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 Home > News & Policies > November 2002

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 1, 2002

Remarks by the President at New Hampshire Welcome
Pease International Tradeport Airport
Portsmouth, New Hampshire

12:25 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Thanks for coming. Thanks for inviting me. Boy, am I glad I came. (Applause.) It's good to be back. It's good to be back with the good folks of New Hampshire. I see a lot of familiar faces amongst the crowd. There's one right there. (Laughter.) We've got a lot of friends here. First of all, I've got to tell you, Laura -- you drew the short straw. You got me instead of Laura. (Laughter.) She sends her best, as well. She's doing fabulous.

You may remember the story about her. She was a public school librarian when I asked her to marry me. She didn't like politics, she didn't like politicians. (Laughter.) Thank goodness she said yes when I was there on bended knee. She has made a fabulous First Lady for America. (Applause.) She sends her best to all the candidates running for office, and she urges you to do what I'm here to urge you to do, which is get out the vote.

I want you to know that the American spirit is alive and well in America. And that's the spirit that says it's important for us to serve something greater than ourself. It's the spirit that says, when it comes to the defense of our freedoms, we'll be plenty tough.

But part of defending our freedom means our citizens must exercise their duty. And on election day, the duty is to vote. My call here in New Hampshire is for all the citizens -- Republicans and Democrats, people who don't give a hoot about political parties -- to do your duty and vote. I've got a strong suggestion: if you want to do what's right for New Hampshire, if you want to do what's right for America, vote for John Sununu for the United States Senate. (Applause.)

I've seen him in action in the Congress. I know what he can do. There's no doubt in my mind that he'd be the most effective voice for all the people of this state, for everybody who's fortunate enough to live in New Hampshire. See, he's the kind of fellow that doesn't require a focus group -- (laughter) -- or a poll to tell him what to think. (Applause.)

If I remember my days from New Hampshire, that's what you expect here in New Hampshire, somebody who tells you what's on your mind, somebody who shares his philosophy, somebody who doesn't need to move around in the political winds depending upon what might be happening at a particular moment. No, the people of this state want down-to-earth, plain-speaking members representing them and that is exactly what John Sununu is. (Applause.)

And like me, he married well. (Laughter.) And like me, he picked a pretty good pair of parents. (Applause.) It's good to see the old governor behind stage. He's still looking pretty spry for an old fellow. (Laughter.) Don't tell him I said that. (Laughter.)

I'm also honored to be here in strong support of the next United States congressman from the 5th district, Jeb Bradley. (Applause.) Jeb is going to do a fine job. I look forward to working with him. I'm going to talk about some of the issues we need to work on. I don't need to be worrying about the votes from the 1st district up there in Washington. I need a steady hand who represents the way the people of this state think, and that's going to be Jeb Bradley.

And in order to make sure the stage looked pretty, we invited the congressman from the second district here -- (laughter) -- Charlie Bass. (Applause.) I actually meant Lisa Bass. (Laughter.) It's good to be up here with Kitty and Lisa and all the patient women supporting these candidates for office, and standing by them. It's tough for a family to run for office; I understand that. But it requires good, strong women, in these guys' cases, to carry them through, and they married well. I'm real proud of them. I appreciate their hard work, just like I'm proud of the next First Lady for New Hampshire -- the next First Lady from New Hampshire, Denise Benson. (Applause.)

I've known Craig for a while, and you're about to pick a good one to be your governor. (Applause.) Somebody who understands job creation; somebody who's going to bring integrity to the office; and somebody who isn't going to overburden you with a bunch of taxes -- and that's Governor Craig Benson. (Applause.)

And, finally, I've got to mention my old buddy, the senior senator. That would be your Judd Gregg. (Applause.) He and Kathy are great friends of Laura and mine. We really like to be around them. He is a great United States senator. And when we take over the Senate -- (applause) -- we will be calling Judd Gregg "Mr. Chairman." (Applause.)

Electing John Sununu will help us change the leadership in the Senate. The people of New Hampshire who haven't made up their mind yet must understand the practicalities involved in this election. There's something very practical about having Judd Gregg become the Chairman of the Health and Education and Labor and Pension Committee. It doesn't matter whether you're a Republican or Democrat or independent, it's in your interest, it's in your personal interest and it's in your state interest that you have one of your own be the chairman of one of the most vital committees in the United States Senate, and the election of John Sununu could easily elevate Judd Gregg to that position. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: -- no war for oil --

AUDIENCE: (Booing.)

