For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 28, 2002
Remarks by the President in Colorado Welcome
Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum
12:40 P.M. MST
THE PRESIDENT: Thanks for coming. Thanks for such a warm welcome. It's nice to be in a part of the world where the cowboy hats outnumber the ties. (Applause.) I'm honored so many of you all came please be seated, unless you don't have a seat. (Laughter.) I'm honored so many came out today.
I've got some things on my mind that I'd like to share with you. One thing that's on my mind is that we have a duty to our country to participate in the political process. (Applause.) See, if you believe in freedom, you have a duty to exercise your right to vote to begin with. One of the reasons I'm coming to this big state is to encourage people to do their duty, to go to the polls. I want all people, no matter what their political party is or whether they even like a political party, to exercise their obligation to vote.
Now, I've got some suggestions when you go -- (laughter and applause) -- I've got some suggestions. For the sake of Colorado and for the sake of the country, Wayne Allard needs to be sent back to the United States Senate. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Six more years, six more years, six more years!
THE PRESIDENT: Whether he wins or not is going to depend upon many of you here. See, grassroots politics makes a big difference. Turning out that vote, getting on the telephones and putting up the signs, going to your coffee shops or your houses of worship or your community centers to put out the word that when you've got a good one like Wayne, you've got to do everything you can to help him get back to Washington.
You know, in Colorado, I'm sure you understand this. Around Crawford, we kind of know the difference between a show horse and a work horse. (Laughter and applause.) With Wayne, you've got somebody who's willing to work on your behalf. When he says something, he means it. And he does not need a focus group or a poll to tell him what to think. (Applause.)
I'm proud to have traveled in with Joan today, too. Like me, he married well. (Applause.) He drew the short straw. If he'd have been smart, he'd have invited Laura to come and speak instead of me. (Laughter.) And she's doing great, by the way. She's on her way from Crawford back to Washington.
I don't know if you remember the story. I see my friend Ricky Griess here; he and I both went to San Jacinto Junior High with Laura. When I married her, when I asked her to marry me or, asked her to marry me, she was a public school librarian. And she didn't like politics. (Laughter.) And she didn't care for politicians, either. (Laughter.)
Thank goodness she said yes when I proposed. She is a fabulous First Lady for America. (Applause.) And she's for Wayne Allard. And, like me, she's also awfully fond of your governor and first lady, Bill Owens. (Applause.) Governor Bill Owens is one of the finest governors in the United States. (Applause.) And you better make sure you put him back in, too. He's got a great record. He cares deeply about the citizens of this state and he's proven that he's a governor of everybody. The thing I like about Governor Owens, he campaigns proudly as a Republican, but he serves all the people of this state. And he's going to get a big vote from Republicans and Democrats and independents, because of the job he has done. (Applause.)
I'm not saying that just because he was born in Texas. (Laughter.) I'm saying that because his record speaks loud and clear. And we love Frances, too, she's done a great job as the first lady of Colorado. (Applause.)
I'm proud to be up here with another fine United States Senator. Ben Nighthorse Campbell is a class act and a good man. (Applause.) I'm honored to be here with two members of the United States Congress: Bob Schaffer and Tom Tancredo. I appreciate them coming. (Applause.)
And I'm here to make sure, to encourage you to work hard, to make sure that Denny Hastert remains the Speaker of the House of Representatives. (Applause.) And if you're interested in joining me in doing that, you'll make sure Bob Beauprez gets elected to the United States Congress. (Applause.)
I appreciate Bob. He represents the Colorado story. The Colorado story from a pioneering family. He's an entrepreneur. He's a hard worker. He's a God-fearing man. He's a decent soul. For the sake of the country, it's important that Bob Beauprez become the United States Congressman from the 7th district. (Applause.)
You need to work hard to get out the vote in this close race. You need to turn out everybody you can find. And once you get through getting him elected, make sure you don't forget Marilyn Mustgrave, who's going to be the Congresswoman from Colorado. (Applause.) Marilyn knows what she's doing. She doesn't need a bunch of on-the-job training in Washington. She'll be -- she'll be a good, steady hand from the get-go.
I also want to -- you to work hard for Senator -- State Senator Ken Chlouber. Ken's running -- Ken's running for the Congress. (Applause.) He, too, is a good, honest man; good, decent fellow who will make a fine United States congressman.
No, it's important for the sake of our future that Denny Hastert remain the Speaker of the House. I can work with him. And we need to work together, because we've got some big projects ahead for America, we've got some big challenges for our country. But you've got to know you're looking at an optimist. There's nothing this country can't achieve when we put our mind to it. (Applause.)
Some of the biggest -- some of the biggest challenges we face will require us being able to work together in the -- with the administrative branch and the legislative branch, in concert. We're doing what's right for America. Listen, I worry about the fact that some people can't find a job here in America. Any time one's looking for work and can't find a job means we've got to do -- we've got to have a pro-growth agenda. Any time somebody wants to work and can't put food on the table means we've got a problem in America.
