print-only banner
The White House Skip Main Navigation
In Focus
News by Date
Federal Facts
West Wing

 Home > News & Policies > September 2004

For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
September 17, 2004

Vice President's Remarks at a Victory 2004 Rally in Eugene, Oregon
Monaco Coach Corporation
Eugene, Oregon

1:55 P.M. PDT


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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much. (Laughter.) All right. (Laughter.) Well, I want to thank you for that warm welcome. It's a pleasure to be here, back in Oregon again today, and to have my daughter Liz with me. She's not doing too bad on the introduction. (Applause.)

My wife is usually with me on these trips. But she had a speech commitment in Washington today, so she didn't make it and sent Liz in her stead. (Laughter.) That's right. She's back there straightening them out today. (Laughter.)

But I often tell the story that Lynne and I have a Republican marriage. We got married because Dwight Eisenhower got elected President of the United States. (Applause.) Back in those days, I was a youngster living in Lincoln, Nebraska with my folks. Dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service. And Eisenhower got elected, he reorganized the Agriculture Department. Dad got transferred to Casper, Wyoming. I grew up there, and that's where I met Lynne. We went to school, high school together, and about two weeks ago celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. (Applause.) I explained to a group the other night that if it hadn't been for Eisenhower's great victory, Lynne would have married somebody else. (Laughter.) And she said, right, and how he'd be Vice President of the United States. (Laughter.) Which is absolutely true. Every woman in here knows whereof I speak. (Laughter.)

I want to thank Molly for being with us this afternoon, and for the great job she's doing for us. (Applause.) And I'm going to deviate from plan here and make one request. I believe I've got a cousin in the audience here today, Alice Dickey Knokey -- someplace. Back here. All right, Alice if you can work your way around back over here while I'm talking, get back over in this corner of the room, I'll have somebody pick you up and we'll get a chance to chat for a minute after we get through. (Applause.)

Now, we love this part of the country. The Willamette Valley, obviously, is a fantastic piece of real estate -- some flying -- I've been on the road too long. (Laughter.) Some fine fly fishing. And I know a thing or two about fishing. I spend a little time on the stream myself. But also by the looks of things, this is Bush-Cheney country. (Applause.)

We've been traveling the country extensively ever since the convention. And that was a great convention in New York City, wasn't it? (Applause.) You can't do much better than getting somebody like Zell Miller to come and brag for George Bush. (Applause.) The President, of course, made a tremendous speech, laid out a forward-looking plan to make America more hopeful and our world more secure. And although he's not here today, also I want to report that your senator Gordon Smith is doing a superb job for all of us in Washington. (Applause.) And the President and I are tremendously -- the President and I are tremendously grateful --

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Treat him with kindness now. Treat him with kindness. Maybe he'll see the light. (Laughter.)

But we are -- we're delighted to have the support of so many great folks all across the country. The President and I, of course, came within just a few thousand votes of victory in Oregon in 2000. We're going to work even harder this year to earn your support and victory on November 2nd in Oregon. (Applause.)

As I said in my convention speech in New York City I now have an opponent. (Laughter.) No, I really do. People keep telling me that Senator Edwards got the job because he's sexy, good looking, has great charm, and great hair. I said, "How do you think I got the job?" (Laughter and applause.)

But in all seriousness, this is a very important election this year. It comes at an absolutely crucial time in our history. Today we face an enemy every bit as intent on destroying us as were the Axis powers in World War II. 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 will do. (Applause.)

I'm sure many of you heard Rudy Giuliani's remarks at the Republican convention. (Applause.) Mayor Guiliani talked about the day 9/11, and the terrible day that we all remember, turning at one point to his police commissioner, Bernie Kerik, and saying, "Thank God George W. Bush is our President." (Applause.)

