The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
June 23, 2004

Vice President's Remarks at a Rally for Bush-Cheney '04
Springfield Expo Center
Springfield, Missouri
June 21, 2004

5:59 P.M. CDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Four more years, four more years, four more years, four more years, four more years, four more years.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much. That was a hell of a red dress. (Laughter.) I remember it still.

I often tell people that Lynne and I got married as a result of a great presidential victory when Dwight Eisenhower got elected President of the United States. Because in those days, 1952, I was living with my folks in Lincoln, Nebraska. And Lynne lived in Casper, Wyoming. Dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service, the Department of Agriculture. Eisenhower came in; he got elected; he reorganized the Agriculture Department. Dad got transferred to Casper, Wyoming. And so we moved there when I was 13, met Lynne, grew up together, went to high school together, and we'll celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary come August. (Applause.)

I explained that to a group of folks the other night, that if it hadn't been for that great victory in 1952 at the polls, that Lynne would have married somebody else. (Laughter.) And she said, right, and now he'd be Vice President of the United States. (Laughter.)

But we're delighted to be here today. As Lynne pointed out, her family's roots are down at Cabool, Missouri. As always, I want to thank Lynne for capturing the real me with that introduction. (Laughter.) It's great to be back in the fine city of Springfield, as well. And I bring good wishes to each and every one of you from our President, George W. Bush. (Applause.)

And you know on the way over here, we had to make a stop at Johnny Moore's (ph) Bass Pro Shops. (Laughter.) We had a little extra time on our hands, and I couldn't go by Bass Pro Shops without stopping. I'm on their list, and they've got a lot of my money. (Laughter.) But as we went through, there were a lot of folks gathered around. And they wanted to shake hands and so forth and have their picture taken. One young man came up and asked to have his picture taken with me. So I said, sure. We took the photograph, and then he stepped away and he said -- he said, my dad is a Democrat and this picture is going to drive him nuts. (Laughter and applause.)

I responded, I said, that's nothing, wait till you see what we're going to do to John Kerry on November 2nd. (Applause.)

We're honored to be here today with the speaker of the house, Catherine Hanaway. And we always appreciate the opportunity to get out of Washington for a short period of time, even to spend a little time in the real world.

I've had the honor of visiting Missouri many times over the years, and I've enjoyed working with the fine Congressional delegation from your state, starting with your very able U.S. Senators, Jim Talent and Kit Bond. (Applause.) They're doing a great job for Missouri, and I know Kit is going to win another term this November. (Applause.)

We've got a big national election a little more than four months away, and there's a lot of work ahead. I appreciate you're willingness to help. The most important thing you can do is register to vote, encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same. You can also become a volunteer for the campaign by signing up on our website. They picked a name that's easy to remember:

The President and I are going to work hard to earn your support and the support of people all Missouri and all across this state. And with your help, I have the feeling that once again, the voters of Missouri are going to come out strongly for the Bush-Cheney ticket. (Applause.)

Every day between now and the 2nd of November, President Bush and I are going to present our record to the American people, and clarify the extraordinarily important choices before us in this election. These are challenging times for our country, and we are 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 that is more secure, 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 conduct of our President. Since 9/11, he has led a steady, focused, and relentless campaign against the enemies who struck America and killed 3,000 of our citizens that morning. And in that effort, we will prevail. (Applause.)

Across the world, we are fighting and we are winning the war on terror. Already, two-thirds of al Qaeda's known leaders have been captured or killed. Those still at large are on the run, and their fears are well founded, because we are on their trail. (Applause.)

In Afghanistan, we removed the brutal Taliban from power and destroyed the camps where the terrorists 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. (Applause.) Saddam Hussein once controlled the lives of nearly 25 million people. Today he is in jail. (Applause.) Because we acted, he will never again brutalize the Iraqi people, never again support terrorists or pursue weapons of mass destruction, and never again threaten the United States of America. (Applause.)

We still face serious challenges in these liberated countries, but we are making progress, and no power of the enemy will stop it. Afghanistan has an interim government, a constitution has been written, and later this fall, free elections will be held. Just this last week, Hamid Karzai, the President of Afghanistan, came before a joint session of Congress and said thank you to the American people. (Applause.) Iraq also has an interim government, including a president and a prime minister, and we're moving forward on a five-step plan to help Iraqis secure democracy and freedom. Next week, on the 30th of June, Iraq will become a sovereign nation once again, and a rising democracy that the United States can call a friend. (Applause.)