Let me tell you what we think, people on this stage believe: that the tax cuts we passed, the tax cuts that Congress enacted was one of the best remedies for making sure people can find work. And the reason why is because when somebody has more of his own or her own money in their pocket, they're more than likely to demand an additional good or a service. And in the marketplace, when you demand a good or a service, somebody is likely to produce the good or a service. And when somebody produces the good or a service, somebody in Colorado or elsewhere in the country is more likely to find work. The tax relief we passed came at exactly the right time in American economic history. (Applause.)
And I want to thank Senator Allard for his support. I don't have to worry about his position on tax relief. Nor do I have to worry about Bob Beauprez's position on tax relief. And that's the kind of representation you need to have in Washington. It's still an issue, because the Senate rules are such that after ten years, the tax relief we passed goes away. See, that creates a sense of uncertainty in the marketplace. It's hard to plan if the tax rules are going to change on you.
The tax relief plan we passed made eminent sense for our small businesses. Seventy percent of the new jobs in America are created by small businesses. (Applause.) And when you reduce the rates, the individual tax rates, it affects small business growth because most small businesses are sole proprietorships, or limited partnerships. For the sake of job creation, for the sake of enhancing the entrepreneurial spirit, for the sake of strengthening the small business sector in America, you need to send people to the Senate and the Congress who will make the tax relief permanent. (Applause.)
I know there is concern about what they call "urban sprawl" here in Colorado. One of the reasons why urban sprawl can get out of hand is because farmers and ranchers are forced to sell their property before they want to because of the death tax. The tax relief plan we passed puts the death tax on its way to extinction. (Applause.) However, because of the Senate rules, it doesn't go away after 10 years, it kind of heads toward extinction, but doesn't die. It's like the Senate giveth and then they taketh away. You better have you a United States senator and members of the United States Congress who will support the administration and make the repeal of the death tax permanent. (Applause.)
We need members of the United States Congress who will work with the administration to get an energy bill. We can't get an energy bill out of the Congress. That doesn't make any sense. Listen, we are dependent upon foreign sources of crude oil and some of those sources of crude oil aren't really friendly to the United States of America. I wouldn't call them friends.
For the sake of job security, for the sake of national security, we need people in Congress who will work with us to get an energy bill which encourages conservation, encourages renewable sources of energy but, at the same time, encourages exploration, environmentally friendly exploration, so we become less dependent on foreign sources of energy. (Applause.)
I look forward to having people in the United States Congress with whom I can work, like Wayne and Bob, to make sure we've got reasonable forest policy. You all suffered a lot of burning here in the west. Because we've had lousy forest policy, forest policy that didn't make any sense; forest policy that just said, let's just ignore the forest, let's just let this kindling build up, let's create a dangerous situation. And then all of a sudden, lightening struck, or man may strike, and these forests that have been not tended to, forests that have been ignored, caught on fire and our heritage was destroyed.
For the sake of good environmental policy, common sense environmental policy, send these two people up there so they can join with us, so we can have a forest policy that protects our forest by thinning out the dead wood, by making sure kindling doesn't pile up, to prevent forest fires from happening in the first place through sound forest management practices. (Applause.)
I look forward to working with these two men to make sure our Medicare system works. Medicine has changed, and Medicare hasn't. Medicine is modern, got all kinds of new technologies and drugs that will help save lives, and Medicare is stuck in the past. For the sake of honoring our commitments to our seniors, we need people in Congress with whom we can work to make sure Medicare is modern and our seniors have got a prescription drug benefit. (Applause.)
No, there's a lot of things we can work on, a lot of things we can work on together to make America a stronger place and a better place. One way I can I believe I can influence America in a positive way is to make sure I get some good judges nominated for the federal bench. (Applause.) The kind of judges who apply the law as it's written, not who go on the bench to write new laws of their own. (Applause.) And the Senate has got a lousy record on my judges. We need to change the Senate for a lot of reasons, and one reason is to make sure we've got a sound judiciary. There's no question where Wayne Allard stands when it comes to good, conservative judges. He's a vote on which I can count. (Applause.)
There's a lot we can do together to make sure the economy is strong and the health care systems work, make sure environmental policy makes sense. These two men up here on stage with me are running for office, are exactly the right answers for Colorado.
We've also got to make sure that we are able to continue to do the most important job we have, and that's to protect the homeland. (Applause.) See America is still under threat. Oh, we can play like we are aren't; we can play like there's not a threat out there, but that's just not the way I am. I think we need to have people in Congress around the country who are realistic, see clearly the threats we face. We've got to do that. The most important job we have as government is to protect innocent life. And the reason why the issue is still alive is because there's an enemy lurking around out there that is pretty tough. And they're resolute. And they're driven by hatred. They hate what we love.
