For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
November 7, 2003
Remarks by the Vice President at a Dinner for Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell
The Hyatt Regency Denver
November 6, 2003
6:00 P.M. MST
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you all, very much. And I want to thank Ben for his kind words. And I'm delighted to be here on this occasion when once again, he said yes, he's going to run for the United States Senate again in 2004. (Applause.)
Of course, we're all here tonight to make absolutely certain he gets reelected in 2004. (Applause.) It's great to be back in Denver and back in Colorado. And of course, having been the congressman for 10 years from Wyoming, I know a little bit about Colorado. And my daughters and wife went to school in Colorado, and I've spent a lot of time here over the years and got many great friends here. And I especially want to bring all of you tonight greetings from the man in the White House, President George W. Bush. (Applause.)
We could not have done it in 2000 without those electoral votes - those eight electoral votes from Colorado. I like remind to the President, as well, that those three from Wyoming came in pretty handy, too. (Laughter.)
Looking to next year, to November of 2004, we've got a very busy year ahead of us. And this week, of course, we got some early indications on how voters are feeling about Republican leadership. On Tuesday in Mississippi, the sitting Democratic Governor was unseated by the former RNC Chairman, Haley Barbour. (Applause.) In Kentucky, the voters chose Dr. Ernie Fletcher, the first Republican Governor in that state in 36 years. (Applause.) And last week I was visited in my office by that new governor from California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, a great Republican. (Applause.) I'm confident that next year, the American people, as well, are going to reelect our Republican President, George W. Bush. (Applause.)
Leading the Colorado ticket next year, of course, is going to be United States Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell. (Applause.) And I'm proud to be here tonight on Ben's behalf. We've been friends a long time, as he explained. We began serving together back in the House in the 1980s. We both came from Western states and had a lot in common. I think Ben and his colleague, Wayne Allard, are one of the finest teams in the United States Senate today. (Applause.)
Of course, I have a special interest as the Vice President. My only real job is as President of the Senate. And when they wrote the Constitution and created the vice presidency, they got down to the end of the Constitutional Convention and somebody remembered they hadn't given the Vice President any job. He had nothing to do. (Laughter.) So they said, well, we'll let him preside over the United States Senate - and made my the President of the Senate. And when I go to the Senate, I'm called Mr. President, reference to my Senate title.
My predecessor, John Adams, our first Vice President also had floor privileges. He could go down in the well of the Senate and actually engage in debate. And then he did a couple of times, and they withdrew his floor privileges. (Laughter.) And they've never been restored. So I'm not allowed to speak, but I do get to cast that tie-breaking vote. And it's absolutely essential for everybody to understand the enormous importance the President and I place on having Republican allies in control in those key slots in the House and the Senate of the United States. Our job would be far more difficult than it is on all the key issues of the day if it weren't for the fact that those chairmanships reside in the hands and committees and sub-committees of great senators like Ben Nighthorse Campbell and so many others. So it's crucial that we absolutely maintain control of the Senate and expand our numbers next time around. (Applause.)
Of course, like Ronald Reagan, Ben started out as a Democrat - so did my dad -- and in his career has become one of the best known and one of the most admired public servants in the American West. He's a man of conviction. He's respected by colleagues on both sides of the aisle. And he's been a strong voice for Colorado and the West, and a voice of common sense on everything from the environment to energy to the interests of Native Americans and to our veterans.
He's led one of the great American lives - if you think about it -- active duty in the Air Force during the Korean War; on the Olympic team; a rancher; entrepreneur; and, now for two decades, a devoted public servant. He brings wisdom and civility to Washington -- a city badly in need of both. And President Bush and I are delighted to be proud - and will be proud year to be on the ticket here in Colorado with Ben Nighthorse Campbell as a United States Senator. (Applause.)
With the responsibilities that the President and I have, of course, we count very heavily on our capable partners in the Senate and the House. The President came to Washington determined to solve problems, instead of simply passing them on to future generations. We were determined to seize new opportunities for reform -- to get beyond some of the old debates that stood in the way of progress for many years.
I think today, as we look ahead to the election of 2004, we've got a record of accomplishment to show for our efforts. I think the American people can be confident of a better future, a stronger economy, and greater security against the dangers we face in this new era, because of the character and the leadership of President George W. Bush.
In the weeks following the terrorist attacks on America, people in every part of the country took pride and comfort in the character and conduct of our President. From that day to this, he's led a steady, focused, and relentless campaign against the enemies who struck America that day and killed our fellow citizens.
Not long after September 11th, one high-ranking al Qaeda official said, "This is the beginning of the end for America." It is pretty clear that this terrorist did not know us. It is pretty clear that terrorist had no idea what he was talking about. (Applause.) It's pretty clear that the terrorists who attacked us did not understand the strength and resilience of this country. And they clearly underestimated the determination of our President.
As we stand here today, a great many of al Qaeda's known leaders are captured or killed. Those still living in fear are living in fear, and their fear is well founded. 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 gave support to terrorists, had an established relationship with al Qaeda, and his regime is no more.
Freedom still has enemies in Iraq. These terrorists are targeting the very success and the freedom we're providing to the Iraqi people. But we will persevere until every one of them is confronted and defeated. (Applause.)
