The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 31, 2004

President's Remarks in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
David L. Lawrence Convention Center
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

6:08 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much. Thanks for coming. Boy, it's great to be back in Pittsburgh. (Applause.) Thank you all for being here. I'm proud to be introduced by a great man, a great athlete and a great advisor. He said, when you ride your bike, don't fall off. (Laughter.) I need to listen to him more. What a wonderful person Lynn Swann is, and I'm proud to have him on my team. (Applause.)

We've had a great day traveling in Ohio, and now in Pennsylvania, with a stop in West Virginia. (Applause.) The crowds are big, the enthusiasm high, we're on our way to four more years. (Applause.)

I'm here to ask for your help. (Applause.) I'm out traveling the country asking for people's vote. I have more I want to do to see that this country is safer, stronger and better.


THE PRESIDENT: Make sure you get your friends and neighbors to register to vote. And then, come election time, tell them we all have a duty in this country to participate in the elections. And when you get them headed toward the polls, you might remind them that George Bush and Dick Cheney are ready to lead this country with strength and vision and optimism. (Applause.)

I wish Laura were here. (Applause.) Man, did I luck out when she said "yes." (Applause.) She's a great wife and wonderful, wonderful person and a wonderful First Lady. Listen, I'm going to give you some reasons why you need to put me back in office -- but perhaps the most important reason is so that Laura will have four more years as the First Lady. (Applause.) She sends her best.

I'm proud to be on the stage with Senator Arlen Specter. You need to put him back in to the United States Senate. (Applause.) I'm proud to be on the stage with Rick Santorum, the United States senator. (Applause.) I thank Congressman -- Congresswoman Melissa Hart and Congressman Tim Murphy for their service. (Applause.) I want to thank everybody who is running for office. I particularly want to say thanks to the grassroots activists who are here. You're the people who are going to put up the signs and make the phone calls. (Applause.) Find those discerning Democrats and wise independents and get them to join our cause to make this country a great place for everybody. (Applause.)

I understand a fellow Texan was here, Lee Ann Womack. I want to thank her for her entertainment. (Applause.) Proud to call her friend.

Listen, I'm here to ask for the vote. And every incumbent who asks for your vote has to answer a question, and that is: Why? Why? Why should the American people give me the great privilege of serving for four more years? (Applause.)

In the past years -- in the past years, we have done a lot together. We've come through a lot. And we've accomplished a great deal. But there's only reason to look backward at the record, and that is to determine who best to lead the nation forward. (Applause.)

I'm here to ask for the vote. I'm traveling in Ohio, and West Virginia, and Pennsylvania asking for the vote because we have so much more to do to move this country forward. I want to be your President for four more years to make the country safer, to make the economy stronger. (Applause.) We have more to do to make our economy stronger, and more to do to make our future brighter and better for every single citizen. From creating jobs, to improving schools; from fighting terror, to spreading the peace, we have made progress. And we still have more to do. (Applause.)

We have more to do to make sure our public schools are the centers of excellence so that no child is left behind in America. (Applause.) We came to office three-and-a-half years ago, too many children were being shuffled from grade to grade, year after year, without learning the basics. We're now challenging what I call the soft bigotry of low expectations. We're raising the bar. We're insisting on higher standards. (Applause.) We believe in accountability. We believe in local control of schools. We believe in empowering parents. (Applause.) Today, children across America are showing real progress in reading and math. When it comes to improving our public schools, we're turning the corner, and we're not turning back. (Applause.)

We have more to do. We've got to recognize this world of ours is changing. The jobs of the future will require greater knowledge and higher level skills, so we're going to reform our high schools to make sure the high school diploma means something. (Applause.) We will expand math and science so our young people can compete in a high tech world. We will expand the use of the Internet to bring high-level training in the classrooms for four more years. We'll help a rising generation gain the skills and the competence necessary to achieve the American Dream. (Applause.)

We have more to do to make quality health care available and affordable. When we came to office, too many older Americans could not afford prescription drugs and Medicare didn't pay for them. Listen, leaders in both political party, year after year after year made promises to American seniors. We got it done. (Applause.) More than 4 million seniors have signed up for drug discount cards that provide real savings. And beginning in 2006, all seniors on Medicare will be able to choose a plan that suits their needs and gives them the coverage for prescription drugs. (Applause.)