We love life, everybody matters as far as we're concerned, everybody is precious. They have no regard for innocent life whatsoever. (Applause.) They hate the fact that we love freedom. We love our freedom of religion, we love our freedom of speech, we love every aspect of freedom. (Applause.) And we're not changing. (Applause.) We're not intimidated. As a matter of fact, the more they hate our freedoms, the more we love our freedoms. (Applause.)
And so we've got to do everything we can to protect the homeland. We've got to be realistic about the threats we face. See, after September the 11th, 2001, it should be evident to all Americans that these oceans no longer protect us. A while ago it would be easy to say there's a conflict somewhere and we can pick or choose if we want to be involved, or there may be a threat emerging, but we really don't have to worry about it that much because we've got oceans to protect us.
Now we realize that the battlefield is here at home. The battlefields used to be elsewhere; they're here at home now. Which means the stakes are much higher. And when we see a threat, we've got to be realistic about the threat, and we've got to be firm in our resolve to deal with threats. And there's a true threat which exists in Iraq. Oh, we can hope the man changes, but I want you to remember that this is a person who has gassed his own people. It's a person who claims he has no weapons of mass destruction, in order to escape the dictums of the U.N. Security Council and the United Nations -- but he's got them.
See, he'll lie. He'll deceive us. And he'll use them. He can't stand America, he can't stand our friends and allies. For 11 years he's defied 16 resolutions out of the United Nations. You see, 11 years ago, he said he wouldn't have weapons of mass destruction. He told the world, fine, I got whipped and I'm not going to have weapons of mass destruction. And then he defied the U.N., resolution after resolution after resolution.
He's a threat to America and he's a threat to our friends. He's even more of a threat now that we've learned that he's anxious to have, once again to develop a nuclear weapon. He's got connections with al Qaeda.
And so I went to the United Nations to raise the issue. I went there for a couple of reasons. One, I want the United Nations to be effective. It seems like to me that if the new war we fight requires intelligence sharing and cutting off the money, they we ought to have a group of nations working toward that end. I don't want the United Nations to be the League of Nations. (Applause.) But it's their choice to make. They have the choice to make, to free -- the leaders of the free world have got a choice to make as to whether or not Saddam is going to be allowed to defy their resolutions and weaken -- weaken their capacity to keep the peace. Their choice.
And Saddam Hussein has got a choice to make, too. He can do what he said he would do, he can disarm. The Congress debated the issue, members from both parties stated their opinion. It was a good, healthy, open debate. And the Congress has now joined with the administration to speak with one voice, and here's our message. Our message from America is this: if the United Nations does not have the will or the courage to disarm Saddam Hussein, and if Saddam Hussein will not disarm, for the sake of peace, for the sake of freedom, the United States will lead a coalition and disarm Saddam Hussein. (Applause.)
No, we've got to be realistic. We must be realistic here in America. We can't hope for the best. Times have changed. The battlefield is here, as we learned so clearly on that fateful day. And they're still out there. The poor souls of -- in Indonesia who lost their lives, an example of what I'm talking about. These people are cold-blooded killers. But you've got to know there's a lot of good people working hard here at home to protect you, people at the federal level and at the state level, the local level; people working overtime to run down any hint or to chase down any lead so we can deny, disrupt any plans.
We get a hint, I'm telling you, we're moving on it. We're doing everything we can. See, we are on alert. We're now aware of the realities we face. But we can do a better job, and that's why I asked Congress to join me in the creation of a Department of Homeland Security, so we can better coordinate amongst the agencies involved with the with securing the homeland, so we can set the homeland security as the priority, if need be change cultures, so we've got people all headed in the same direction, which is your protection.
And the House of Representatives passed a good bill. But it's stuck in the Senate; they couldn't get it out of the Senate. They're trying to extract too high a price from me.
For 40 years, Presidents have had the ability to suspend collective bargaining rules in any department when the national security is at stake. For 40 years, since John Kennedy, Presidents have had that power. And now the Senate, in a time of war, wants to take that power away from me. I'll have that power in the Agriculture Department, but not in the Department of Homeland Security. And I'm not going to accept a lousy bill from the Senate. (Applause.)
And I want to thank Wayne Allard for his support. I know where he stands. (Applause.) The best way, however, to secure our homeland, the best way to make sure we defend our freedoms and fulfill our obligations to our children is to hunt these killers down one at a time and bring them to justice, which is exactly what we're going to do. (Applause.)
It's going to take a while. It's not an easy lift. It's going to take a while. This isn't one of these instant gratification deals. This is going to take a while to get it done.
The Congress responded to my budget request for the largest increase in defense spending since Ronald Reagan was the President. I want to thank them for that. I signed that the other day in the Rose Garden. (Applause.) And we signed that I asked for that amount of money for two reasons. One, any time this country commits our troops into harm's way, they deserve the best pay, the best training, and the best possible equipment. (Applause.)
