|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
March 16, 2004
Remarks by the Vice President at a Luncheon for Congressman Bob Beauprez
12:30 P.M. MST
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much, Lynne. We're delighted to be back in Denver and to see so many old friends. Colorado is close to home. We wish more of you would fish in Colorado than Wyoming. (Laughter.) But we've adapted to that over the years. And we always look forward to coming back to Colorado, as well too.
I like to tell people when Lynne tells a story that if it hadn't been for a great Republican victory in 1952, we would never have married. Because in 1952 when Dwight Eisenhower ran for President, my Dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service, and we were at Lincoln, Nebraska. I was just a youngster. Eisenhower won. He reorganized the Agriculture Department. Dad got transferred to Casper, Wyoming, where I met Lynne. And we grew up together, went to high school together, and August, we'll celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. (Applause.)
I explained that to a group of folks the other day, and that if it hadn't been for that Republican victory in 1952, she would have married somebody else. And she said, "Right, and now he'd be Vice President of the United States." (Laughter.) So there's no doubt in my mind.
I'm delighted to see Governor Bill Owens here today. Bill has done a superb job for Colorado. He's a great friend, and we've been on hunting trips together. And I got into the newspapers, he didn't. (Laughter.) But it's a pleasure always to spend some time with Bill.
And I want to thank my friend Bob Beauprez, for the tremendous work that he does every day on behalf of his congressional district, the state of Colorado, and the people of the entire United States.
Bob has been a superb representative for the seventh district in his first two years in Congress. This November, I know you're going to send him back for a second term. And I might add I'm strongly in favor of second terms. (Laughter and applause.)
Now, the President and I know a little bit about close elections. Beauprez isn't the only one who had a long recount after his last election. (Laughter.) And we're both going to do much better this time around. I'm sure the seventh district, the decision will be resolved as soon as the polls close on Election Day.
And I want to thank all of the state and local officials today. As President of the Senate, I can say that Colorado has one of the Senate's finest delegations in Ben Nighthorse Campbell and Wayne Allard. Ben is retiring this year, and we're going to miss him in Washington. But we're all going to work hard to elect a great successor to Ben. And next January I look forward to swearing in another Colorado Republican to serve alongside Wayne Allard in the United States Senate. (Applause.)
Lynne and I were proud to campaign with Bob in November of 2002, just a few days before that election. We knew it was going to be a tight race on Election Day. All the hard work of all you volunteers and supporters paid off. The voters of the seventh district sent Bob to Congress, and he has repaid their confidence with an exceptional first term.
On issues from transportation, to small businesses, to education, Bob has been a tireless advocate for the people of Colorado. He stands strongly for veterans, and for the military, and firmly believes in tax relief because he believes Colorado families need to keep more of what they earn.
Bob has been a leader in Colorado for decades, and been a dairy farmer, a community banker, and he understands the priorities of his constituents. He's a perfect fit for the seventh district, a great representative in Washington, D.C., and he has earned another term in the United States Congress. (Applause.)
President Bush and I have now begun the fourth year of our administration, a period defined by serious challenges, hard choices, and the need for decisive action. In this time of testing, the President and I have been grateful to have strong leaders like Bob Beauprez by our side.
There are many tasks that those of us in public service must take on, but none is more important than working to ensure that the citizens of this great country are safe and secure. The attacks of September 11, 2001, signaled the arrival of an entirely different era. We suffered massive civilian casualties on our own soil. We awakened to dangers even more lethal -- the possibility that terrorists could gain chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons from outlaw regimes and turn those weapons against the United States.
Remembering what we saw on the morning of 9/11, and knowing the nature of these enemies, we have as clear a responsibility as could ever fall to government, we must do everything in our power to protect our people from terrorist attack, and to keep terrorists from ever acquiring weapons of mass destruction.