THE PRESIDENT: What did he say?

AUDIENCE: We want Bush! We want Bush! We want Bush!

THE PRESIDENT: We've got a lot of hurdles that we've got to cross here in America. But there's no question in my mind we can cross them. That's what I want to talk to you about. Part of it depends on who you elect to the Senate, part of it elects upon the will and desire of the American people.

One of the biggest hurdles we've got is to make sure people can find work. Anybody looking for a job can't find a job means we've got a problem in America. We want people to be able to put food on the table. We want somebody who wants to provide, to be able to do so. And yet our economy is bumping along.

I'm optimistic about our economy because, one, I understand this country is one of the finest countries on the face of the earth. We've got great productivity amongst our workers. Interest rates are low, inflation is low. The foundation for growth is great.

But so long as anybody is trying to find work and can't find it, we better have people in the Congress willing to work with the administration to increase the job base. One of the most important things we can do to increase the job base is to stimulate small business growth. And one way to do so is to let people keep more of their own money. (Applause.)

This is a -- taxes are a cutting-edge issue in this campaign. You see, it reflects the difference of philosophy. If you understand if people have more money in their pocket that they're going to demand a good or a service. And when they demand a good or a service, somebody's likely to produce the good or a service. And when somebody produces the good or a service, somebody is more likely to find work.

The tax relief plan that John Sununu joined me on was not only good for people in New Hampshire, the citizens of New Hampshire, it's good for the small business and entrepreneurs of New Hampshire, because most small businesses pay taxes at the individual income tax rates. The tax cut we passed came at the exact right time for America. (Applause.)

Over the next 10 years of those tax cuts will mean $6.9 billion for the people of New Hampshire. That's $6.9 billion for you to decide what to do with your money. You hear these people saying, well, we better revisit the tax code -- tax cuts. Listen carefully for those words. That's Washington, D.C.-speak for we're fixing to go back into your pocket. That's what that means.

If you're interested in job creation, like I am and John is, if you're interested in making sure people can find work, send somebody to Washington who will join me in making the tax cuts permanent. (Applause.)

We need to get us a terrorism insurance bill moving out of the Congress. We had these -- these attackers hurt us in many ways. They hurt our economy. And one way they hurt the economy, there's a lot of big construction projects which aren't going forward. That's because people can't get insurance for terrorism. It means a lot of hard-hats aren't finding work. Millions of -- thousands of people; millions of dollars and thousands of people -- millions of dollars aren't being invested and thousands of people aren't working.

And so, therefore, Congress needs to get this bill out, to my desk. I know I can count on John's support. He'll support a bill that I want and that you should want, that makes sure it rewards the hard-hats of America, not the trial lawyers of America. (Applause.)

No, we've been through some tough times in our economy and we've still got a ways to go. Remember, we came out of a recession and the enemy hit us. And it hurt our economy when they hit us, make no mistake about it. And we're recovering from that.

Then we had another little problem -- not a little problem, it's a big problem. We had some of our citizens think that they could fudge the numbers; some of our citizens forgot their responsibilities when it comes to running a corporation. They forgot they were responsible to employees and to shareholders. They forgot their duty as Americans. And I want to thank John Sununu for supporting -- supporting one of the most far-reaching corporate reform bills since Franklin Roosevelt was the President. Our message, loud and clear, to the corporate wrongdoers is: there isn't any easy money in America, there's only jail time when we catch you fudging the books. (Applause.)

No, we've got to work together to get this economy rolling. There's no question in my mind he's the right person to send up to Washington to work with the administration to help the economy grow so people can find work. He's also the right man to send over there to work on vital matters, such as education and health care. Medicare is stuck in the past. Medicare -- medicine has changed, Medicare hasn't. Medicine is becoming more modern through technologies and new discoveries. Medicare is stuck, it's not changing.

Send John Sununu to the Senate so we can modernize Medicare, which means a prescription drug benefit for our seniors. (Applause.)

I also want to thank John and, of course, Judd and Charlie for working on the education bill, which was a great education bill because it challenges the soft bigotry of low expectations; it raises the bar; it says we in America believe every child can learn. Inherent in that bill is a strong belief in local control of schools. We trust -- we trust your future governor and the people of New Hampshire to chart the path to excellence for every child in New Hampshire.

We have sent $150 million of federal money to the schools this year in New Hampshire. But in return for that money, for the first time, we expect results. (Applause.)