The defeat of tyranny and violence in that nation, and the rise of democracy in the heart of the Middle East, will be a crucial setback for international terror. Because we are 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 Afghanistan and Iraq today, so we do not have to face him with armies of firefighters, police, and doctors on the streets of our own cities. (Applause.)

This nation is extremely fortunate during these times of testing to have the dedicated service of our men and women in uniform. They are proving every day -- (applause) -- 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 President 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 have kept our word to the U.S. military. (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.)

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.)

The President's opponent, Senator Kerry, comes at things a little differently. Sometimes his position on a big issue depends on when you ask him. (Laughter.) When Congress voted to authorize force against Saddam Hussein, Senator Kerry voted yes. This year, when it served the 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 the question. Last fall, at the President's request, Congress considered legislation providing a supplemental appropriation for the military, 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 in the Senate of 87 to 12. Senator Kerry voted no. (Groans.) I like this crowd. (Laughter.) He then gave one of those explanations that we've all come to expect from him. He said, "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it." (Laughter.) Well that sure clears things up. (Laughter.)

And then there was Senator Kerry's announcement that a lot of foreign leaders are supporting his campaign. (Laughter.) In Pennsylvania, a voter asked the Senator directly who these foreign leaders are. Senator Kerry said, "That's none of your business." (Laughter.) But it is our business when a candidate for President claims political endorsements from abroad. This American -- this election will be decided by the American people -- not unnamed foreign leaders. (Applause.)

There is no doubt that great events will turn on this choice. The leader who sits in the Oval Office will set the course for the war on terror, and set the direction of the American economy. Three-and-a-half-years ago, by the time the President and I took office, the economy was sliding into recession, and to get it growing again, we have delivered tax relief -- not once, not twice, but three times. (Applause.)

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 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. (Applause.)

Across the nation, the results of the President's policies are clear. The economy added 248,000 new jobs last month. We have added more than 1.4 million new jobs since August. Manufacturing jobs have increased for four straight months. The home ownership rate is the highest ever. Productivity is high. Incomes, wages, and factory orders have been rising. And over the past year, our economy has grown at a rate of 5 percent, the fastest rate of growth since Ronald Reagan's first term in the White House. (Applause.) Over the last three years our economy has been growing at the fastest pace of any major industrialized nation. 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.

Senator Kerry looks at all this economic growth and the efforts of workers across America, and somehow can only find cause for pessimism. And his idea for cheering up the country is to raise our taxes.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: The Senator has promised to repeal most of the Bush tax cuts within his first 100 days in office.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: 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. (Laughter.)

For the sake of long-term growth and job creation, we should do exactly the opposite of what Senator Kerry proposes. We should continue spending discipline in Washington, D.C. And because tax cuts are the basis of our economic recovery, we should make the tax cuts permanent. (Applause.)

Under the strong economic leadership of President Bush, this nation is going to continue moving forward with an aggressive, optimistic, pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda. (Applause.)

Our nation needs legal reform, to protect small businesses from junk lawsuits and needless regulation. America's entrepreneurs should be able to hire productive workers, instead of hiring lawyers.

Our country also needs medical liability reform to control the costs of health care. (Applause.) Here in Missouri and across the nation, doctors should be able to spend their time healing patients, not fighting off frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.)

Our country also needs a comprehensive energy plan. It's time for Congress to pass the common-sense plan President Bush submitted three years ago, and make the United States less dependent on foreign sources of energy. (Applause.)

Ladies and gentlemen, on issue after issue, the choice on November 2nd is very clear. It's a choice between President Bush's optimism, and Senator Kerry's pessimism. On national security, it's a choice between President Bush's confidence, and Senator Kerry's confusion. On the economy, it's a choice between a President who took action and has led America to days of progress and opportunity, and a senator who would take us back to the days of malaise. That's a contest we welcome, and that's a contest we will win. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Four more years, four more years, four more years, four more years.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: President Bush has a clear vision for the future of this nation. Abroad, we will make use of 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.

The President and I are both honored by your confidence in us, and by your commitment to the cause we all share. We're grateful to our many friends across Missouri. And now, together, we are going to see our cause forward to victory on November 2nd.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

END 6:19 P.M. CDT

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