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 Home > News & Policies > August 2004

For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
August 25, 2004

Vice President 's Remarks at Bush-Cheney '04 Rally in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania
Bloomsburg University
Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania

5:12 P.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, thank you all very much. And thank you for the warm welcome. It's great to be in Bloomsburg today. And Lynne and I have had a great day driving across Pennsylvania, and we're not through yet. She knew me when I was 14, but she wouldn't go out with me until I was 17. (Laughter.) Of course, her dad might have had something to do with that. (Laughter.)

But I like to tell people that we got married because of a great Republican presidential victory in 1952. It was when Dwight Eisenhower ran for President in 1952, I lived in Lincoln, Nebraska, with my folks -- just a youngster. Dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service. And when Eisenhower got elected, he reorganized the Ag Department; Dad got transferred to Casper, Wyoming, and that's where I met Lynne. And we grew up together and went to high school together. And on Sunday we'll celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. (Applause.)

I explained to a group the other night that if it hadn't been for 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.)

But it is delightful being here today. It's a beautiful, historic part of America. It's a great place to live, to work, to raise a family. And by the looks of things, Bloomsburg is Bush-Cheney country. (Applause.)

It's great to have Congressman Don Sherwood with us today. He does a superb job for the folks here in Pennsylvania and for people all across -- (applause.) You've got two great senators. You know, my only real job in Washington as Vice President is to serve as President of the Senate. When they wrote the Constitution they created the post of Vice President. They got down to the end of the convention and decided they hadn't given him anything to do -- so they made him the President of the Senate. And it meant he could preside over the Senate and cast tie-breaking votes, and so forth. My predecessor, John Adams, our first Vice President, also had floor privileges. He could go down into the well of the Senate and actually engage in the debate. And then he did a couple of times, and they withdrew his floor privileges. (Laughter.) They've never been restored.

But I get to spend a lot of time in the Senate. That's one of my jobs. And I've gotten to know your Senators very well, and you're very ably served by Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum. They do a superb job for the people of Pennsylvania. (Applause.)

And it's a privilege to bring greetings to Columbia County from our President and Commander-in-Chief, George W. Bush. (Applause.)

I know you take seriously your sports in this part of the state. The Little League World Series now going on in Williamsport. (Applause.) And I know you'll join me in congratulating the fine Pennsylvania athletes representing our country in the Olympics. They've made the people of Pennsylvania proud; they're making America proud, too. (Applause.)

The President and I are tremendously grateful for our many strong supporters here in the Keystone State. We ran hard here in 2000, came close to victory. We're working even harder this year to earn your support. You'll see plenty of us between now and the election. And come November 2nd, Pennsylvania is going to be part of a nationwide victory for the Bush-Cheney ticket. (Applause.)

Now, you might have heard there was a political gathering over in Boston here a few weeks ago. And it's now official -- I have an opponent. (Laughter.) No, I really do. People keep telling me Senator Edwards got picked because he's charming, good looking, sexy and has great hair. (Laughter.) I said, "How do you think I got the job?" (Laughter and applause.)

This election could not come at a more crucial time in our history. It is an extraordinarily important election. Today we face an enemy every bit as anxious as the Axis powers were in World War II to destroy us, or the Soviet Union during the Cold War. This 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 explained, 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 an enemy that, to put it simply, we must destroy. And with President George Bush -- (applause.) 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 attacks on America, people in every part of the country, regardless of party, took great comfort and pride in the conduct and the 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 President's leadership, we've driven the Taliban from power in Afghanistan and closed down the camps where terrorists trained to kill Americans. 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 controlled the lives and future of some 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 Hussein, Libya's leader, Colonel Moammar Ghaddafi, had a change of heart. He turned control of Libya's program over to us, and today the uranium, the centrifuges, and the weapons design are in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, under American lock and key. (Applause.)

We've shut down the secret network that was the world's most dangerous supplier of illegal nuclear weapons technology. We've put terrorist financiers out of business, and dismantled terrorist cells worldwide. Most of the planners of the 9/11 attacks have been captured or killed -- including Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11.

