for her. (Applause.) So she thought it would be good and deservedly so, I might say. (Applause.)

You know, when I married Laura, she was a public school librarian. That's how she made her living. She was a public school librarian, and the truth of the matter is, she didn't care for politics or politicians. (Laughter.) And now she got stuck with one. (Laughter.) For the good of the country, she's a fabulous First Lady. I'm proud of her. (Applause.) Just like Cindy Simon is going to be a great First Lady for California. (Applause.)

I liked the way the Simons value family. That's important for your leader of the state of California to hold values dear to his heart. And there's nothing more important than people who value faith and family and service to something greater than yourself. (Applause.)

This event has not only drawn a lot of hardworking grassroot activists and I want to thank you for your hard work

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Working hard.

THE PRESIDENT: I know you are. (Laughter.) Not only for what you have done, but for what you're fixing to do, which is to turn out the vote. (Applause.) A lot of times, you never get thanked enough. A lot of times, those of us running for office kind of take you for granted. Well, you need to know your President doesn't take you for granted. (Applause.)

I want to thank you for your hard work, I want to thank you for what you do. I'm urging you to get out and support this good man and the slate that we have put together here in the great state of California. (Applause.)

But we've got some strong we've got some strong members of the congressional delegation who are here, and I want to introduce some of them. I'm going to probably need their vote when (laughter).

The good news is, I haven't had to ask the ones I'm about to introduce too often, because they've been loyal friends and they're strong, like Ken Calvert. I appreciate you coming, Kenny. (Applause.) Or Ed Royce right up the coast here. Ed, thank you for coming. (Applause.)

How about Randy Duke Cunningham. Duke. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Duke! Duke! (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: I asked him how long it took to get up here from his district. He said when he put in an afterburner, about three minutes. (Laughter.) I appreciate so very much Darrell Issa being here as well. Darryl, thank you for coming. (Applause.) And, finally, the congressman from this district, a true leader in the House of Representatives, Chris Cox. (Applause.)

We've got candidates who are running state wide in this fantastic state. The next lieutenant governor of your state of California is Bruce McPherson. I appreciate you coming, Bruce. (Applause.) I've known Bruce for quite a while. He's a good hand, as they say in Crawford. He's a good, hardworking man, who is going to work with the next governor to do what's right for the people of this state.

I want to thank very much Dick Ackerman who is the candidate for state attorney general, for being here. (Applause.) The next Secretary of State, Keith Olberg, is with us today. Greg Conlon, who is going to be the next treasurer of your state, is with us today. (Applause.) Gary Mendoza is running a great race for insurance commissioner, is with us today. (Applause.) I appreciate so very much Katherine Smith, running for state superintendent of public construction. Thank you, Katherine. (Applause.) These are fine candidates, and I want to thank you all for supporting them.

I also want to pay tribute to Jack and Joanne Kemp who are here today. Jack has been a great stalwart for the (applause). It's good to know they still remember you.

He's a good friend and a great man, who has been stalwart in the -- for our cause and our way of thinking. I appreciate so very much his willingness to work hard to take the edge off a message to make it clear that what we believe in applies to everybody; that we don't believe in excluding people, we believe in including people in our message of (applause).

And I want to thank my friend, Jerry Parsky (ph), who has done a great job on my behalf in this state. He had some really heavy lifting to do in 2000. He was my campaign chairman in this state. But he's a good man. (Applause.) He's a good man, and I appreciate his friendship.

But I want to talk to you about the next governor. The thing I like about Bill Simon is he's willing to work to change the tone of politics. And that's important. If you want to lead, if you're there for the right reason, if you want to serve the people, the first thing you've got to do is change the tone and attitude of people, in this case in Sacramento, California.

You see, if you believe in pitting one group of people against another, you can't get anything done. If you believe that politics is zero sum, we've got one winner and one loser, you're not going to get positive things done on behalf of the people. Bill Simon is committed to changing the tone in Sacramento, to get things done not just for Republicans, but for Democrats and independents and people who don't give a darn about politics. (Applause.)

And notice, I said, get things done. I mean, get results. Results such as making sure that every child gets a good education in this important state. (Applause.) It is really important. It's really important in this big state, in this powerful state, in this state that has got people from all walks of life, that we make sure that every single child gets educated -- every child. Not a few, not some in the fancy districts, not some in the suburbs, but every child, everywhere in the state of California. (Applause.)

And that means setting high standards. That means having a governor who believes every child can learn. You see, the sad fact is around probably California, I know in Texas and around the country, there are some people who believe children can't -- some children can't learn. See, that means they've got low standards, what I call the soft bigotry of low expectations. If you set the low -- bar low, you're going to get bad results. And so first and foremost, you've got to have a governor who believes every child can learn.

Secondly, you've got to have a governor who trusts the people to make the decisions as to how to get the path to excellence set up in each school district. You see, you cannot have a one size fits all education system, not only out of Washington, but out of a big powerful state, diverse state, like California. You've got to trust the local folks, you've got to trust the teachers and the parents. You've got to be willing to say, we're not going to try to micromanage from a centralized authority.