This great and urgent responsibility has required a shift in national security policy. For many years prior to 9/11, we treated terror attacks against Americans as isolated incidents and answered, if at all, on an ad hoc basis -- and never in a systematic way. Even after an attack inside our own country, the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, there was a tendency to treat terrorist acts as individual criminal acts to be handled primarily through law enforcement.
The man who perpetrated that attack in 1993, in New York, was tracked down, arrested, convicted, and sent off to serve a 240-year sentence. Yet behind that one man was a growing network with operatives inside and outside the United States waging war against our country.
For us, that war started on 9/11, for them it started years earlier. In 1996, Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, the mastermind of 9/11, first proposed to Osama bin Laden that they use hijacked airliners to attack targets in the United States. During this period in the late '90s, thousands of terrorists were trained at al Qaeda camps throughout Afghanistan. And we've seen the work of terrorists in many attacks since 9/11, in Riyadh, Casablanca, Mombasa, Bali, Jakarta, Najaf, Baghdad, and most recently, Madrid.
The attacks in Spain once again reveal the brutality of our enemy, and once again show that the fight against terrorism is the responsibility of all free nations. The terrorists are testing the unity and the resolve of the civilized world, and we must rise to that test.
Against this kind of determined, organized, ruthless enemy, America requires a new strategy, not merely to prosecute a series of crimes, but to conduct a global campaign against the terrorist network.
Our strategy has several key elements. We have strengthened our defenses here at home, organizing the government to protect the homeland. But a good defense is not enough. The terrorist enemy holds no territory, defends no population, is unconstrained by rules of warfare, and respects no law of morality. Such an enemy cannot be deterred, contained, appeased, or negotiated with -- it can only be destroyed. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the business at hand. (Applause.)
In Afghanistan, we have removed the brutal Taliban regime from power and destroyed the al Qaeda training camps. In Iraq, America and her allies rid the Iraqi people of a murderous dictator, and rid the world of a menace to our peace and security. A year ago, Saddam Hussein controlled the lives and the future of almost 25 million people, today he's in jail -- never again to brutalize the Iraqi people, never again to support dangerous terrorists, or pursue weapons of mass destruction, and never again to threaten the United States of America. (Applause.)
From the beginning, America has sought and received international support for our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the war on terror, we will always seek cooperation from our allies around the world. But as the President has made very clear, there is a difference between leading a coalition of many nations, and submitting to the objections of a few. The United States will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country. (Applause.)
I noticed recently that Senator Kerry has been making some observations about foreign policy. He's been telling people that his ideas have gained strong support, at least among unnamed foreigners he's been spending time with. (Laughter.) Senator Kerry said that he has met with foreign leaders, and I quote, "who can't go out and say this publicly, but, boy, they look at you and say, you've got to win this, you've got to beat this guy, we need a new policy, things like that." End quote.
A few days ago, in Pennsylvania, a voter asked Senator Kerry directly who these foreign leaders are. Senator Kerry said, "That's none of your business."
But it is our business when a candidate for President claims the political endorsement of foreign leaders. At the very least, we have a right to know what he is saying to foreign leaders that makes them so supportive of his candidacy. We are the ones who get to determine the outcome of this election, not unnamed foreign leaders. (Applause.)
Our country is enormously fortunate during these times of testing to have George W. Bush as our Commander-in-Chief. (Applause.) He has been strong, he's been steady, he's been consistent.
In January, I visited one of our military bases at Vicenza, Italy, where I had a chance to talk with some of the fine men and women of our armed forces -- recently returned from Iraq. One young soldier, part of the 173rd Airborne that jumped into Iraq at the beginning of the war, wanted me to know how much he appreciated the President's decisive leadership. "Indecision kills, sir," this young soldier said to me, "indecision kills."
These are not times for leaders who shift with the political winds, saying one thing one day and another, the next. We need a Commander-in-Chief of clear vision and steady determination. And that's just what we have in President George W. Bush. (Applause.)
We've been enormously fortunate during these times of testing for our nation to have the dedicated service of the men and women who wear America's uniform. Many of them have seen hard duty, long deployments, and fierce fighting. They've endured the loss of friends and comrades. They've done all of these things with great courage, and we are enormously proud of each and every one of them. (Applause.)