We've expanded community health centers for low income Americans. We've created health savings accounts so families can save, tax-free, for their own health care needs. (Applause.) When it comes to giving Americans more choices about their own health care, and making health care more affordable, we're turning the corner, and we're not turning back. (Applause.)

There's more to do. There's more to do. Most small -- most new jobs are created by small businesses, which have trouble affording private health insurance. To help more American families get health insurance at reasonable costs, we must allow small employers to join together to purchase insurance at discounts available to big companies. (Applause.)

To improve health care we must stop the frivolous lawsuits that raise the cost of health care. (Applause.)

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

THE PRESIDENT: My opponent takes a different view.


THE PRESIDENT: He blocked medical liability reform 10 times, including twice in the past three years.


THE PRESIDENT: See, I don't think you can be pro-doc, pro-patient and pro-trial lawyer at the same time, I think you have to make a choice. (Applause.) I think you have to make a choice. My opponent made his choice, and he put him on the ticket. (Applause.)

I made my choice. I'll stand with the docs and the patients of America and get medical liability reform. (Applause.) We can do more to harness technology to reduce costs and prevent health care mistakes. We can do more to expand research and seek new cures for diseases. In all we do to improve health care in America, we will make sure the health decisions are made by patients and doctors, not by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. (Applause.)

We have more to do to make our economy stronger. Think about what we've been through. We've been through a recession and terror attacks and corporate scandals. We've overcome these obstacles because the spirit of America is strong. We've overcome these obstacles because we've got the best, most productive workers in the world. (Applause.) We've overcome these obstacles because we've got great farmers and ranchers. (Applause.) We've overcome these obstacles because the entrepreneurial spirit is strong in America, and the small business sector of our economy is alive and well. (Applause.)

And we've overcome these obstacles because of two well-timed tax cuts. (Applause.) We didn't pick winners or losers when it came to tax relief. We had a fair view that said, if you pay taxes, you ought to get relief. (Applause.) Families with children got relief. (Applause.) Married couples got relief. (Applause.) Small businesses that purchased equipment got relief. (Applause.) And this time, the check was actually in the mail. (Applause.)

Because we acted, our economy since last summer has grown at a rate as fast as any in nearly 20 years. (Applause.) Because we acted, America has added more than 1.5 million new jobs since last August. (Applause.) Because we acted, Pennsylvania has added more than 68,000 jobs over the past four months. (Applause.) When it comes to creating jobs for America's workers, we're turning the corner, and we're not turning back. (Applause.)

There's more to do. There's more to make sure America is job-friendly and America's workplaces are family-friendly. To keep American jobs in America, regulations should be reasonable and fair. To keep American jobs in America, we must lessen our dependence on foreign sources of energy. (Applause.) To keep American jobs in America, we must end the junk lawsuits that threaten our small business owners. (Applause.) To keep American jobs in America, we will not overspend your money and we will keep your taxes low. (Applause.)

We will offer American workers a lifetime of learning and help them get the training for the jobs of the future at our community colleges. You see, the education and training they offer can be the bridge between people's lives as they are and people's lives as they want them to be. (Applause.) In order to keep jobs here, in order to make sure this economy continues to grow, we will reject economic isolationism. We will insist on a level playing field when it comes to trade. You see, I believe this: we can compete with anybody, anytime, anywhere if the rules are fair. (Applause.)

We'll help American families keep something they don't have nearly enough of, and that's time, time to be with your kids, time to take care of your elderly parents, time to help yourself by education. Congress needs to enact what we call comp-time and flex-time, to help American families better juggle work and home duties. (Applause.)

After four more years, with your work after four more years, there will be better and higher-paying jobs in America, more small businesses in America, and America will remain the greatest economic engine in the world. (Applause.)

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

THE PRESIDENT: We have more to do to wage and win the war against terrorism. America's future depends on our willingness to lead in the world. If America shows weakness and uncertainty in this decade, the world will drift toward tragedy. This will not happen on my watch. (Applause.)