Thirdly, you've got to have a governor -- and this governor -- future governor agrees with me about this -- that you've got to be willing to measure. You see, if you believe every child can learn, like I do, then you insist that every child be measured to determine whether they are learning. It's the folks who say every child can't learn are the ones who say, let's don't measure. If you believe the child can't learn, there's no need to tell whether or not they are. Guess what happens with the system that doesn't measure. You shuffle children through, called social promotion. And guess who gets hurt. Everybody gets hurt in a system that refuses to educate each and every child.

I believe we ought to measure and I believe we ought to -- (applause) -- and I believe we ought to measure so we know who to praise. And I believe we ought to measure to make sure we correct problems early, before they're too late. No child in America, and no child in California should be left behind. (Applause.)

And you've got a governor -- future governor, who understands that. See, it's a frame of mind you've got to have in Washington. Public education isn't a political issue, it is a issue that is important for every single family in this state. You can't play politics with the education system.

You need a breath of fresh air in Sacramento, is what you need. You also need somebody who can balance the budget. (Applause.) Somebody who can help set priorities. Somebody who doesn't try to be all things to all people -- that's what you need. And that's the way Bill Simon is going to be.

And, finally, an issue that is dear to my heart is the understanding that we need to help people help themselves in California and America. We need for example, when we reauthorize the welfare bill, we've got to make sure that the key component of any new reauthorization is work. We've got to understand that work equals dignity. (Applause.)

But you've also got to understand we've got to help people. We've got to help people be prepared to work. Listen, there are pockets of despair and hopelessness in this state, and all around this country. And one way to make sure that we help people is to unleash one of the great strengths of America, and that is the faith-based programs all across our country. (Applause.)

I'm trying to get a bill passed out of Washington that recognizes the power of programs coming out of church and synagogue and mosque. (Applause.) Programs -- programs all designed to help people in need. Bill Simon understands that. We ought to ask the question, does it work, does it work? Does changing a person's heart help ease addiction, help cure the hopelessness? You bet it does. And therefore, we ought to have a governor in this state who's willing to grab the great talent of the state, the compassion of the state, to make sure that every Californian has got an opportunity to realize the great dream of this state. That's the kind of man Bill Simon is. (Applause.)

He doesn't need a poll to tell him what to believe. (Applause.) He's got a compass and a direction. So I hope you work hard to put him in and work hard to get the rest of the candidates in. It will be a big day for your state, to get a new attitude, a new way of thinking in the state's capital. (Applause.) It's good for all people of this state. (Applause.)

We've got some problems in Sacramento and we've got some problems we've got to deal with as the nation. We do, but we're going to deal with them. My most important job my most important job is to protect innocent life here in the country. (Applause.) And it's still a task, because there's still an enemy that hates us. You know, I'm sure your sons and daughters or grandkids are saying, why would anybody hate America? What have we done? Well, we love freedom, that's what we've done. We value each life. That's what we do here in this country. Each person has got worth, each person has got dignity. Everybody matters.

We love the fact that people can worship freely in America, and we're not going to change. We love the fact that people can speak their mind --


THE PRESIDENT: -- and they're not going to change. Keep speaking it. (Laughter and applause.)

We love the fact we love the fact -- we love the fact we've got a free press. We love that. And anybody who tries to take away our freedoms is going to find out we're plenty tough. (Applause.) We're staring down nothing but a bunch of cold-blooded killers. That's all they are, that's all they are. And therefore, we're going to deal with them as such.

But in order to protect the homeland, I need some help out of Congress. I want to thank the House members for voting on a good bill that recognizes that when you have over 100 agencies in Washington, D.C. kind of scattered all over the Nation's Capital, it's hard to get priorities set; it's hard to get a culture in place that demands the fact that we're all working to keep the people safe. That's what we need to do. We need to bring them under one Cabinet officer.

The problem I face is that the Senate doesn't quite understand what the House has done. See, I need to be able to move people -- I need to be able to move people to the right place at the right time in order to make the border more secure, for example. (Applause.) We've got different agencies on the border all competing. We've got the INS and the Customs, we've got Border Patrol -- three fine agencies with great people, but they're not -- they compete. They need to work together. We've got a new day in America. The Senate is more worried about their political turf, and less worried about the security of the American people. (Applause.)

But you need to know there are a lot of fine people, I mean fine folks, working on your behalf -- people running down every hint that somebody might be thinking about doing something, people sharing intelligence, people working overtime to do everything they can. And I don't mean people just at the federal level, I'm talking about at the state level and at the local level. I'm grateful for the law enforcement folks here in the state of California, who care deeply about the citizens of this state. (Applause.) I'm grateful for our FBI agents who are working hard. I'm grateful for all the people who are involved with the homeland security.

We're doing everything we can, you just need to know it, everything we can to make sure that we protect the people. But the best way to protect the people is to hunt the killers down, one at a time, and bring them to justice. (Applause.) And that's what we've got to do. That's what we have to do, and that's what we're going to do. That's why I submitted the largest increase in defense spending since Ronald Reagan was the President. (Applause.)

