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 Home > News & Policies > August 2004

For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
August 24, 2004

Remarks by the Vice President at a Victory 2004 Rally
Kettering High School
Waterford, Michigan

4:54 P.M. EDT


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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Thank you all very much. Thank you for that warm welcome. And it's good to be in Waterford. This looks like Bush-Cheney country to me. (Applause.) And it's a privilege to bring all of your greetings from our President, George W. Bush. (Applause.)

Lynne talks about knowing me since I was 14 years old -- she didn't pay any attention to me until I was 17. (Laughter.) But I like to tell the story that we owe our marriage to a great election victory by Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. In 1952, I was living with my folks in Lincoln, Nebraska. Dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service. Eisenhower got elected, reorganized the Agriculture Department. Dad got transferred to Casper, Wyoming. And that's where I met Lynne. And then we grew up together, went to high school, and next Sunday, we'll mark our 40th wedding anniversary. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Forty more years!

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Forty more years. (Laughter.) Well, I don't know about that. (Laughter.) But I explain to people that if it hadn't been for Eisenhower's great victory, Lynne would have married somebody else. (Laughter.) And she said, right, and now he'd be Vice President of the United States. (Laughter.) Absolutely true.

But I know you take your sports very seriously in this state. And I know you'll join me in congratulating so many fine Michigan athletes who have represented our country in the Olympics, including medal winners Kara Lynn Joyce, Carly Piper, and Peter Vanderkaay. (Applause.) Not only have they made the state of Michigan proud, they've made America proud, too.

The President and I are tremendously grateful for our many strong supporters in Michigan. We ran hard here in 2000, and came close to victory. We're going to work even harder to earn your support this year. Between the two of us, the President and I have stopped in Battle Creek, Traverse City, Saginaw, Grand Rapids, Detroit, Lansing, and Marquette -- and that's just in the last few weeks. (Applause.) You'll be seeing more of us this year. And come November 2nd, Michigan is going to be part of a nationwide victory for the Bush-Cheney ticket. (Applause.)

Now, as you might have heard, there was a little political gathering in Boston here a few weeks ago.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: No, now, come on I know some of you watched a little bit of it anyway. But it's now official -- I have an opponent. (Laughter.) No, I really do. I have an opponent. People keep telling me that Senator Edwards got picked for his good looks, his charm, because he's sexy, he's got great hair. (Laughter.) I said, "How do you think I got the job?" (Applause.)

Now, 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 at the height of the Cold War. The enemy, in the words of the 9/11 Commission report released recently, 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. As we saw on the morning of 9/11, this enemy is perfectly prepared to slaughter anyone -- man, woman, or child -- who stands in their way.

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 destroy. (Applause.) And with President George W. Bush as our Commander-in-Chief, that is exactly what we're going to 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 and character 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 -- (applause) -- under the President's leadership, we have driven the Taliban from power in Afghanistan and closed down the camps where terrorists trained to kill Americans. (Applause.) Under the President's leadership, we rid the world of a gathering threat by eliminating the regime of Saddam Hussein. (Applause.) Seventeen months ago, Saddam Hussein controlled the lives of nearly 25 million people. Today, he's in jail. (Applause.)

A year ago, Libya had a secret nuclear weapons program. But after our coalition ousted Saddam, Libya's leader, Colonel Moammar Ghadafi, had a change of heart. He turned control of Libya's program over to us, and today the uranium, the centrifuges, and the designs for weapons are in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, under American lock and key. (Applause.)

We've also shut down the secret network that was the world's most dangerous supplier of illegal nuclear weapons technology. We've put terrorist financers out of business, and dismantled terrorist cells world-wide. Most of the planners of the 9/11 attacks have been captured or killed --including Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, the mastermind of 9/11. (Applause.)

We could not have succeeded in these efforts, without the help of dozens of nations all over the world. We will always seek international help to support our international efforts, but as President Bush has made very clear, there is a difference between leading a coalition of many nations and submitting to the objections of a few. We will never seek a permission slip to defend the United States of America. (Applause.)

Under the President's leadership, we have taken unprecedented steps to protect the American people here at home. We passed the Patriot Act to give law enforcement the tools they need to track down terrorists. We created the Department of Homeland Security to focus our government on the mission of protecting the American people. We passed Project BioShield to fund cutting edge drugs and other defenses against a potential biological weapons attack. But a good defense is not enough, and so we have also gone on the offense in the war on terror. (Applause.)

But the President's opponent, Senator Kerry, seems to object. He has even said that by using our strength, we are creating terrorists and placing ourselves in greater danger.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: But that is a fundamental misunderstanding of the way the world we live in works. Terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength; they are invited by the perception of weakness. (Applause.)

America faces a choice between our President and a man calling for us to fight a "more sensitive" war on terror. (Applause.) America has been in too many wars for any of our wishes, but not a one of them was won by being "sensitive." (Laughter and applause.)

America's great wartime leaders -- leaders like Lincoln, Roosevelt and Truman -- did not seek to fight a "sensitive war," they sought to defeat our enemies decisively. (Applause.)

I listened to what Senator Kerry had to say in Boston, and, with all due respect to the Senator, I sometimes think he views the world as if we had never been attacked on 9/11. The job of the Commander-in-Chief, as Senator Kerry said in his convention speech, is to use America's military strength to respond to attacks. But September 11th showed us, as surely as anything can, that we must act against gathering dangers -- not wait to be attacked. (Applause.)