The world changed on a terrible September morning. And since that day, we changed the world. Before September the 11th, Afghanistan served as the home base of al Qaeda, which trained and deployed thousands of killers to set up terror cells in dozens of countries, including our own. Today, because we acted, Afghanistan is a rising democracy. (Applause.) Because we acted, many young girls now go to school for the first time. (Applause.) Because we acted, last night in Cleveland, I had the opportunity to meet a young girls' soccer team from Afghanistan, here to compete in the International Children's Games. (Applause.) Because we acted, Afghanistan is an ally in the war on terror, and America and the world are safer. (Applause.)

Before September the 11th, Pakistan was a safe transit place for terrorists. Today, Pakistan is an ally in the war against terror. (Applause.) Pakistan forces are aggressively helping to round up the terrorists, and America and the world are safer. (Applause.)

Before September the 11th, Saudi -- in Saudi Arabia, terrorists were raising money, recruiting and operating with little opposition. Today, the Saudi government is taking the fight to al Qaeda, and America and the world are safer. (Applause.)

Before September the 11th, Libya was spending millions of dollars on weapons of mass destruction. Today, because America and our allies have sent a strong and clear message, the leader of Libya has abandoned his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, and America and the world are safer. (Applause.)


THE PRESIDENT: Before September the 11thth, the ruler of Iraq was a sworn enemy of America. He was defying the world, he was firing weapons at American pilots, enforcing the world's sanctions. He had pursued and used weapons of mass destruction. (Applause.) He harbored terrorists. He invaded his neighbors. He subsidized the families of suicide bombers. He had murdered tens of thousands of his own citizens. He was a source of great instability in a dangerous part of the world.

After September the 11th, we looked at all the threats of the world in a new light. After September the 11th, this nation needs to take threats seriously, before they fully materialize. (Applause.) The September 11th Commission concluded our institutions of government had failed to imagine the horror of that day. Well, after September the 11th, we could not fail to imagine, could not fail to imagine that a brutal tyrant who hated America, and had ties to terror, and had used weapons of mass destruction, might use those weapons or share his deadly capabilities with the terrorists.

We looked at the intelligence and we saw a threat. Members of the United States Congress from both political parties -- including my opponent -- looked at the same intelligence and they saw a threat. (Applause.) The United Nations looked at the intelligence and demanded a full accounting --


THE PRESIDENT: -- of Saddam Hussein's weapons programs. After 12 years of defiance, he again refused to comply. He deceived the weapons inspectors, so I had a choice to make. Either forget the lessons of September the 11th and trust a madman, or defend our country. Given that choice, I will defend America every time. (Applause.)


THE PRESIDENT: We have more to do. We have more to do. I'm seeking the office for four more years, because we must -- (applause) -- we must -- we must continue to work with our friends and allies around the world to aggressively pursue the terrorists in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere. You see, you cannot talk sense to these people.


THE PRESIDENT: You cannot negotiate with them.


THE PRESIDENT: You cannot hope for the best and hope they change.


THE PRESIDENT: We must engage these enemies around the world so we do not have to face them here at home. (Applause.)

America will continue to lead the world with confidence and moral clarity. We put together a strong coalition of friends and allies to help defeat this enemy. There are nearly 40 nations involved in Afghanistan, some 30 nations in Iraq. Over the next four years, we'll continue to build our alliances and work with our friends for the cause of security and peace. But I'll never turn over America's national security decisions to leaders of other foreign countries. (Applause.)

We'll keep our commitments to help Afghanistan and Iraq become peaceful and democratic societies. These two nations are now governed by leaders who believe in the hopes and aspirations of their people. See, they know what I know: moms and dads of those countries want their children to grow up in a peaceful world, just like the moms and dads here in America. (Applause.) They've got dreams for their children, just like the moms and dads in America have dreams for our children. The people of these countries can count on our continued help. You see, when we acted to protect our own security, we also promised to help deliver them from tyranny, to restore their sovereignty, to help them on the path to liberty. And when America gives it word, America will keep its word. (Applause.)

In these crucial times, our commitments have been kept by the men and women of our military. (Applause.)


THE PRESIDENT: I want to thank all of the veterans who are here, who have set such a great example for those who wear the uniform today. (Applause.) I've had the privilege -- I've had the privilege of meeting with those who defend our country and sacrifice for our security. I've seen their great decency and unselfish courage. The cause of freedom is in really good hands. They deserve -- those in the uniform deserve the full support of our government. (Applause.)

