For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
June 28, 2004
Vice President's Remarks at Geoff Davis Event
Marriott Cincinnati Airport Hotel
12:15 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much. Thank you very much for that welcome and, thank you, Geoff, for that introduction. It's good to be back in Kentucky, and I'm proud to stand with the next congressman from the 4th district, Geoff Davis. (Applause.)
And it's a pleasure to bring greetings to all of you from our President, George W. Bush. (Applause.)
Lynne is traveling with me today. We will shortly celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary, come August. (Applause.) I often explain to people that the only reason we got married was because of politics, that if it hadn't been for Dwight Eisenhower's election victory in 1952, things would have turned out very differently. Because in 1952, I was living with my parents in Lincoln, Nebraska. Dad worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Eisenhower got elected, he reorganized the Agriculture Department, dad got transferred to Casper, Wyoming, when I was 13. And that's where I met Lynne. So we grew up together, went to high school together, and, as I say, we'll celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary here in a couple of months.
When I explained that to a group of people the other night, that if it hadn't been for Dwight Eisenhower's great election victory in 1952, Lynne would have married somebody else. And she said, right, and now he'd be Vice President of the United States. (Laughter and applause.)
As Vice President, many of you may not know this, but my only real job is to preside over the Senate. That when they wrote the Constitution they created the post of Vice President, they got down to the end of the convention and discovered they hadn't given the Vice President anything to do, so they made him the presiding officer in the Senate, let him cast tie-breaking votes and so forth. So I get to spend a lot of time watching and working in the Senate. And I want to say a word about Kentucky's two fantastic senators. You've got a great team in Mitch McConnell and Jim Bunning. They're both doing great work in Washington, for the nation and for the people of this state. And next January, I look forward to swearing in Jim Bunning for another term in the United States Senate. (Applause.)
The President and I are tremendously grateful for all of our supporters here in Kentucky. We were proud to carry this state in the last election, and we're going to work hard to earn your support again this year. And with your help, Kentucky is going to be part of a nationwide victory on November 2nd. (Applause.)
The elections this November will decide critical questions about our country's future. Every race on the ballot is very important, and that's why it's so vital for you to send Geoff Davis to the United States Congress. Serving in the House is a serious responsibility. I served in the House of Representatives in Wyoming for 10 years. Wyoming had a small delegation, there was only one congressman -- but it was quality. (Laughter.)
But I came to appreciate the value of what it takes to make an effective member of Congress, and I think Geoff has exactly the right ideas and the right experience for the job. He's defended his nation as an Army Ranger. He leads a successful business. He works hard to make his community a better place to live, and we need more people like Geoff in Washington and I know he's going to be the next congressman from Kentucky's 4th district. (Applause.)
Geoff understands that these are challenging times for our country, and we're meeting every challenge with strength and resolve. And, today, the American people can be confident of a better future, a stronger economy and a nation more secure against the dangers of our new era because of the character and the leadership of our President, George W. Bush.
In the weeks following the terrorist attacks on America, people in every part of the country, regardless of party, took pride and comfort in the conduct of our President. Since 9/11, he's led a steady, focused, relentless campaign against the enemies who struck America and killed some 3,000 of our fellow citizens. And in that effort, we will prevail. (Applause.)
Around the world we are fighting and winning the war on terror. Already, more than two-thirds of al Qaeda's known leaders have been captured or killed. Those still at large are on the run, and they know we're on their trail. In Afghanistan, we removed the brutal Taliban from power and destroyed the camps where terrorists have trained to kill Americans. In Iraq, America and our allies rid the Iraqi people of a murderous dictator, and rid the world of a gathering threat to our peace and security. Saddam Hussein once controlled the lives and the future of almost 25 million people. Today, he's in jail. (Applause.)
Because we acted, he will never again brutalize the Iraqi people, never again support terrorists or pursue weapons of mass destruction, never again threaten the United States of America.
We still face serious challenges in those liberated countries, as we saw last week in the bombings in Iraq. The killers who strike police stations and government buildings are not fighting foreigners, they are fighting the Iraqi people, themselves. They are enemies of democracy and hope and a peaceful future for Iraq. They will not succeed.
Earlier today, two days ahead of schedule, the world witnessed the arrival of a free and sovereign Iraq, and an emerging democracy that the United States will be able to call a friend.
We're making progress in Afghanistan, as well. An interim government is operating, a constitution has been written, later this fall there will be free elections. And earlier this month, Afghan President Hamid Karzai spoke to a joint session of Congress and thanked the American people for liberating his country.
The defeat of tyranny and violence in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the rise of democracy in the heart of the Middle East will be a crucial setback for international terrorism. Because we're strong and resolute, Iraq will never go back to the camp of tyranny and terror. And America will never go back to the false comforts of the world before 9/11. Terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength, they are invited by the perception of weakness. (Applause.)
This nation has made a decision: We will engage the enemy, facing him with our military in Iraq and Afghanistan today, so that we do not have to face him with armies of firefighters, police and medical personnel on the streets of our own cities.