And I appreciate John Sununu's advocacy of this important piece of legislation. I also know that when he becomes the senator, I can count on him to make sure that our judiciary is full of judges who aren't there to write the law, but to strictly interpret the United States Constitution. (Applause.)

There will be a lot of issues which we can work together on for the good of New Hampshire and the good of America, but no more important issue than making sure our homeland is secure; that protecting the people of this country, that's our most solemn duty now. And the reason why it's ongoing is because there's still an enemy that lurches around, which hates America. They hate America because of what we love. We love freedom, and we're not changing. (Applause.)

It's important to be clear-eyed about the threats we face. And we face a threat. We must see the world, and you must have people in Washington who see the world not the way we hope it would be, but the way it is. We're now on notice that America is a battleground. And, therefore, we've got to do everything we can to protect you. And a lot of good people are doing just that. A lot of people at the federal level, the state level and the local level -- running down any hint, any lead. Any time somebody is thinking about something to do to America and we figure it out, we're going to move on them.

We're going to absolutely do everything we can within the United States Constitution to protect the homeland of the American people. (Applause.)

I felt we could do a better job of protecting the homeland by moving a lot of these agencies involved with your protection into one Cabinet office. So I went to Congress and said, would you join me in creating a Department of Homeland Security so that we can set as the number one priority for these agencies the protection of the homeland. And, if need be, change cultures within agencies so that we can protect you.

And that's what I asked them to do. I asked them quite a while ago. And the House of Representatives sanctioned the votes of Bass and Sununu, joined with the administration and passed a really good bill. But it's stuck in the Senate.


THE PRESIDENT: It's stuck in the Senate because some senators -- not Senator Gregg and future Senator Sununu -- but some senators want to extract a price from this President that's way too high. See, they want me to give up an important authority that every President since John Kennedy has had. And that's the authority to suspend collective bargaining rules in certain cases for the sake of national security.

See, I need that capacity to be able to respond to the threats we face. I need the ability to suspend some rules if the rules inhibit our capacity to protect you. Under the vision of some in the Senate, I would have that authority for the Agriculture Department, but not for the homeland security department. We are at war. The President -- this President and future Presidents must have the ability to put the right people at the right place at the right time to protect America. (Applause.)

And there's no doubt in my mind that soon-to-be-Senator Sununu supports me on this issue. (Applause.)

We'll do everything we can to protect you here at home, but the best way to protect our youngsters, the best way to defend our freedoms is to find these killers no matter where they hide and bring them to justice. And that's exactly what America is going to do. (Applause.)

We passed a good defense bill. It's the largest increase in defense spending since Ronald Reagan was the President. That bill should send two message. One is, any time we put our troops into harm's way, they deserve the best pay, the best training and the best possible equipment. (Applause.)

And, two, we're sending a clear message to friend and foe alike: that we're in this deal for the long haul; that when it comes to a defense of our freedom, it doesn't matter how long it takes. When it comes to making sure we fulfill our obligations as a generation, for future generations of Americans, there's no calendar on my desk that says by such-and-such a date we're pulling in. No. See, I don't know what got in the enemy's mind. They must have thought our national religion was materialism; that we were so selfish, so self-absorbed, so interested only in ourselves that after 9/11/2001, oh, we might have filed a lawsuit or two.

They don't know America like you and I know America. When it comes to the defense of our freedom, it doesn't matter how long it takes and how much it costs. (Applause.)

And we're making progress. Slowly but surely, we're hauling them in. And we've got people still helping us. See, the doctrine that says, either you're with us or with the enemy -- that still stands. (Applause.) I remind people of it all the time, because I understand the task ahead. In the old days, we destroyed tanks, airplanes, ships and we made progress. These people don't have tanks. They don't have ships. They hide in caves. They send suiciders out. They're willing to send youngsters out and they, themselves, hide. That's the kind of people we face.

And so, therefore, we've got to be -- we've got to be on them, got to get them on the run and keep them on the run. And we're making progress. We've hauled in about 2,000 or more. And that's good. (Applause.) And like number met their fate a different way. Like number aren't around. (Applause.) Slowly but surely, we're dismantling this terrorist network, thanks to one of the greatest militaries ever, the United States military. (Applause.)

It's going to take a while. It's going to take a while to make America safe. It's going to take a while to do everything we can to fulfill our responsibilities and protect you. The American people understand that, they understand it's a new kind of war. They also understand there's a -- they also understand there's a new reality we face, and that's important. The new reality is oceans no longer protect us. After September the 11th, 2001, every threat that might be emerging overseas we need to take seriously. In the old days we could sit back and say, well, there's something emerging over there and these oceans protect us and we're safe, and we can decide whether or not we want to be involved in that theater, we can decide if we really think it's in our national interest, because our people aren't threatened.