Last September -- last September, while our troops were in combat in both Afghanistan and Iraq, I proposed supplemental funding to support them in their missions. That legislation provided for body armor and for vital equipment, hazard pay, health benefits, ammunition, fuel and spare parts. In the Senate, in the United States Senate, only a small, what I would call out-of-the-mainstream minority --


THE PRESIDENT: -- of 12 senators voted against the legislation.


THE PRESIDENT: Two of those senators are my opponent and his running mate.


THE PRESIDENT: Senator Kerry tried to explain his vote by saying: I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.


THE PRESIDENT: End quote. (Laughter.) Then he went on to say, well, he's proud of the vote, and then he further said, the whole thing is a complicated matter. There's nothing complicated about supporting our troops in combat. (Applause.)

In the long run, our security is not guaranteed by military might and force, alone. We must work to change the conditions that give rise to terror: poverty and hopelessness and resentment. A free and peaceful Iraq and a free and peaceful Afghanistan will be powerful examples in a neighborhood that's desperate for freedom. (Applause.) See, free countries do not export terror. Free countries do not stifle the dreams of their citizens.

Free countries listen to the hopes and aspirations of their citizens. By serving the ideal of liberty, we're bringing hope to others. And that makes America more secure in the long run, and it makes the world more peaceful. By serving the ideal of liberty, we're serving the values of our country. We know that freedom is not America's gift to the world; freedom is the Almighty God's gift to every man and woman in this world. (Applause.)

We have more to do to protect our country, more to do to protect America. There are enemies out there that still hate us, and they're still plotting. Listen, the September the 11th Commission said, our homeland is safer but we're not yet safe. I agree with that assessment. We've started the hard process of reform. We've transformed our defenses and are creating a new Department of Homeland Security, ably run by former Governor of Pennsylvania Tom Ridge. (Applause.) We passed the Patriot Act to give law enforcement new tools to track and find terrorists. (Applause.) The mission of the FBI is now focused on preventing terrorism. We're integrating law and intelligence enforcement better than ever before. When it comes to better protecting our country, we're turning a corner, and we're not turning back. (Applause.)

There's more to do. There's more to do, to do our duty to protect the American people. We better -- we've got to do a better job of securing our ports and borders. (Applause.) We've got to continue to train our first responders. We've got to dramatically improve our intelligence-gathering capability. It's not going to be easy. It never is. There's a lot of entrenched interests in Washington, D.C. A lot of people got comfortable with the status quo. This administration isn't. It's not enough just to advocate reform, you have to be able to get it done. (Applause.)

When it comes to reforming schools to provide an excellent education to all our children, results matter. When it comes to health care reforms to give families more access and more choices, results matter. When it comes to improving our economy and creating jobs, results matter. When it comes to better securing our homeland and spreading freedom and peace, results matter. (Applause.) And when it comes to picking a President, results matter. (Applause.)

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

THE PRESIDENT: They recently had a meeting in Boston.


THE PRESIDENT: We heard a lot of -- a lot of clever speeches and some pretty big promises. But intentions -- the good intentions of my opponent always -- don't always translate into results. Listen, after 19 years in the Senate, he's had thousands of votes, but few signature achievements. (Applause.) During eight years on the Senate Intelligence Committee, he voted to cut the intelligence budget.


THE PRESIDENT: Yet, he -- yet, he had no record of reforming America's intelligence-gathering capability. He's had no significant record of reforming education or health care. We have a difference of opinion: He and his running mate oppose reforms that limit the power of Washington and leave more power in the hands of the people. I believe in limiting the power of Washington and giving more power to the people. (Applause.)

No, I'm running against an experienced Washington, D.C.-type senator. He's spent nearly 20 years there, and it appears that he's concluded the government just isn't big enough.


THE PRESIDENT: After all, he's proposed more than $2 trillion of additional spending, and we're just getting started in the campaign. (Laughter.)


THE PRESIDENT: But the problem is, he hasn't told us how he's going to pay for it. (Applause.) Yet, all we've got to do is look at his record to determine how he's going to pay for it. He's voted time and time and time again for higher taxes.


THE PRESIDENT: You know how he's going to -- you know how he's going to pay for his new programs? You're going to pay. But we're not going to let him. (Applause.)