This nation is extremely fortunate during these times of testing to have the dedicated service of our men and women in uniform. Many of our armed forces in Afghanistan and Iraq deployed from Fort Campbell, here in Kentucky. They are proving every day that when we send them to defend our country, we are sending the very best of the United States of America. (Applause.) One of the most important commitments that 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 United States military.
From the beginning, America had 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.)
These are not times for leaders who shift with the political winds, saying one thing one day, and another the next. Geoff understands that, and so do the people of Northern Kentucky. 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.)
The President's opponents these days comes at things a little differently. Sometimes his position on a big issue depends on when you ask him. When Congress voted to authorize force against Saddam Hussein, he voted "yes." This year, when it served his purpose, he described himself as an opponent of the war. When it came time to fund our troops in Iraq, he managed to take both sides of that issue, as well. Last fall, at the President's request, Congress considered legislation providing funding for body armor and other vital support for our military, such as hazard pay, health benefits, ammunition, fuel and spare parts. The legislation passed overwhelmingly with a vote of 87 to 12 in the Senate. Senator Kerry voted "no."
He then gave one of those explanations we've all come to expect from him. He said -- and I quote -- "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it." Well, that sure clears things up. (Laughter.)
There's no doubt that great events will turn on this election. The leader who sits in the Oval Office and the men and women who represent you on Capitol Hill will set the course for the war on terror and set the direction for the American economy. Strong, consistent leadership is required, both on our actions overseas and our policies here at home. By the time the President and I took office three-and-a-half years ago, the economy was sliding into recession. Then, just as our economy was ready to recover, terrorists struck our nation and shook our economy once again.
President Bush took strong steps to get the economy growing. Working with our allies on Capitol Hill, the President signed into law significant tax relief for millions of American families and businesses. We've doubled the child tax credit, decreased the marriage penalty, cut tax rates across the board, and put the death tax on the path to extinction. As a business owner, Geoff understands the wisdom of our actions. And across the nation, the results of the President's policies are clear.
The economy added 248,000 new jobs last month alone. We've added more than 1.4 million new jobs since last August. Manufacturing jobs have increased for four straight months. The home ownership rate is the highest ever. Productivity is high. Incomes and wages have been rising. Economic growth over the last year was nearly 5 percent, with GDP growth since last summer rising at the fastest three-quarter rate in 20 years. There's a simple reason for our growing prosperity: The Bush tax relief is working. (Applause.)
Just as we expected, the American people are using their money far better than the government would have, and Congress was right to let them keep it. (Applause.)
Some look at all the economic growth and efforts of workers across America and can find only cause for pessimism. And their idea for cheering up the country is to raise our taxes. The President's opponent has promised to repeal most of the Bush tax cuts within the first 100 days in office. This isn't surprising when you consider his record. Over the years, Senator Kerry has voted over 350 times for higher taxes on the American people, including the biggest tax increase in American history. That's an average of a vote for higher taxes every three weeks for the last 20 years. At least the folks back in Massachusetts knew he was on the job.
For the sake of long-term growth and job creation, we should do exactly the opposite of what the economic pessimists propose. We should make the tax cuts permanent because they are the basis for our economic recovery. (Applause.) Under the strong economic leadership of President Bush, and with the help of Geoff Davis, this nation is going to continue moving forward with an aggressive, optimistic, pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda. The President and I will not be satisfied until every American who wants to work can find a job.
Our nation needs to end lawsuit abuse, to protect small businesses from junk lawsuits, and to curb needless regulation. America's entrepreneurs should be able to hire productive workers, instead of hiring lawyers. (Applause.)
Our country also needs medical liability reform to control the cost of health care. (Applause.) Here in Kentucky and across the nation, doctors should be able to spend their time healing patients, not fighting off frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.)
As Geoff has said, our country needs a comprehensive energy plan. It's time for Congress to pass the common sense plan that President Bush submitted three years ago, and make the United States less dependent on foreign sources of energy.
Geoff also understands the importance of defending our society's fundamental rights and values. And so it's also time for the United States Senate to get about the business of confirming President Bush's judicial nominees. (Applause.) Far too many of the nominees are being forced to spend months or even years waiting for hearings and up-or-down votes. A number are still being filibustered. That's unfair to the judicial nominees and it's an abuse of the constitutional process. Every nominee deserves a prompt up-or-down vote on the Senate floor, and that's another reason we need to send Jim Bunning back to the United States Senate. (Applause.)
Ladies on gentlemen, on issue after issue, the choice on November 2nd will be very clear: it will be a choice between our optimism and our opponent's pessimism; on national security, it's a choice between confidence and their confusion; on the economy it's a choice between those who took action and have led America to days of progress and opportunity, and those who would take us back to the days of malaise. That's a contest we all welcome. That's a contest we will win.
President Bush has a clear vision for the future of the nation. Aboard he will use -- excuse me, abroad he will use America's great power to serve great purposes, to protect our homeland by turning 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. Geoff shares that vision and once he's in Congress, he'll be a key ally in carrying it out. The President and I are proud the stand with him today. He's a hard worker, a decent man, and he's going to be a superb congressman. We'll be grateful to the people of this district for sending him to Washington, and we look forward to working with him for a good many years to come.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
END 12:32 P.M. EDT