Under the President's leadership, we have reached around the world and killed or captured hundreds of al Qaeda. In Afghanistan, the camps where terrorists trained to kill Americans have been shut down, the Taliban driven from power. In Iraq, we dealt with a gathering threat, and removed the regime of Saddam Hussein. (Applause.) Seventeen months ago, he controlled the lives and the fortunes of 25 million people. Today, he sits in jail. (Applause.)

President Bush does not deal in empty threats and half-way measures, and his determination sent a very clear message. Just five days after Saddam Hussein was captured, the government of Libya agreed to abandon its nuclear weapons program and turn the materials over to the United States. Today, the uranium, the centrifuges, and the plans for nuclear weapons that were once hidden in Libya are locked up down at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and they will never again to be a danger to anybody. (Applause.)

The biggest danger we face today is having nuclear weapons fall into the hands of terrorists. The President is working with many countries in a global effort to end the trade and transfer of these deadly technologies. The most important result thus far -- and a very important one -- is that the black-market network that supplied nuclear weapons technology to Libya, as well as to Iran and North Korea, has been shut down. The world's worst source of nuclear proliferation is out of business. (Applause.)

We could not have succeeded in these efforts without the help of dozens of countries around 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.)

America faces a choice on November 2nd between a strong and steadfast President and his opponent, who seems to adopt a new position every day.

AUDIENCE: Flip-flop! Flip-flop! Flip-flop!

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Just last week, John Kerry gave us what I believe is his eighth position on the war in Iraq. Who's counting? (Laughter.) He said that Iraq was, quote, "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time." Except it turns out that is really somebody else's position. It's former Democrat Primary Candidate Howard Dean's position. And nine months ago when Howard Dean took that position during the primaries, Senator Kerry jumped on him, and said, and I quote: "Those who doubted whether Iraq or the world would be better off without Saddam Hussein, and those who believe today that we are not safer with his capture, don't have the judgment to be President or the credibility to be elected President." (Applause.) In the spirit of bipartisanship, this is one position of Senator Kerry's I agree with. (Laughter.)

In all the national campaigns I have watched up close, I've never seen a candidate go back and forth so many times on a single issue. All the shifts Senator Kerry has made are troubling, but there is one that really stands out. It starts with Senator Kerry and his running mate, Senator Edwards, voting in favor of using 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: Now, 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 certainly clears things up. (Laughter.) Lately he's been saying he's proud that he and John Edwards voted no, and he explains his decision was "complicated." (Laughter.) But funding American troops in combat should never be a complicated question. (Applause.)

Yesterday, while speaking to the National Guard Association, John Kerry said that our troops deserve no less than the best. But I am stunned by the audacity of that statement since it was John Kerry who voted to send our troops into combat and then voted to deny them the support they needed once they were at war.


THE VICE 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: You guys want to hear this speech or not? (Laughter.)

Senator Kerry said that leadership starts with telling the truth. But the American people know that true leadership also requires the ability to make a decision. True leadership is sticking with the decision in the face of political pressure, and true leadership is standing for your principles regardless of your audience or who you've just hired as a political advisor. (Applause.) Senator Kerry said he would always be straight with the American people on the good days and on the bad days. In his case, that means when the headlines are good, he's for the war. And when his poll numbers are bad, he's against it. (Laughter.)

These are not times for leaders who shift with the political winds, saying one thing one day and another, the next. Our troops, our allies, and our enemies must know where America stands. (Applause.) The President of the United States must be clear and consistent.

In his years in Washington, John Kerry has been one of a hundred votes in the United States Senate, and fortunately on matters of national security, his views rarely prevailed. But the presidency is an entirely different proposition. A senator can be wrong for 20 years, without consequence to the nation. But a President -- a President -- always casts the deciding vote. And in this time of challenge, America needs -- and America has -- a President we can count on to get it right. (Applause.)

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 that here today for what they've done for all of us. (Applause.) One of the most important commitments that the President 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 U.S. military. (Applause.)