We could not have succeeded in these efforts without the help of dozens of countries all over the world. We will always seek international support for 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've 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 -- and in that effort, we have a superb leader in your former governor, Secretary Tom Ridge. (Applause.)

But a good defense is not enough, so we've also gone on the offense in the war on terror. The President's opponent, Senator Kerry, seems to object. He's even said that by using our strength, we are creating terrorists and placing ourselves in greater danger. But that is a fundamental misunderstanding of the way the world we are living in actually works. Terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength; they are invited by the perception of weakness. (Applause.)

In this election, we face a choice between our President and a man calling for us to fight a "more sensitive" war on terror. (Laughter.) America has been in too many wars for any of our wishes, but not a one of them was won by being "sensitive." America's great wartime leaders, like Lincoln, Roosevelt, 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, he seems to sometimes view the world as if we had never been attacked on September 11th. The job of the commander-in-chief, 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 again. (Applause.) That awful day left some 3,000 of our fellow citizens dead, and everything we've 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 attack -- and that includes the us of military force. (Applause.)

We also have important differences with the Kerry-Edwards record when it comes to supporting and 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 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, 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. 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, and I quote, "I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it." (Laughter.) Well, that certainly clears things up. (Laughter.) But lately he's been saying he's proud that he and John Edwards voted no, and then he explains that his decision was "complicated." But 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 with the resources they need. We need a president who will back our troops one hundred percent, and that's exactly what we've got in George W. Bush. (Applause.)

President Bush knows that our dedicated servicemen and women represent the very best of the United States of America. And I want to thank them and all of the veterans here today for what they have done for all of us. (Applause.) 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 we've kept our word to the U.S. 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 United States Capitol and took the oath of office, our economy was sliding into 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'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 benefitted from the Bush tax cuts -- and so has our economy. For the last 11 consecutive months, we've created jobs, and since August we've added about 1.5 million new jobs. Here in Pennsylvania, 61,000 jobs have been added since February. Your unemployment rate is 5.3 percent -- below the national average, below Pennsylvania's average rate, as well, in the 1980s and the 1990s. Mortgage rates, interest rates, inflation are all low. 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. (Applause.) 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 did not go to the White House to mark time or to spend his energy on small goals. He went to take on the big issues, to make serious reforms. He's led with confidence, with clear vision, and with 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. (Applause.)

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: In our second term, we'll keep moving forward with a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda. We'll work to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Applause.) We'll work to end lawsuit abuse. (Applause.) We know 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, because we know the cost of malpractice insurance has created a crisis not only here in Pennsylvania, but also in our home state of Wyoming. America's doctors should be able to spend their time healing patients, not fighting off frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.)

And in our second term, we'll continue to work to pass a comprehensive energy policy to make the nation 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 proposals. 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 are against medical liability reform. Their big idea for the economy? Raise your 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 that Americans ought to be able to say that when they pledge allegiance. (Applause.)

There should not be any question about this -- and there wouldn't be if we had more reasonable judges on the federal bench. (Applause.) 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. They blocked Miguel Estrada, a fine man who came to this country as an immigrant from Honduras, went to Harvard Law School, clerked on the Supreme Court, worked in the Department of Justice. They blocked Janice Rogers Brown, the daughter of sharecroppers, who worked her way through law school and became a justice for the California Supreme Court. Recently, they used their obstructionist tactics to keep the Senate from voting on Bill Myers, a fine man from my part of the country. If Bill Myers had made it to an up or down vote on the Senate floor, he clearly had the votes to be confirmed for the 9th Circuit, which, by the way, is the circuit that decided we should not say "under God" when we pledge allegiance to the flag. Sounds to me like they could use some new judges on the 9th Circuit. (Applause.)

What the Democrats are doing is outrageous, and that's why Pennsylvania needs to send Arlen Specter back 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'll continue building the 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, by your commitment to the cause we all share. We're grateful to our many friends across the great state of Pennsylvania. We want to thank you for the tremendous welcome today here in Bloomsburg. 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 5:36 P.M. EDT