The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
October 28, 2003

Remarks by the Vice President at a Rally for Gubernatorial Candidate Haley Barbour
Mississippi University for Women
Columbus, Mississippi

3:31 P.M. CST

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) It looks like you're having an election here in Mississippi. (Laughter.) Thank you very much, Haley and Marsha. It's great to be here today, and it's great to be back in a great state, and have an opportunity to visit the W. (Applause.) There's something I like about that initial. (Laughter.)

I bring greetings to each and every one of you and best wishes from the President of the United States, George W. Bush. (Applause.) It's always nice to get out of Washington and spend some time in the real world. (Laughter.) And I'm honored to share the stage today with my great friend, the next governor of Mississippi, Haley Barbour -- (applause) -- and the next first lady of Mississippi, Marsha Barbour -- (applause) -- and your outstanding Lieutenant Governor Amy Tuck. (Applause.)

I've had the honor of spending time in Mississippi a number of times over the years, and I've always been delighted and enjoyed working with your outstanding congressional delegation, as well, too, starting with your very able senators Thad Cochran and Trent Lott, who are close friends. (Applause.) And I'm also delighted that two of your superb Mississippi congressmen are here today, Chip Pickering, of course, from the third district; and Roger Wicker, from right here in the first district. (Applause.)

We've got a big national election coming up next year. There's a lot of hard work ahead of us. But I already have a feeling that when the time arrives, the voters of Mississippi are going to come out strongly for the reelection of President Bush. (Applause.)

But in the meantime, there's another extremely important election just eight days away, and there's no doubt in my mind that Haley Barbour is on his way to victory. (Applause.)

As Haley pointed out, we've been friends for more than 25 years. He's a great friend of the President's. He's served in the White House as an adviser to President Reagan during a critical period in the history of the nation. Later on as Chairman of the Republican National Committee, he helped broaden the base of our party and led us to one of the greatest nationwide victories in our history. He's also been a successful entrepreneur and an executive and someone who is respected and admired all across the country. Yet first and foremost, he's always remained a proud son of Yazoo City, Mississippi. (Applause.)

We need more people like Haley in public life because he's the kind of man who tells it like it is. He sets the right priorities, and he sticks to them. When it's time for action, you can always count on him to do the right thing. As we've seen in this campaign, Haley is a uniter, able to work with people of both parties for the good of the state. Republicans and Democracts agree that Mississippi can do better.

And I think Republicans and Democrats both agree that the governorship of this state is a big job, and the man for that job is Haley Barbour. (Applause.)

These are challenging times for Mississippi and for this great country of ours. Those of us in public office have serious responsibilities, and we hold the public trust. Standing here today in Columbus, with your next governor, I want to thank the people of Mississippi for the honor you've done me of serving as Vice President of the United States.

When President Bush and I took office nearly three years ago, we were determined to solve problems, instead of passing them on to the next generation. We were determined to seize new opportunities for reform, and to get beyond the old debates that had stood in the way of progress. And today, the American people can be confident of a better future, a stronger economy, and greater security against the dangers of our new era because of the character and leadership of our President, George W. Bush. (Applause.)

In the weeks following the terrorist attacks on America, people in every part of the country, regardless of party, took comfort and pride in the character and the conduct of our President. Every day since 9/11, he's led a steady, focused and relentless campaign against the enemies who struck America and killed our citizens. And in that effort, we will prevail. (Applause.)

Already many of al Qaeda's known leaders have been captured or killed. Those still at large are living in fear. And their fears are well founded because we're on their trail.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban regime brutalized an entire population and harbored al Qaeda, and that regime is no more. In Iraq, a ruthless dictator cultivated weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. He supported terrorists, and his regime is no more. We are rolling back the terrorist threat at the very heart of its power in the Middle East. And our war on terror will continue until every enemy who plots against the American people is confronted and defeated. (Applause.)

In these battles, the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States military have performed their duties with enormous skill and courage. As a former Secretary of Defense, and I know you join me in this sentiment, I have never been more proud of the United States military. (Applause.)

These fine young men and women deserve our wholehearted support, they deserve to have their bravery in battle recognized, and to have us acknowledge, as well, the progress they've made in helping the people of Afghanistan and Iraq emerge into a new era of self-rule and freedom. The men and women of our military are rebuilding schools, repairing medical facilities, starting up economies, and training the people of Afghanistan and Iraq to provide security for their fellow citizens. Our men and women in uniform are playing a classic role, one they undertook after World War II, when they brought help and hope for the people of Europe and Japan. And now in the Middle East, they're earning the trust of the people they've liberated.