We owe that to our troops and we owe that to the loved ones of our troops. (Applause.) And for all the loved ones of our troops out there, I want to thank you for your sacrifices and you tell your son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, however he or she is related to you, that the Commander in Chief is confident in their capacity and proud of their service to the United States of America. (Applause.)
And the other message we're sending loud and clear, that defense bill sends this message loud and clear to friend and foe alike, that we're in this deal for the long haul. There is not a calendar on my desk in the Oval Office that says by such-and-such a date, you quit. That's just that's not the way I think, that's not the way most Americans think. Because they understand freedom is precious and they understand the stakes. They can see clearly that the battleground has shifted and we have an obligation and a duty for future generations of America to stay the course. And that's exactly what we're going to do.
The doctrine that says either you're with us or you're with the enemy, it still stands too. And we're making progress at dismantling the terrorist organization. We've hauled in a couple of thousand. One by one, we're finding them and bringing them to justice. Like number were not as lucky.
In either case, the sum total is they're not a problem to the United States or our friends and allies anymore. The other day, one of them popped his head up. See, these are the kinds of people that hide in caves. They don't fly airplanes like the one I used to fly, the 102, or they don't sit in tanks. They hide in caves and they send their youngsters to their suicidal deaths.
And so you've got to treat this like a manhunt. One time, a guy the other day named Bin al-Shibh, who was going to be the twentieth hijacker, he popped his head up and he's not a problem anymore. (Applause.)
We've got a lot of good people chasing them down, a lot of good people. Sometimes you'll see about it, read about it or see it on TV, and sometimes you're just not going to see it. But you've got to know the manhunt is on and it doesn't matter how long it takes, doesn't matter how long it takes. I like our chances better than theirs. We've got a fabulous military. And we've got a great resolve. (Applause.)
I can't imagine what was going through their mind. They must have thought our religion was materialism. They must have thought we were so self-centered and so absorbed with our own kind of shallow materialism that all we would do after September the 11th was file a lawsuit. (Laughter.) They just didn't understand, and they're going to pay a dear price for doing what they did to America. (Applause.)
You see, this great country -- this country understands what's at stake. This country is strong. This country is resolved.
And by being strong and by being resolved, there's going to be some incredible good come out of the evil done to America, starting with peace. Amidst all the talk you're hearing, you've got to understand my vision is for a peaceful world.
Oh, I understand the stakes, I see the risks. But the dream and it's an achievable dream is for the world to be peaceful. Not only for Americans, but for people in parts of the world that have quit on peace, parts of the world like the Middle East, where they just think peace doesn't have a chance. I believe we can achieve peace. I believe this nation can lead the world to a peaceful world.
We're going to have to be strong, we're going to have to be tough at times. And we've always got to remember the value we hold most dear, freedom, is not an American-created value -- it's a God-given value that applies to everybody around the world. (Applause.) No, we can achieve a peaceful world, and also at home we can achieve a more compassionate world as well.
The evil done to America caused a lot of good folks to take a step back, to kind of take an inventory of that which is important in their lives. A lot of good folks took a step back and said, how can I best serve my country, what can I do, what can I do to help fight evil? And the answer is, if you really want to help, love your neighbor just like you'd like to be loved yourself.
See, government can hand out money and we can do things. We'll work hard on education matters, we'll work hard to make sure the Medicare system works. And government can pass money out. Sometimes we do a pretty good job of it. (Laughter.) But what it cannot do is put hope in people's hearts or sense of purpose in people's lives.
The best way to convert the evil done to America to some good is to recognize there's pockets of despair and hopelessness in America. There's loneliness, there's addiction. There are people who hurt in our midst. And so long as some of us hurt, we all hurt. And the best way to cure that loneliness and hurt is for a fellow American to put their arm around somebody in need and say, I love you, what can I do to help you? (Applause.)
You see the enemy had no idea the enemy had no idea who they were hitting. They didn't understand America like I do and you do. This is a country full of people that are decent and honorable, people who learned the lesson of Flight 93. That was the lesson of people who were flying across the country. They heard the plane was going to be used as a weapon. They told their loved ones, goodbye. They said a prayer. One guy said, let's roll. They took the plane into the ground to serve something greater than themselves.
No, the American spirit of sacrifice and service and compassion and love is alive and strong and therefore, I boldly predict that out of the evil done to America will not only come a more peaceful world, but out of the evil done to America will be a more compassionate America, where the great hope of this country, the great vibrancy of the American Dream, will be alive and well in every corner, in every neighborhood here in America.
I'm an optimistic fellow because I understand that America is the greatest country, full of the finest people on the face of this earth. Thank you for coming. May God bless you and may God bless America. (Applause.)
END 1:12 P.M. EDT