This is no easy task, but the men and women of America's Armed Forces are undertaking it with enormous skill and courage. And as part of the greater Fort Carson community, you see it firsthand and you play an essential role demonstrating the strength and the support the American people have for our troops. As a former Secretary of Defense, like you, I have never been prouder of the men and women of the United States military. (Applause.)
These young Americans 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 to emerge into a new era of self-rule and freedom. Now in the Middle East they are supporting the citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan as they create countries that can be part of the world community, instead of a threat to it. This is a mission that must succeed, and under this President, it will succeed. (Applause.)
One of the most important commitments President Bush and I made during the 2000 campaign was that the armed forces would be given every resource they need and the respect they deserve --and we have kept our word. (Applause.)
Making sure that our nation is secure has been a principal concern of this administration. And so has the economic well-being of our citizens. As Ben explained, by the time we 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.) As the President likes to remind us, the money we spend in Washington is not the government's money -- it's the people's money. (Applause.)
With the help of Senator Campbell, and others who have a like view, our Administration has delivered the largest tax relief package since Ronald Reagan was in the White House, and we are beginning now to see strong economic growth as a result. Ben mentioned the figures for the third quarter that show the economy grew at an annual rate of 7.2 percent - the best in nearly 20 years. Exports are expanding, business investment is rising. Housing construction is booming, and jobs are beginning to be created. And the President and I will not rest until every American who wants to work can find a job. (Applause.)
As you know, there are voices in the land who want to roll back the Bush tax cuts. Sometimes I hear these voices on the nightly news. (Applause.) But, in fact, the Bush tax cuts are what is bringing us out of recession and helping to foster long-term economic growth. Instead of rolling - instead of rolling the tax cuts back, we ought to do as the President has asked, we ought to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Applause.)
The President has also made education reform a matter of the highest priority. He has reached across the aisle to enact a program that encourages high aspirations and accountability and gives parents the information they need to know about whether or not their children's schools are making progress.
Education has been one of those issues where there has been a lot of talk about over the years, but under this President's leadership, talk was turned to action. Similarly, after many failed attempts in the 1990s, we now have trade promotion authority to open new markets for America's farmers, ranchers, and manufacturers.
On issue after issue, President Bush has led the way in making progress for the American people. All of us in this Administration - and the Republicans in the House and Senate -- recognize that our job is not to rest on a strong record, but to keep adding to that record. Abroad, the fundamental interest of this nation requires that we oppose threats to our freedom and security wherever they gather. And it requires that we encourage free markets, democracy and tolerance because these are the ideas and the aspirations that overcome violence and turn societies to the pursuits of peace. In the Middle East and beyond, all who strive and sacrifice for the cause of freedom will have a friend in the United States of America. (Applause.)
Here at home, we have a full agenda, and some pressing business to complete. After so many years of inaction, we are nearing major reform in Medicare -- reform that strengthens the system, and provides America's seniors with prescription drug coverage. We also must improve our health care system through liability reform. In Colorado and across America, doctors should be able to spend their time healing patients, instead of fighting frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.)
Thanks to the President's leadership, and with help from leaders like Ben, the Congress is nearing passage of a comprehensive energy plan. The President has proposed a strategy based on greater efficiency and conservation, cleaner technology, and more energy production right here in the United States of America. For the sake of our economic security and our national security, we must modernize our energy infrastructure and make this nation 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 these nominees have been denied an up-or-down vote for months, and even years.
Last week, Senate Democrats waged a filibuster against another nominee who would have been confirmed with a solid majority if the Senate had simply been permitted to vote. It is time for the Senate to end the unfair practice, and to end all the needless delays in the confirmation process. Every nominee deserves a prompt vote on the Senate floor -- and that's another reason we need to reelect Senator Campbell and to give him more Republican colleagues in the United States Senate. (Applause.)
We've achieved a great deal over the last several years. But there's still a great deal left to do in Washington -- and around the world this nation has many serious responsibilities and challenges. The campaign season will come in due course -- and when it does, President Bush and I will run hard and take nothing for granted. Senator Campbell will do the same. We understand that the key to victory is to do the work we've been given, and to do it well. We intend to make good use of every day we have the honor of serving the American people.
Long before I took this job, I had the good fortune to work with other Presidents I greatly admire. As White House Chief of Staff in the aftermath of Watergate, I saw Gerald Ford restore confidence in government by the sheer decency and force of his character. As a congressman during the decisive years of the Cold War, I saw the conviction and the moral courage of Ronald Reagan. And as a member of the Cabinet under former President Bush, I saw the ideal of public service in its purest form and came to know a leader of honor and integrity.
Along the way, I learned a few things about the presidency, and the kind of person it takes to do that job well. It takes the finest qualities of character: conviction, personal integrity, good judgment, compassion, and courage in times of testing for the nation. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly the kind of man we have in the White House today. (Applause.)
President Bush and I are both honored by your confidence in us, and by your commitment to the cause we share. And we are grateful to the people of Colorado for sending Ben Nighthorse Campbell to Washington. He is a steady leader in the Congress, he reflects great credit on the people of Colorado. And I look forward to working with him for a good many years to come.
Thank you all very much. (Applause.)
END 6:20 P.M. MST