I did so because I want to send a clear message that any time we put one of our troops into harm's way, they deserve the best pay, the best training, and the best possible equipment. (Applause.) If you've got a loved one in the military, you tell them the Commander-in-Chief and the country is really proud of their service. (Applause.) And I'm proud of your support for your loved ones. I'm proud of them. It's really important they serve. They're serving a great nation.

We also have a big increase in our defense spending because I want the enemy and friend alike to know that we're in this for the long pull. There's not a calendar on my desk -- one of those kind of flipping calendars, you flip it, and it says, now time to quit. (Laughter.) That's not how I think. And that's not how you think.

You see, history has called us into action. History has given us a chance to defend freedom, to bring freedom not only here at home, to make sure we preserve it here at home, but to have freedom in other parts of the world. That's what history has done. We're making good progress, by the way. (Applause.) We're making good progress thanks to coalition and thanks to our friends. We've captured over a couple thousand of them. (Laughter.) Seriously.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Round 'em up, George. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: About the like number haven't been so lucky. (Laughter.) But we've got more work to do, we just do. And no matter where they light, we're going to get after them. We're going to uphold the doctrine that says, if you harbor a terrorist, you're just as guilty as the terrorists. (Applause.)

I spend a lot of time talking about this, because not only is it on my mind, and it's our priority, but it's very important for the American people to understand we face a different kind of war. Sometimes you'll see it on TV, and sometimes you won't. Sometimes you'll see our actions, a lot of times you won't. But you've just got to know that we're chasing them one by one. (Applause.)

And not only that, it's very important for our future to deal with those leaders, those leaders -- the world's worst leaders, who want to harbor and develop the world's worst weapons. We owe it to our children, we owe it to our future. I'm a patient man. We've got tools at our disposal, but we have got to defend freedom. We owe it to the future generations to do so. (Applause.)

You know, when the enemy hit us, I can't imagine what was going through their mind. See, they must have thought that this great nation was so self-absorbed, so materialistic, and so shallow that after September the 11th, we might just file a lawsuit or two. (Laughter.)

But they found out we think differently here in America. They found out what this country is made out of. (Applause.) We're a strong nation, but we're a decent nation as well. See, we don't seek revenge, we seek justice. We don't go to countries to conquer, we go into countries to liberate, just like we did in Afghanistan. We believe in the worth of human beings all around the world. Our dream is for freedom not just for our own children, but for children all around the globe. That's the way our nation thinks.

I'm going to tell you what I believe. I believe out of the evil done to America is going to come some incredible good. (Applause.) I believe it. I believe that if this nation remains strong and tough and pursues terrorism, upholds doctrine, is true to our word, is willing to delineate between good and evil, that we can achieve peace -- that we can have peace not only for our own people, but we can have peace in places where they've quit thinking about peace, like the Middle East, or South Asia. I believe that.

I want you to tell your children, when they hear the talk of war, or they talk about our United States taking action, that it's all a design, it's all aim to make this world a peaceful place.

And here at home, I believe that out of evil done to America there is going to come some incredible good, as well. I mentioned the fact that there are pockets of despair and hopelessness in California and America -- there just are. I believe when one of us hurts, we all hurt. But I understand the role of government is limited. See, government can hand out money, but what it cannot do is put hope in people's hearts, or a sense of purpose in people's lives.

No, societies change one heart, one soul, one conscience at a time. Societies change when people say, I want to love my neighbor just like I was loved myself. And that's what's happening here in America. People have said, what can I do to help? I've said, do some good. It's the collective acts of our kind and decent and compassioned citizens which defined the true character and true face of our country.

No, the enemy hit us, the enemy hit us. But out of the evil done on that terrible day is going to come a more compassionate and decent and hopeful Americans. You see, people have taken a step back here in this country, and they now understand that serving something greater than yourself is part of being a patriotic American. It's more than just putting your hand on your heart and saying, by the way, one nation under God. It's more than that. (Applause.)

A patriot is somebody who mentors a child. A patriot is someone who brings hope into a life that is hopeless. A patriot is somebody who works to feed the hungry. That's a patriot. A patriot is somebody who's a responsible citizen, responsible for loving their children with all their heart and all their soul, but responsible for working in the community in which they live. And that's what happening, here in America.

And perhaps the most vivid example of what I'm talking about, a vivid example of an attitude change, a clear beacon of what's happening in America took place on Flight 93, when citizens were flying across the country. History shows that they were on the cell phones and they told their loved ones they loved them and good-bye. They said a prayer. One guy said, "Let's roll." They took the airplane that was to be used as a weapon, perhaps against the White House or the Capitol, they drove it into the ground to serve something greater than themselves in life. (Applause.)

No, I believe -- I believe from the bottom of my heart that out of the evil done to America is going to come some great good. The world is going to be more peaceful and this country is going to be more compassionate and decent and hopeful. Because this is the greatest country on the face of the Earth. We're the greatest country because we've got the greatest people on the face of the Earth.

Thank you all for coming. God bless, and God bless America. (Applause.)

END 7:29 P.M. PDT