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

Vice President's Remarks at a Bush-Cheney '04 Rally
Southwestern Fairgrounds
Tucson, Arizona

1:08 P.M. PDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.)

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: This is a raucous crowd. I can tell. (Applause.) We delighted to be here, to be back in Arizona this afternoon. I want to thank you for that fantastic welcome. Lynne and I have had a great time traveling across the West these last few days. We've been Washington, Oregon, California, Utah, Nevada, then a stop in New Mexico, and then we'll be back home in Wyoming tonight. But we wanted to make a stop here in Arizona today because -- I'm glad we did because it looks to me like Tucson is Bush-Cheney country. (Applause.)

Lynne tells that story about knowing me when I was 14 years old. And I like to remind people that the reason Lynne and I got married is because of a great Republican victory in 1952 when Dwight Eisenhower got elected President. You're all wondering where is this story going. (Laughter.) But in 1952, I was living in Lincoln, Nebraska with my folks. Dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service. Eisenhower got elected, 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 next month, we'll mark our 40th wedding anniversary. (Applause.) But I explained to a group the other night that if it hadn't been for Dwight Eisenhower's election victory Lynne would have married somebody else. (Laughter.) And she said, right, and now he'd be Vice President of the United States. (Laughter and applause.)

I want to thank my good friend Alan Simpson for being with us today. (Applause.) The good news is whenever Al Simpson and I campaign together, we always win the election. (Applause.) It's an honor to be here with Congressman J.D. Hayworth. And I want to mention your congressman, Jim Kolbe.

And you know, the only real job I have as Vice President is to be the President of the Senate. When they wrote the Constitution, they created the post of Vice President, but they got down to the end of the Constitutional Convention and decided they hadn't given him anything to do. (Laughter.) So they made me the President of the Senate. And I'm allowed to cast tie-breaking votes, preside over the Senate. My predecessor John Adams, the first Vice President, he also had floor privileges. (Laughter.) He could go down into the well and actually debate on the issues of the day. And then he did a couple of times, and they withdrew his floor privileges. (Laughter.)

But I get to spend a lot of time up in the Senate. I go up every Tuesday and have lunch with the Senate Republicans. And I want to tell you in John McCain and Jon Kyl, Arizona has got one of the best Senate delegations in the country. (Applause.) The President and I are grateful for their friendship and their strong support. Two weeks ago, John McCain was with me in Lansing, Michigan, campaigning. I'm glad to be on the ballot with him this fall. He's been a great senator and a good man. And President Bush and I have no doubt we'll be working alongside John McCain in Washington for the next four years. (Applause.)

Now, as you might have heard, there was a political gathering in Boston this week.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: It's now official -- I have an opponent. (Laughter.) No, really, I have an opponent. People keep telling me that Senator Edwards was picked for the job because of his good looks, his charm, his great hair. (Laughter.) I said, "How do you think I got the job?" (Laughter and applause.)

It's a pleasure also to bring good wishes to everybody here in Tucson from the President of the United States, George W. Bush. (Applause.) You helped the Bush-Cheney team carry this state in 2000. And with your help, we're going to carry Arizona again on November 2nd. (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 during the Cold War. This enemy, in the words of the 9/11 Commission report released just last week 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 as we saw on the morning of 9/11, this enemy is perfectly prepared to slaughter anyone -- man, woman, or child -- to advance their 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 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 anything necessary to protect our people.

Under the President's leadership, we removed the Taliban from power in Afghanistan and closed down the camps where terrorists trained to kill Americans. (Applause.) Under the President's leadership, we removed the regime of Saddam Hussein, a man who had -- (applause) -- he had developed weapons of mass destruction. He'd used them against the Iraqi people. He provided safe haven and sanctuary for terrorists. Saddam Hussein once controlled the lives and the future of nearly 25 million people. And today, he's in jail. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Thank you, thank you.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank the troops. (Applause.)

The defeat of tyranny and violence in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the rise of democracy in that troubled region of the globe will be a crucial setback for the terrorists. Because we've 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 before the world of 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, 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 the United States. (Applause.)

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

Now, the President and I have some important differences with the folks you saw in Boston this week. (Laughter.) Thanks goodness. There's one story that makes this about as clear as anything could possibly 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, 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 equipment for our troops. Only four senators -- only four -- 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 Senator 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, and I quote, "I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it." (Laughter.) 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." (Laughter.) But 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 what we've got in George W. Bush. (Applause.)

These are not times for leaders who shift with the political winds, saying one thing day, and another, the next. 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, our economy was sliding toward recession. Then, on 9/11, terrorists struck our nation and shook the economy once again. We faced a basic decision -- to leave more money with families and businesses, or to take more of the American people's tax dollars for the federal government. President Bush made his choice. He proposed and he 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 for 10 consecutive months. We've added more than 1.5 million new jobs since last August. Here in Arizona, more than 62,000 jobs have been created over the last year. (Applause.) Home ownership is now at an all-time high. Mortgage rates, interest rates, and inflation are all low. Consumers are confident, businesses are investing, and families are taking home more of what they earn home. (Applause.) Over the past year, the economy has grown at a strong rate of nearly 5 percent. This is a strong economy, it's 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 have acted to bring high standards and measurable results to our schools so that no child will be left behind. (Applause.) We are demanding accountability, empowering parents, and making sure that local folks are in charge of their own public schools. (Applause.)

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 wildfires throughout the West. (Applause.)

And under the President's leadership, we have taken unprecedented steps to protect the American people. We passed the Patriot Act to give law enforcement the tools they need to track down terrorists. (Applause.) We created the Department of Homeland Security to focus our government on one mission: Protecting America. We passed Project BioShield to fund cutting edge drugs and other defenses against a biological, chemical, nuclear, or radiological attack. 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. They also demonstrate something about the character of our President. (Applause.) 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 make serious reforms. He has led with confidence, with clear vision, and with unwavering purpose. He's made hard choices; he's kept his word. And that's exactly how he will lead the country for the next four years. (Applause.)

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I accept. (Applause.) In our second term, we will moved forward with a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda. We will work to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Applause.) We will take action to end lawsuit abuse. (Applause.) It's a lot easier for America's businesses to hire new workers if they don't have to keep hiring lawyers. (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 continue to move forward on a comprehensive, progressive energy policy. We want to promote domestic production, respect the environment, modernize our electricity grid, promote conservation, and support alternative 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 have opposed our tax relief, 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. They're against medical liability reform. Their big idea for the economy: raise our taxes.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: What we're hearing from the other side is the failed thinking of the past -- and we're not going back. (Applause.)

In our second term, President Bush and I 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 some Democrats -- including Senators Kerry and Edwards -- are blocking the President's sensible mainstream nominations to the judiciary through the filibuster.


AUDIENCE MEMBER: Get Bill Myers on.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Are you a friend of Bill's? (Laughter.) Recently, Democrats used their obstructionist tactics to keep the Senate from voting on four of the sensible, mainstream nominees the President sent forward. One of them was Bill Myers -- (applause) -- a fine man, a good friend of Senator Simpson's and mine. He has widespread bipartisan support for his personal integrity, his judicial temperament, and his legal experience. If Bill Myers had made it to the floor for an up-or-down vote, he would have been confirmed to the Ninth Circuit, which, as you know all too well --


THE VICE PRESIDENT: The Ninth Circuit is the one that decided we should not be able to 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 I hope you'll keep that in mind and send us more senators like John McCain and Jon Kyl. (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. (Applause.) 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 rise, to learn, to succeed 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 to our many friends across the great state of Arizona. I want thank you 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. (Applause.)

END 1:32 P.M. PDT

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