For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 11, 2003
Remarks by the President at Bush-Cheney 2004 Dinner
Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum
5:44 P.M. MDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much. Thanks for the warm
welcome. There is nothing like heading west. (Applause.)
I spent a little time on our ranch in Crawford, get to see more
cows than I do the press corps. (Laughter.) Seems like the cows are
handling the heat a little better, too. (Laughter.)
But I want to thank you all very much for your help. I appreciate
your strong support. I want to thank all those who made this
fundraiser a record-setting fundraiser. I appreciate what you're
doing. You're laying the foundation for what is going to be a great
victory in November of '04. (Applause.)
I'm here to not only thank you, I'm here to tell you I'm going to
need your support in energizing the grass-roots of the great state of
Colorado. I need your help in putting up signs, I need you to make the
phone calls, I need you to mail the letters, I need you to remind
people of this state -- Republican, Democrat, independent, don't care
-- that our message is one that is hopeful for every single citizen who
lives in this state. (Applause.)
I'm loosening up. I'm getting ready. (Laughter.) Cutting a lot
of cedar. (Laughter.) Running a lot of miles. Getting ready for the
contest. But the political season will come in its own time. For me,
now is not the time for politics. You see, I've got a job to do. I'm
staying focused on the people's business. I'm doing what you expect me
to do in Washington, D.C., and I'll continue to work to earn the
confidence of every American by keeping this nation secure and strong
and prosperous and free. (Applause.)
I want to thank my friend, the governor of the great state of
Colorado. He is -- he's done a fabulous job as your governor.
(Applause.) He does what he says he's going to do, which is nice to
have somebody in public office -- (laughter) -- who says something and
means it. And like me, he married above himself. I'm honored to be
here with the First Lady of the state of Colorado, as well.
I just called Laura and said that I'm fixing to go see a lot of our
friends from the state of Colorado. I said, how's -- what's it like
down there? She said, it's only 103. (Laughter.) I said, well, if
that's the case, it feels like winter here. (Laughter.)
I can't tell you how great it is to be married to such a fine woman
as Laura Bush. (Applause.) She is a great First Lady for our
I appreciate the two senators from the state of Colorado. Senator
Wayne Allard, who's -- turns out to be my state co-chair, along with
working with the Governor here. He's a great senator.
And so is Ben Nighthorse Campbell. I'm going to tell you, it's
important to put this man back into the United States Senate.
(Applause.) And if you've got a little something left in the wallet
after tonight -- (laughter) -- and looking for a good man to help,
somebody who can use your help, it's Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell.
He's a fine representative of the great state of Colorado, and I'm
proud to call him friend. (Applause.)
Two members of the U.S. congressional delegation are with us.
First, Bob Beauprez. Congressman Beauprez, thank you for coming.
(Applause.) We didn't exactly land-slide them last time -- (laughter)
-- but neither did I. (Laughter and applause.)
I know you're back home working hard in your district to tell the
people of that district they made the right choice in putting Bob
Beauprez in the U.S. Congress. He's a fine man. And I appreciate Tom
Tancredo being here, as well. Thank you, Congressman, for coming, I'm
honored you're here. (Applause.)
I want to thank the Lieutenant Governor, Jane Norton, for being
here tonight. (Applause.) I want to thank the Treasurer for the great
state of Colorado, Mike Coffman, for being here tonight. (Applause.)
I appreciate the President of the State Senate and the Speaker of the
House, Senator John Andrews and Lola Spradley for coming, as well.
Governor, I know it's a pretty good deal to be working with a
Republican Speaker and a Senate leader. I kind of like it myself.
(Laughter.) I want to thank very much our Party Chairman, Ted Halaby.
I want to thank Bruce Benson, for putting this event on and for being
the Finance Chairman. I want to thank all those who helped raise the
money. I thank my friend, Mercer Reynolds, who is the National Finance
Chairman. But most of all, I want to thank you all for your
friendship, for your prayers, for your support, for getting ready to
get to work on behalf of this re-election campaign.
You know, the last two-and-a-half years, our nation has acted
decisively to confront great challenges. I came to this office to
solve problems, not to pass them on to future Presidents and future
generations. (Applause.) I came to seize opportunities, instead of
letting them slip away. We are meeting the tests of our time.
Terrorists declared war on the United States of America, and war is
what they got. (Applause.) We've captured or killed many of the
leaders of al Qaeda, and the rest of them know we're on their trail.
In Afghanistan and Iraq, we gave ultimatums to terror regimes. Those
regimes chose defiance, and those regimes are no more. (Applause.)
Fifty million people -- 50 million people -- in those two countries
once lived under tyranny, and now they live in freedom. (Applause.)
And the world is better off for it. (Applause.)
Two-and-a-half years ago, our military was not receiving the
resources it needed, and morale was beginning to suffer. We increased
the defense budget to prepare for the threats of a new era. And,
today, no one in the world can question the skill and the strength and
the spirit of the United States military. (Applause.)