One of the most important commitments George W. Bush and I made during the 2000 campaign was that the armed forces would be given every resource they need and all the respect they deserve. And we've kept our word to the U.S. military. (Applause.)

Marking sure that our nation is secure has been a principal concern of this administration, and so has the economic well-being of our citizens. By the time the President and I took office, the economy was sliding into recession. To get it growing again, we've delivered tax relief -- significant tax relief. And we've done this because we believe that when families and small businesses are hurting, the best way to help them is to let them keep more of what they earn. (Applause.) After all, the money we spend in Washington is not the government's money -- it's the people's money. (Applause.)

Under President Bush, the American people have received the largest tax relief package since President Reagan lived in the White House. And we are beginning to see the results of that in strong economic growth.

Now, as you know, there are some voices out there who want to roll back tax cuts. I occasionally hear these views on the evening news. (Laughter.) In fact, the Bush tax cuts are what are bringing us out of the recession. Now is exactly the wrong time to talk about raising taxes. The President and I will not be satisfied until every person who wants a job can find a job. (Applause.)

As we work to keep this economy on the right track, we need good partners at the state level. We need governors who understand, as we do, that the key to more jobs is not big government, but free enterprise, low taxes, and spending discipline. That's the kind of governor Haley Barbour will be for the people of Mississippi. (Applause.)

Our administration has also made education reform a high priority. The public schools have a responsibility to build the knowledge and the character of America's children. And we believe in accountability for results. President Bush has reached across the aisle to enact a program that encourages high aspirations and gives parents the information they need to know if their children's schools are making progress. Education has been one of those issues where there's been a lot of talk over the years, but under this President's leadership, talk has been turned to action. And when Haley Barbour is your governor, we'll work with him to make sure that every child in Mississippi has a solid education and a chance to live the American Dream. (Applause.)

On issue after issue, President Bush has led the way in making progress for the nation. And one of the sure signs of his leadership can be seen every day in the people he's brought into government. This is one of the finest teams ever assembled by a President of the United States. And all of us in this administration recognize that our job is not to rest on a strong record, but to keep adding to that record. Abroad we will oppose threats to our freedom and security wherever they gather. And here at home, we have a full agenda and some pressing business to complete.

Congress needs to pass the President's energy strategy into law so that we can modernize the power grid, and encourage cleaner technology, and make the United States less dependent on foreign oil. (Applause.)

Also on Capitol Hill, it's time for the United States Senate to get about the business of confirming President Bush's judicial nominees. (Applause.) The President has put forward superb nominees to serve on the federal bench -- talented, experienced men and women who represent the mainstream of American law and American values. Yet some of our nominees have been denied up-or-down votes for months and even years. One of those nominees is Judge Charles Pickering, of Mississippi. (Applause.)

Judge Pickering is a strong defender of the Constitution, and he would make an outstanding addition to the Federal Court of Appeals. (Applause.) Unfortunately, the Senate Democrats have decided to filibuster several judicial nominations. That means that even though these nominees may have a majority of senators supporting them, as does Judge Pickering, they can't get confirmed unless they get a super majority of 60 votes. That's wrong. (Applause.) It is time for the Senate to end all the needless delays in the confirmation process. It is time to give every nominee a vote on the Senate floor, and they can start with Judge Charles Pickering, of Mississippi. (Applause.)

Congress has unfinished business on health care, as well. We need to strengthen the Medicare program and provide America's seniors with prescription drug coverage. We must also improve our health care system through liability reform. America's doctors should be able to spend their time healing patients, instead of fighting off frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.)

The lawsuit culture makes everyone pay more for health care and is causing many parts of the country to lose fine doctors. I know that legal reform is a major concern in Mississippi. We need to make sure that no good doctor is ever forced to leave Mississippi or any other state simply because of the cost of insurance. There's one good way to end lawsuit abuse in Mississippi, and that's to put Haley Barbour in the governor's office. (Applause.)

My friends, we're in the closing days of a great campaign. And President Bush and I have been pleased to join in that effort. We're proud to know your next governor. We're proud of the campaign he has run -- positive and hopeful and optimistic about the future of this great state. In this election season, there's not a better candidate for state office anywhere in the country than Haley Barbour. (Applause.)

To keep Haley on the path to victory, we need to keep working, reaching out to people all across the state, speaking to friends, making phone calls, and ringing door bells to get out the vote. We need to make sure that every voter in Mississippi knows about the leadership and the vision and the character of this good man. The difference on Election Day comes down to all of you, and you're going to help make history because eight short days from today, you're going to elect one of the finest governors in the United States of America, Haley Barbour, of Mississippi.

END 3:46 P.M. CST

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