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 Home > News & Policies > July 2004

For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
July 30, 2004

Vice President's Remarks at a Bush-Cheney '04 Rally
Dwight DC Eisenhower High School
Yakima, Washington

2:23 P.M. PDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well. (Laughter.) That's a nice welcome. And Lynne and I are delighted to be back in Washington State. Lynne and I were in Kennewick at the beginning of the week, campaigning for your next governor, Dino Rossi. (Applause.) We had such a good time, we thought we'd come do it again. (Laughter.) But I'm glad we did because Yakima looks like Bush-Cheney country. (Applause.)

But the story I want to tell -- I notice we're in the Eisenhower school. (Applause.) And Dwight Eisenhower had great significance for our family because if it hadn't been for Dwight Eisenhower, Lynne and I wouldn't have gotten married. (Applause.) They're saying, where is he going with that one? (Laughter.)

Well, the fact is in 1952, I was a youngster living in Lincoln, Nebraska. Dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service. Dwight Eisenhower got elected that year, reorganized the Agriculture Department, Dad got shipped to Casper, Wyoming. And that's where I met Lynne. And we grew up together, went to high school together. And next month, we'll celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. (Applause.) But I explained to a group the other night that if it hadn't been for Dwight Eisenhower Lynne would have married somebody else. (Laughter.) She said, right, and now he'd be Vice President of the United States. (Laughter.)

And I want to thank my good friend Alan Simpson. (Applause.) He and I campaigned a lot together over the years. He campaigned with me frequently four years ago. And I'm convinced that -- I'm superstitious, I guess, and that having Al Simpson out there on the trail with us is exactly the right thing to do to make certain that we prevail on November 2nd. (Applause.)

You've also got two great congressmen here today --they've have been doing a superb job back in Washington -- in George Nethercutt and Doc Hastings. (Applause.) And I'm confident that you'll reward George's hard work by sending him to the United States Senate. (Applause.)

As you might have heard, there was a political gathering in Boston this week. (Laughter.)


THE VICE PRESIDENT: It's now official -- Senator John Edwards has accepted the nomination for Vice President. (Laughter.) I have an opponent. (Laughter.) People keep telling me that Senator Edwards got picked for his good looks, his charm, and his great hair. (Laughter.) And I say, "How do you think I got the job?" (Laughter and applause.)

But it's a pleasure also to bring good wishes to everybody here in Yakima from the President of the United States, George W. Bush. (Applause.) We're proud to count many Republicans, Democrats, and Independents from Washington among our supporters. You're going to be hearing a lot from us over the next few months. And on November 2nd, I know we're going to hear from you, and Washington is going to help send the Bush-Cheney team back to the White House for four more years. (Applause.)

This election could not come at a more crucial time in our history. Today we face an enemy every bit as intent on destroying us as the Axis powers were in World War II, or the Soviet Union was during the Cold War. This enemy, in the words of the 9/11 Commission's report, is "sophisticated, patient, disciplined, and lethal." What this enemy wants, as the 9/11 report explains, is to do away with democracy, to end all rights for women, and to impose their way of life on the rest of us. And in pursuit of its goals, as we saw on the morning of 9/11, this enemy is perfectly prepared to slaughter anyone -- man, woman, or child -- to advance its cause.

This is not an enemy we can reason with, or negotiate with, or appease. This is, to put it simply, an enemy that we must vanquish. And with President George W. Bush as Commander-in-chief, that is exactly what we will do. (Applause.)

In the weeks following the terrorist attack on America, people in every part of the country, regardless of party, took great comfort and pride in the conduct of our President. They saw a man calm in a crisis, comfortable with responsibility, and determined to do everything necessary to protect our people.

Under the President's leadership, we removed the Taliban from power in Afghanistan and closed down the training camps where terrorists trained to kill Americans. (Applause.) Under the President's leadership, we removed the regime of Saddam Hussein, a man who cultivated weapons of mass destruction, used them against his own people, and provided safe haven and sanctuary for terrorists. Saddam Hussein once controlled the lives and the future of nearly 25 million people. Today, he is in jail. (Applause.)

The defeat of tyranny and violence in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the rise of democracy in that troubled region, will be a crucial setback for international terrorists. Because we have been strong and resolute, these nations will not 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 medical personnel on the streets of our own cities. (Applause.)

From the beginning, America has sought -- and received -- international support for our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. 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. President Bush will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country. (Applause.)

Our nation is extremely fortunate during these times of testing to have the dedicated service of our men and women in uniform. (Applause.) The men and women who are defending our country represent 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 our armed forces would be given the resources they need and the respect they deserve, and we have kept our word to the U.S. military. (Applause.)

The President and I have some important differences with the folks you saw in Boston this week, and there's one story that makes this about as clear as anything could be. It starts with Senators Kerry and Edwards voting yes when the President asked the Congress to authorize the use of force against Saddam Hussein. But then, when it came time to vote for funds that would provide our fighting men and women with body armor, ammunition, and jet fuel, and spare parts, Senators Kerry and Edwards voted no.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: Only 12 members of the United States Senate opposed the funding that would provide vital resources for our troops. Only four senators voted for the use of force and against the resources our men and women in uniform needed once they were in combat. Only four. And Senators Kerry and Edwards were two of those four.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: At first Senator Kerry said that he didn't really oppose the funding. He both supported and opposed it. (Laughter.) He said, "I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it." That sure clears things up. (Laughter.) But lately he's been saying he's proud that he and John Edwards voted no, and he explains that his decision was "complicated."