Two-and-a-half years ago, we inherited an economy in recession.
Then the attacks happened on our country. And scandals in corporate
America, as well as the war -- it all affected the people's confidence,
people began to lose confidence. But we acted. We passed tough new
laws to hold corporate criminals to account.
To get the economy going, I have twice led the United States
Congress to pass historic tax relief for the American people.
(Applause.) Here's what I believe and here's what we know: that when
Americans have more take home money to spend or to save, to invest, the
whole economy begins to grow, and people are more likely to find a
job. And I understand whose money we spend in Washington, D.C. It is
not the government's money we spend in Washington. It is the people's
Now we're returning more money to the American people to help them
raise their families, reducing taxes on dividends and capital gains to
encourage investment. We're giving small businesses proper incentives
to encourage them to expand and to hire new people. With all these
actions, we're laying the foundation for greater prosperity and more
jobs across America so every one of our citizens can realize the great
promise of our country. (Applause.)
I want you to remember, two-and-a-half years ago there was a lot of
talk about education reform, but there wasn't much action in
Washington, D.C. So I called for, and our Congress passed the No Child
Left Behind Act. With a solid bipartisan majority, we delivered the
most dramatic education reforms in a generation. (Applause.)
We're bringing high standards and strong accountability measures to
every public school in America. See, we believe every child can learn
the basics of reading and math. And we expect every school to teach
the reading -- the basics of reading and math. I am challenging the
soft bigotry of low expectations. The days of excuse-making are over.
(Applause.) In return for federal money, we expect results so that
not one single child in America is left behind. (Applause.)
We've done a lot in two-and-a-half years. We reorganized the
government and created the Department of Homeland Security to better
strengthen our borders to protect the American people. We passed trade
promotion authority to open up new markets for Colorado's entrepreneurs
and farmers and ranchers. We passed budget agreements that helps
maintain spending discipline in Washington, D.C. On issue after issue,
I want you to remind the skeptics and the undecideds that this
administration has acted on principle, has kept its word, and has made
progress on behalf of all the American people. (Applause.)
Of course, we didn't do this alone. A lot of the credit goes to
members of the United States Congress. We've got a fabulous Speaker of
the House, Denny Hastert, a great Majority Leader of the United States
Senate, Bill Frist. I appreciate so very much working with them and
the folks from the great state of Colorado.
And the difference now in Washington is, is that we're focusing on
results, not process. We're working to change the tone in Washington
so we can get the people's business done. And by the way, those are
the kind of people I've asked to serve in my administration. I put
together a strong team to work on behalf of the American people.
Our country has had no finer Vice President than Dick Cheney.
(Applause.) Mother may have a second opinion. (Laughter.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: I agree with you. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
In two-and-a-half years, we have come far, but you know, we're only
just beginning. We've great goals worthy of this great nation. The
job of the President is to set our sights high. A great nation
requires great goals.
And here are the goals I've set: first, America is committed to
expanding the realm of freedom and peace, for our own security and for
the benefit of the world. And. secondly, in our own country, we must
work for a society of prosperity and compassion so that every citizen
-- every single citizen, has a chance to work and to succeed and
realize the American Dream.
It is clear that the future of freedom and peace depend on the
actions of America. This nation is freedom's home, it is freedom's
defender. And this nation welcomes this charge of history and we are
keeping this charge of history. (Applause.) The war on terror
continues. See, the enemies of freedom are not idle -- and neither are
we. This country will not rest, we will not tire, and we will not stop
until this danger to civilization is removed. (Applause.)
Yet, our national interest involves more than eliminating
aggressive threats to our safety. Our greatest security come from the
advance of human liberty, because free nations do not support terror.
Free nations do not attack their neighbors. Free nations do not
develop weapons of mass terror. (Applause.) Our country believes that
freedom is the deepest need and hope of every human heart. And we
believe that freedom is the right of every person. And we believe that
freedom is the future of every, single nation. (Applause.)
America also understands that unprecedented influence brings
tremendous responsibilities. We have duties in the world. When we see
disease and starvation and hopeless poverty, we will not turn away. On
the continent of Africa, this great nation is committed to bringing the
healing power of medicine to millions of men and women and children who
are now suffering with AIDS. This great land, this land for which I am
so proud, is leading the world in the incredibly important work of
human rescue. (Applause.)
We face big challenges abroad, and we won't shirk from those
challenges. And we face big challenges here, at home. I will continue
to work on our economy. I'll continue to make sure the entrepreneurial
spirit is strong.
I will continue to try to lay the conditions for capital formation,
so that anybody who wants to work and can't find a job today will be
able to do so. I will continue to work to make sure we meet our
commitments to America's seniors, by modernizing Medicare. A few weeks
ago, the United States Congress took historic action to improve the
lives of older Americans.
I want you to remember this -- for the first time -- first time --
since the creation of Medicare, the House and Senate have passed
reforms to modernize the system, to give seniors more choices and to
provide coverage for prescription drugs for our seniors. (Applause.)