THE AUDIENCE: No! (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Listen, we have a difference of opinion in the campaign, a clear difference. My opponents share an old Washington mind set: They will give the orders; you'll pay the bills.


THE PRESIDENT: We're turning that corner, and we're not going back. (Applause.)

We have a time of change in this country, a time of real rapid change. It's an exciting time to be an American. But we've got to make sure the government responds to these times by standing on the side of workers and families. We want people owning things in America. We want workers to be able to own their own health care plans so they can take them from job to job. We want younger workers to be able -- to be able to own a personal retirement account when it comes to Social Security. (Applause.) An account they can call their own and pass on from one generation to the next. (Applause.) We want more people owning their own home in America. (Applause.) We want more people owning their own small business. We understand that when a person owns something, he or she has a vital stake in the future of our country. (Applause.)

Now, in this changing world, there are some things that won't change: our belief in liberty and opportunity and the non-negotiable demands of human dignity. Values won't change, the values we try to live by: courage and compassion, reverence and integrity. The institutions that give us direction and purpose must not change; our families, our religious congregations. (Applause.) These institutions are fundamental to our lives, and they deserve the respect of the government. (Applause.)

In this changing times, our values and strong beliefs will not change. We stand for institutions like marriage and family, which are the foundations of society. (Applause.) We stand for a culture of life in which every person counts and every person matters. (Applause.) We stand for judges who faithfully interpret the law, instead of legislating from the bench. (Applause.) We stand for a culture of responsibility in America. This culture of ours is changing from one that has said, if it feels good, just go ahead and do it, and, if you got a problem, blame somebody else, to a culture that says each of us is responsible for the decisions we make in life. (Applause.)

If you are fortunate enough to be a mother or a father, you're responsible for loving your child with all your heart and all your soul. If you're worried about the quality of the education in the community in which you live, you're responsible for doing something about it. (Applause.) If you're a CEO in corporate America, you are responsible for telling the truth to your shareholders and your employees. (Applause.) And in this responsibility society, each of us is responsible for loving our neighbor just like we'd like to be loved ourselves. (Applause.)

Today I met Fay Morgan, the Executive Director of the North Hills Community Outreach. It's a faith-based program, all aimed at feeding the hungry, providing clothes to those who need clothes in the winter, of helping people find a job. You know what it really is? It's a program that's heard a higher calling, that's going to love their neighbor just like they'd like to be loved themselves. (Applause.)

The strength of this country -- the strength of this country is not found in our halls of our government, the strength of this country is found in the hearts and souls of the American citizens. (Applause.) And over the next four years, I will continue to rally the armies of compassion to help change America one heart, one soul, one conscience at a time. (Applause.)

For all Americans, these years in our history will stand apart. There are quiet times in the life of a nation, when little is expected of its leaders. This isn't one of those times. It's a time where we need firm resolve, clear vision, strong determination.

None of us will ever forget that day when one era ended and another began. On September the 14th, 2001, I stood in the ruins of the Twin Towers. It's a day that I will never forget. There were workers in hard hats yelling at me: Whatever it takes. I remember working the line, thanking people for their sacrifice and service, thanking people for their care, for their loved ones who had rushed into harm's way. A man grabbed me by the arm and he said: Do not let me down. He took it personally, the people going through the rubble took that day personally, I know you took it personally, and so did I. (Applause.)

I have a responsibility that goes on. I wake up every day thinking about how better to protect our country and our people. I will never relent in defending America, whatever it takes. (Applause.)

We've come through a lot together. We've come through a lot together. And we've done the hard work. And the country is getting better and the world is becoming more peaceful. That's what we long for, a peaceful world, a world where people can grow up and realize their hopes.

During the next four years, we'll spread ownership and opportunity to every corner -- I mean, every corner -- of this country. We'll pass the enduring values of America on to the next generation. We'll lead the cause of freedom and peace, and we will prevail. (Applause.)

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

THE PRESIDENT: Four years ago, I traveled your great state and our wonderful nation asking for the vote and I made a pledge to my fellow Americans. I said, if you honor me with this great responsibility, I will uphold the dignity and the honor of the office to which I have been elected. (Applause.) So help me, God. (Applause.)

And with your help -- and with your help, I will continue to do so over the next four years. Thanks for coming. May God bless. (Applause.) Thank you all. (Applause.)

END 6:52 P.M. EDT

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