THE VICE PRESIDENT: Funding American troops in combat should never be a complicated matter. (Applause.) It's simply wrong to vote to commit our troops to combat and then refuse to provide them the resources they need. We need a President who will back our troops 100 percent, and that's exactly what we have in George W. Bush. (Applause.)

Our country requires strong and consistent leadership for our actions overseas, and the same is true for our policies here at home. When President Bush and I stood on the inaugural platform on the west side of the United States Capitol and took the oath of office, the economy was sliding toward recession. Then, on 9/11, terrorists struck our nation and shook our economy once again. We faced a basic decision -- to leave more money with families and businesses, or to take more of the American people have earned as tax dollars for the federal government. President Bush made his choice. He proposed and delivered tax savings to the American people -- not once, not twice, but three times. (Applause.)

The Bush tax cuts have helped our national economy create jobs 10 consecutive months now. We've added more than 1.5 million new jobs since last August. Here in Washington, more than 55,000 people have gone to work at a new job over the past year. Home ownership is now at an all-time high. Mortgage rates, and interest rates, and inflation are all low. Consumers are confident, businesses are investing, and families are taking home more of what they earn. This is a strong economy. (Applause.) Our economy is growing stronger every day. The Bush tax cuts are working. (Applause.)

These past four years have brought historic progress in other areas as well. Under the President's leadership, we passed the No Child Left Behind Act, and brought high standards, accountability, and measurable results to our public schools. Under the President's leadership, we passed Medicare reform, and gave senior citizens more affordable access to modern medicine and prescription drugs. Under the President's leadership, we passed a responsible environmental law called the Healthy Forests Act, and helped reduce the risk of catastrophic fires across the West. (Applause.) Under the President's leadership, we have taken unprecedented steps to protect the American people. We passed the Patriot Act to allow law enforcement and intelligence experts to better share information and prosecute potential terrorists. (Applause.) We created the Department of Homeland Security. We passed Project BioShield to fund cutting edge drugs and other defenses against an attack with biological weapons. Today, under the President's leadership, every American can be certain we are doing everything in our power to defend against a terrorist attack on our homeland. (Applause.)

Our accomplishments these past four years have made America safer, stronger, and better. And they also demonstrate something about the character of our President. He didn't come to the White House to mark time, or to spend his energy on small goals. He came to take on the big issues, and to make serious reforms. He has led with confidence, with clear vision, and unwavering purpose. He's made hard choices, and kept his word. And that's exactly how he plans to lead the country for the next four years. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

THE VICE PRESIDENT: In our second term, we will keep moving forward with our pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda. We will work with Congress to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Applause.) We will take action to end lawsuit abuse. It's a lot easier for America's businesses to hire new workers -- (applause) -- easier to hire new workers if the businesses don't have to keep hiring lawyers. (Laughter and applause.)

We will work for medical liability reform. America's doctors should be able to spend their time healing patients, not fighting off frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.)

In our second term, we will move forward on a comprehensive energy policy that promotes domestic energy production, respects the environment, modernizes our electricity grid, promotes conservation, and supports alternative sources of energy. We will work to enact the President's plan to make the United States less dependent on foreign sources of energy. (Applause.)

Our opponents have a very different vision for our country. They talk about jobs, yet they never explain how they would put a single American back to work. They opposed our tax relief package, and now they're proposing massive increases in federal spending. They helped block the energy plan in the Senate. They oppose effective reform of our legal system, and they're against medical liability reform. Their big idea for the economy: to raise your taxes.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: I really like this crowd. (Applause.)

What we're hearing from the other side is the failed thinking of the past -- and we're not going back.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: In our second term, President Bush will also continue to defend our society's fundamental rights and values. We stand for the fair treatment of faith-based charities, so they can receive support for their good works. (Applause.) We stand for a culture of life, and we reject the brutal practice of partial birth abortion. (Applause.) We believe that our nation is "one nation under God." (Applause.) And we believe that Americans ought to be able to say "under God" when they pledge allegiance to the flag. (Applause.)

We have a situation in the United States Senate where Democrats -- including Senators Kerry and Edwards -- are blocking the President's mainstream nominations to the judiciary.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: Just last week, Democrats used their obstructionist tactics to filibuster to keep the Senate from voting on four of the sensible, mainstream nominees that the President sent forward. One of them was Bill Myers, a fine man who is a close friend of Senator Simpson's and mine. He has widespread bipartisan support for his personal integrity, his judicial temperament, and his legal experience. He's from Idaho. If Bill Myers had made it to the Senate floor, he had enough votes to be confirmed to the Ninth Circuit, which, as you know all too well is the circuit that decided we should not say "under God" when we pledge allegiance to the flag.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: Sounds to me like they could use some new judges on the Ninth Circuit. (Applause.) What the Democrats are doing is simply outrageous, and it's another good reason you need to send George Nethercutt to the United States Senate. (Applause.)

On issue after issue, President Bush has a clear vision for the future of our nation. Abroad, we will use America's great power to serve great purposes, to protect our homeland by turning back and defeating the forces of terror, and to spread hope and freedom around the world. Here at home, we will continue building prosperity that reaches every corner of the land so that every child born in America has a chance to learn, to succeed, and to rise in the world. (Applause.)

The President and I are honored by your confidence in us, by your commitment to the cause we all share. We're grateful for our many friends across the great state of Washington. Thanks for this tremendous welcome today. We're proud to have you on the team. And together, on November 2nd, we'll see our cause forward to victory.

Thank you very much.

END 2:45 P.M. PDT