The next step is for both bodies to iron out their difference and
to get a bill to my desk so I can sign it on behalf of the elderly of
the United States of America. We have a solemn obligation, an
obligation which I will continue to call upon the Congress to keep.
For the sake of our health care system, we need to cut down on the
frivolous lawsuits which increase the cost of medicine all across our
country. (Applause.) I fully understand that people who have been
harmed by a bad doctor deserve their day in court. Yet, the system
should not reward lawyers who are simply fishing for rich settlements.
(Applause.) Because frivolous lawsuits drive up the cost of health
care, they affect the federal budget, the affect the Medicare budget,
the Medicaid budget, the veterans budgets. I view medical liability
reform as a national issue which requires a national solution.
The House of Representatives passed a good bill to reform medical
liability. It's stuck in the Senate. The Senate must act. No one has
ever been healed by a frivolous lawsuit, we need medical liability
reform now. (Applause.)
I have a responsibility as President to make sure the judicial
system runs well, and I have met that duty. I have nominated superb
men and women to the federal bench, people who interpret the law, not
legislate from the bench. (Applause.) Yet, some members of the
United States Senate are trying to keep my nominees off the bench by
blocking up-or-down votes. Every judicial nominee deserves a fair
hearing and an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. It is time for
some of the members of the United States Senate to stop playing
politics with American justice. (Applause.)
The Congress needs to complete work on a comprehensive energy
plan. Our nation has got to promote energy conservation and efficiency
and develop cleaner technology so we can explore in more
environmentally sensitive areas. Yet, for the sake of our economic
security, and for the sake of our national security, we must be less
dependent on foreign sources of energy. (Applause.)
Our strong and prosperous nation must also be a compassionate
nation. I will continue to advance the agenda of compassionate
conservatism, which really means applying the best and most innovative
ideas to helping our fellow citizens who hurt and who are in need.
See, there are still millions of men and women in this land who
want the independence and dignity that come from work. We must build
on the success of welfare reform to bring work to the lives of more of
our fellow citizens. Congress ought to complete the Citizen Service
Act so more Americans can serve their community and their country.
Both Houses should finally reach agreement on the faith-based
initiative to support the armies of compassion that are mentoring our
children and caring for the homeless, healing hearts and helping the
A compassionate society must also be a society which promotes
opportunity for all, including the independence and dignity that come
from ownership. This administration will constantly strive to promote
an ownership society in America. We want more people to own their
homes. I'm troubled by the fact we have a minority home ownership gap
in America, and I put forth policies -- constructive, smart policies to
encourage more home ownership all across America.
We want people to own and manage their own health care plan. We
want people to own and manage their own retirement accounts. We want
the entrepreneurial spirit to be strong in America so that people feel
confident in investing in their own small business.
Now, I understand an ownership society is one in which people have
more hope for the future. In a compassionate society, people respect
one another and they take responsibility for the decisions they make in
life. We're changing the culture of America, slowly but surely, from
one that has said, if it feels good, just go ahead and do it, and if
you've got a problem, blame somebody else, to a culture in which each
of us understands that we are responsible for the decisions we make in
If you're fortunate enough to be a mother or father, you're
responsible for loving your child with all your heart and all your
soul. (Applause.) If you're concerned about the quality of the
education in the community in which you live, you're responsible for
doing something about it. If you happen to be a CEO in corporate
America, you're responsible for telling the truth to your employees and
your shareholders. (Applause.) And in the new responsibility society,
each of us is responsible for loving our neighbor just like we'd like
to be loved ourself.
We can see that culture of respect, the culture of change and
service growing around us here in America today. You know, I started
what they call the USA Freedom Corps. It's an opportunity for
Americans to help neighbors in need, and the response has been
fantastic. Got people signing up for all kinds of ways to help in
their community, and I'm grateful.
Our faith-based charities are strong and they're vibrant, which is
important to bring hope to those who hurt. Our policemen and fire
fighters and people who wear our nation's uniform are reminding us what
it means to sacrifice for something greater than themselves in life --
sacrifice for peace, sacrifice for freedom, sacrifice for safe
streets. And once again, the children of America believe in heroes
because they see them every day in America. (Applause.)
In these challenging times, the world has seen the resolve and the
courage of America. I've been privileged to see the compassion and the
character of the American people. The tests of the last two-and-a-half
years have come to the right nation. We're a strong country, and we
use that strength to defend the peace. We're an optimistic country,
confident in ourselves and in ideals bigger than ourselves. Abroad, we
seek to lift up whole nations by spreading freedom. And at home, we
seek to lift up lives by spreading opportunity to every corner of our
country. This is the work that history has set before us, and we
welcome it. And we know that for our country, and for our cause, the
best days lie ahead.
Thank you for coming. May God bless. (Applause.) Thank you all.
END 6:10 P.M. MDT