That awful day left some 3,000 of our fellow citizens dead, and everything we have learned since tells us the terrorists would do worse if they could, that they would use chemical, biological, or even nuclear weapons against us if they could. In the world we live in now, responding to attacks is not enough. We must do everything in our power to prevent attacks -- and that includes using military force. (Applause.)

In his convention speech, Senator Kerry invited us to judge him by his record -- and that seems like a good idea. Senator Kerry frequently reminds people that he was a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. What was Senator Kerry's record on the committee as the terrorist threat gathered around the world? Well, to begin with, he did not even bother to show up for 75 percent of the intelligence committee's public meetings.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: After the first attack on the World Trade Center, he missed every public meeting of the committee for the following year.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: We also have important differences with the Kerry-Edwards record when it comes to providing for our men and women in uniform. And there's one story that makes that about as clear as anything could be. It starts with Senators Kerry and Edwards voting yes when the President asked 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 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: As Senator Kerry said 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.) Well, that certainly clears things up. (Laughter and applause.) Lately he's been saying he's proud that he and John Edwards voted no, and he's proud of that because he explains that his decision was "complicated."

Funding American troops in combat should never be a complicated question. (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 -- we need a President who will back our troops 100 percent, and that's exactly what we've got in George W. Bush. (Applause.)

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: What are you guys doing tomorrow? (Laughter.)

President Bush knows that our dedicated servicemen and women represent the very best of the United States of America. (Applause.) And I want to thank them and I want to thank all the veterans here today with us for they've done for all of us. (Applause.)


THE VICE PRESIDENT: One of the most important commitments that George W. 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 he's kept his word to the United States military. (Applause.)

These are not times for leaders who shift with the political winds, saying one thing one 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 Capitol and took the oath of office, our economy was sliding into recession. Then, on 9/11, terrorists struck 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 hard-earned money 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.)

Every American who pays federal income taxes has benefited from the Bush tax cuts, and so has our economy. For the last 11 consecutive months, we've created jobs, and since last August added about 1.5 million new jobs. Here in Michigan, your unemployment rate is still too high, but it's down almost a full point since December. Consumers are confident, businesses are investing, families are taking home more of what they earn. We know there are still challenges, especially in our manufacturing communities. The President and I will not be satisfied until every American who wants to work can find a job. But this is a strong economy; it's growing stronger. The Bush tax cuts are working. (Applause.)

Our accomplishments these last four years have made America safer, stronger, and better. They also demonstrate something about the character of our President. He didn't go to the White House to mark time, or to spend energy on small goals. He went 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 will lead this country for the next four years.

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Lynne says maybe you guys are free for the next week. (Laughter.) We got a lot of stops today.

In our second term, we'll keep moving forward with a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda. We will work to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. We will work to help end lawsuit abuse. (Applause.) We know it's a lot easier for American businesses to hire new workers if they don't have to keep hiring lawyers. (Applause.) And we will work for medical liability reform because 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 energy policy to make the nation less dependent on foreign sources of energy. On our nation's energy policy, our opponents have a very different vision for the country. Throughout his 20 years in the Senate, John Kerry has supported unreasonable fuel standards for American cars and trucks. Analysts say the CAFE standards supported by Senator Kerry would cost up to 450,000 American jobs.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: The UAW said these standards would cause American jobs to be sent overseas, and the National Academy of Sciences has suggested that they might compromise safety. But now, Senator Kerry has told his colleagues that he's no longer committed to those drastic increases he supported for years.

Senator Kerry's back-and-forth talk about fuel standards reminds me of that story he told about his SUV. (Laughter.) Back in February, he came to Michigan and said, quote, "We have some SUVs," and he talked about having a couple of minivans and a big Suburban, too. Then on Earth Day, the Senator remembered things a little differently. (Laughter.) He said, quote, "I don't own an SUV." To clear up the confusion, he added this nuance: "The family has it, I don't have it." (Laughter.) So that explains it. In other words, he doesn't have an SUV, except when he's talking to people in Michigan. That's one guy who's getting a lot of mileage out of a Suburban. (Laughter and applause.)

Hard-working families in Michigan deserve straight answers when it comes to their jobs. And you can rely on President Bush to fight to keep auto jobs where they belong -- right here in America. (Applause.)

Our opponents talk about jobs, yet they never explain how they would put a single American back to work. They 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, and they're against medical liability reform. Their big idea for the economy: to 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.)

President Bush and I will also continue to defend our society's fundamental rights and values. We stand for a culture of life, and we reject the brutal practice of partial birth abortion. (Applause.) We stand strongly for the Second Amendment, and we will defend the individual right of every American to bear arms. (Applause.) We believe that our nation is "one nation under God." And we believe that Americans ought to be able to say that when they pledge allegiance to their flag. (Applause.)

There shouldn't be any question about this -- and there wouldn't be if we had more reasonable judges on the federal bench. But we have a situation in the United States Senate now where Democrats -- including Senators Kerry and Edwards -- are using the filibuster to block the President's sensible, mainstream nominations to the judiciary.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: Democrats have used their obstructionist tactics to block six of the President's superb nominees here in the state of Michigan. They recently blocked a nominee from my part of the country, Bill Myers, a fine man with widespread bipartisan support for his personal integrity, his judicial temperament, and his legal experience. If Bill had made it to an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor, he had the votes to be confirmed to the Ninth Circuit, which, by the way, 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 that's why Michigan should send a Republican 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 by spreading 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 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, and by your commitment to the cause we all share. We're grateful to our many friends across the great state of Michigan. I want to thank you for this tremendous welcome to Waterford. We're proud to have you on the team. And together, on November 2nd, we're going to see our cause forward to victory.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

END 5:20 P.M. EDT