The long-term security of our nation has been a principal concern of President Bush, and so has the economic well-being of our citizens. By the time we took office, the economy was sliding into recession. Then, just as we were beginning to recover, terrorists struck our nation and shook our economy once again. Working with Bob Beauprez and others in Congress, President Bush has taken strong, confident steps to get the economy growing again. The President has signed into law three separate tax relief measures, resulting in significant tax relief for millions of American families and businesses. (Applause.)
We doubled the child tax credit, decreased the marriage penalty, cut tax rates across the board. We raised the expensing deduction for small businesses to give them strong incentives to invest, and we put the death tax on the way to extinction. (Applause.)
Now we're beginning to see the results of the President's policies. In the second half of last year, our economy grew at an annual rate of better than 6 percent -- its fastest pace in nearly two decades, and the highest rate of any major industrialized nation in the world. New home construction last year was the highest in 25 years. Home ownership is the highest ever. Interest rates are low. Inflation is low. Manufacturing activity is increasing. Productivity is high. Business investment is growing. And unemployment is at 5.6 percent, almost exactly where it was when Senator Kerry was campaigning for Bill Clinton in 1996. Real disposable personal income is growing strongly, meaning that American workers have more money to spend, to save and to invest. America's economy is moving in the right direction. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. (Applause.)
The American people are using their money better than the government would have, and Congress was right to let them keep it. As you know, there are voices in the land who want to roll back the Bush tax cuts. Sometimes we hear these voices on the evening news. Senator Kerry has said that he would repeal the Bush tax cuts within the first 100 days in office. This isn't surprising when you consider that he has voted 350 times in the United States Senate for higher taxes. But for the sake of long-term growth and job-creation, we ought to do exactly the opposite of what Senator Kerry proposes: We should make the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Applause.)
Tax cuts started the economic recovery. To strengthen it even more, we need to protect small business owners and employees from frivolous lawsuits and needless regulation. We need to control the cost of health care by passing medical liability reform. Here in Colorado, and across the nation, good doctors should be able to spend their time healing patients, not fighting off frivolous lawsuits.
We need to pass sound energy legislation, modernize our electricity system, and make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy. We should limit the burden of government on this economy by acting as good stewards of the taxpayers' dollars. The President has proposed a budget that limits the growth in discretionary spending. With spending discipline and pro-growth economic policies, we can cut the deficit in half in the next five years.
It is also time for the United States Senate to get about the business of confirming President Bush's judicial nominees. (Applause.) The President has put forward talented, experienced men and women who represent the mainstream of American law and American values. Yet Senate Democrats have taken to waging filibusters, denying up-or-down votes for months, or even years. That's unfair to the judicial nominees, and it is an abuse of the constitutional process. This small group of senators needs to stop playing politics with American justice. Every nominee deserves a prompt up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. And that's another reason we need more Republicans like Ben Campbell and Wayne Allard in the United States Senate. (Applause.)
On issue after issue, from national security, to economic growth, to improving our public schools, President Bush has led the way in making progress for the American people. Bob has stood with us on all of these vital issues, and he shares our optimism about the next four years.
President Bush has a clear vision for the future of this country: Abroad, we will use America's great power to serve great purposes, to turn back the forces of terror, and to spread hope and freedom throughout the world.
Here at home, we will continue building prosperity that reaches every corner of the land so that every child who grows up in the United States of America will have a chance to learn, and to succeed, and to rise in the world.
Once again, thank you all for your commitment to the cause we all share. It's an honor to stand with you in supporting Bob Beauprez. You are united behind a strong leader and a dedicated representative. Bob has the right priorities for Colorado, and he's going to keep working hard for the people of the seventh district. Next year, he's coming back to Washington for another term in the United States Congress, and we look forward to working with him for a good many years to come.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
END 12:42 P.M. MST