We have a new day here in America. It's a sobering reality. It's one that you better make sure your elected officials are clear-eyed about the threats that we face. And we face a threat in the form of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Saddam Hussein is a man who has told the world he wouldn't have weapons of mass destruction, and yet he deceived the world. He's got them.

Not only does he have them -- remember, this is a guy who was a short while away from having a nuclear weapon. Then they dismantled it. Then he started deceiving the world again and no telling how close he is to having one now. We know he's got chemical weapons, probably has biological weapons.

But, more significantly, we know he uses them. He uses them not only on his neighbors, he uses them on his own people. That's the nature of this man. We know he's got ties with al Qaeda. A nightmare scenario, of course, is that he becomes the arsenal for a terrorist network, where they could attack America and he'd leave no fingerprints behind. He is a problem.

I went to the United Nations a while ago because I wanted to remind them that they have a duty, it seems like to me, to bring the free nations together and call the man to account. After all, they passed resolution after resolution after resolution, 16 times that he's defied.

See, we want the United Nations to be successful. I believe it's in our interests that freedom-loving countries come together and help defeat the new threats of the 21st century. It's in our national interest they do so. It's in their interest they do so.

So I went there and said, show us whether or not you can achieve what you're supposed to do; show us whether or not you've got the backbone necessary to hold the man to account -- in the name of peace. Show us whether or not you're going to be the United Nations or the League of Nations.

And my message to Saddam Hussein is just as clear: you said you would not have weapons of mass destruction, in the name of peace, get rid of your weapons of mass destruction. But my message to America, and it's supported by Republicans and Democrats alike: if the United Nations will not act, if Saddam Hussein will not disarm, in the name of peace and in the name of freedom, the United States of America will lead a coalition to disarm him. (Applause.)

Out of the evil done to America is going to come some good. I believe that. I believe that because of the nature of our country. I believe that because of the American spirit. I know that we can achieve peace. I want you to assure your children that amongst all the talk that we can achieve a peaceful world. I believe it. If we remain strong and tough and determined, speak our mind clearly about good and evil, remember that freedom is not an American blessing, it's God-given for everybody who lives in the world. If we remember that, we can achieve peace. (Applause.)

We can achieve peace here at home. We can achieve peace in the Middle East. We have a chance to lead the world to peace. I can -- I see clearly a peaceful world. And I see a more compassionate tomorrow here at home. Out of the evil done to America, we can have a better America.

You've got to remember, amongst our -- amongst our plenty are people who hurt, people who are lonely, people who are depressed, people who are addicted, people who say, American Dream? What are you talking about? I don't know what you're talking about.

So long as any of us hurt, we all hurt, as far as I'm concerned. I've mentioned and told you that John and I will work together to do what government can do. But what government can't do is put love in people's hearts, or a sense of purpose in people's lives. That's done when our fellow Americans put their arm around somebody who hurts and says, I love you, what can I do to help you, how can I make your life better, how can I do my part of being American?

I met a guy out there at the airport today, Zack Dietrich, a 23-year-old fellow here in New Hampshire. He's a member of AmeriCorps. He's a guy who's working to help people find work by helping them with job training. He's a man who's helping save lives by helping people have dignity in their lives when it comes to work. He has decided, at the age of 23, to help a neighbor in need. He's decided to be a part of the army of compassion. He knows what I know: that through the great heart of America, we can change our country one soul, one person at a time.

And that's what's happening. American spirit is more than just being a patriot. The American spirit is more than just being strong militarily so we can keep the peace and promote freedom. The American spirit understands that being a patriot in this country means serving something greater than yourself. And that spirit is alive and well today.

It was certainly alive and well on Flight 93. People flying across our country realized that their plane was going to be used as a weapon. They said, goodbye; they said, I love you; they said a prayer. And ordinary citizens took the plane into the ground to serve something greater than themselves. They represented the absolute best of America.

The American spirit is strong and alive today, which allows me to boldly predict that out of the evil done to America is going to come a more peaceful world. And out of the evil done to America is going to come a more hopeful tomorrow for everybody who lives in this country. Because this is the finest country, full of the most decent, honorable, caring people on the face of the earth.

Thank you for coming today. May God bless. (Applause.)

END 12:55 P.M. EST