On Iraq, Senator Kerry has disagreed with many of his fellow Democrats. But Senator Kerry's liveliest disagreement is with himself. (Laughter.) His back-and-forth reflects a habit of indecision, and sends a message of confusion. And it's all part of a pattern. He has, in the last several years, been for the No Child Left Behind Act -- and against it. He has spoken in favor of the North American Free Trade Agreement -- and against it. He is for the Patriot Act -- and against it. Senator Kerry says he sees two Americas. It makes -- it makes the whole thing mutual -- America sees two John Kerrys. (Laughter and 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 west front 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 benefited from the Bush tax cuts, and so has the economy. We've created jobs for the last 12 months -- a total of about 1.7 million new jobs over the last year; including 144,000 new jobs last month alone. (Applause.) Here in Oregon, over 44,000 jobs have been created since a year ago last June. (Applause.) Mortgage rates, and interest rates, and inflation are all low. Consumers are confident, businesses are investing; families are taking home more of what they earn. We're seeing record exports for farm products. Farm income is up. Our farm economy is strong. And that's good for our entire nation. (Applause.)

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.) But this is a strong economy and a growing stronger, and 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 --

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: He didn't go to the White House to mark time, or to spend his energy on small goals. He went to take on the big issues, and to make serious reforms. He led with confidence, with clear vision, and unwavering purpose. He's made hard choices, and he's kept his word. And that's exactly how he will continue to lead the nation for the next four years. (Applause.)

In our second term, we will keep moving forward with our pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda. We will work to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. And to help families and small businesses, we will lead a bipartisan effort to reform and simplify the tax code. (Applause.)

We will work to create new export opportunities so farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs can sell their products all over the world. And to help the Pacific Northwest exporters and shippers stay competitive, and to conserve and restore the river ecosystem, we will move forward with an important project to deepen the Columbia River shipping channel by another three feet. (Applause.)

We will 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'll work for medical liability reform --


THE VICE PRESIDENT: -- because we know the cost of malpractice insurance is creating a crisis, not only in Oregon, but across the nation. (Applause.) America's doctors should be able to spend their time healing patients, not fighting off frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.)

Our opponents have a very different vision for our country. 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 the legal system, and they're against medical liability reform. Their big idea for the economy: raise our taxes.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: Our opponents also take a different view on the important issue of forest policy. As Westerners, the President and I understand the challenges you face when it comes time to protect residents from wildfire. (Applause.) That's why the President proposed and worked with leaders like Senator Gordon Smith to pass the Healthy Forest Act, a good, bipartisan law that is keeping forests healthier, and communities safer. (Applause.)

Senator Kerry takes a different view. He says he's in touch with the West. (Laughter.) He must mean western Massachusetts. (Laughter.) Senator Kerry did not support the Healthy Forest Act when it came time to vote. Senator Kerry even said that thinning underbrush to prevent wildfire was the equivalent of taking a chainsaw to the public forest.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: But he gets ready to come out here and campaign, he turns his position around. He says he likes, quote, "a lot of parts of the law." (Laughter.) "A lot of parts of the law -- must be a Massachusetts term. (Laughter.) That makes one thing clear, it's not only wildfires that shift with the wind. (Laughter and 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." (Applause.) And we believe Americans ought to be able to say "under God" when we pledge allegiance to the 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. (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.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: Recently, they used their obstructionist tactics to keep the Senate from voting on Bill Myers, a friend of mine, a Westerner. 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, as you know, is the circuit that decided we should not be able to say "under God" when we pledge allegiance to the flag. Sounds to me like they could use some new judges on the Ninth Circuit. (Applause.) What the Democrats are doing is outrageous, and that's why we need to more Republicans like Gordon Smith in United States Senate. (Applause.)

On issue after issue, President Bush has a clear vision for the future of our nation. America has come to know him, and I have come to admire him very much. I watch him at work every day. He's a person of loyalty and kindness, a man who speaks plainly and means what he says. I have seen him face some of the hardest decisions that can come to the man in the Oval Office, and make those decisions with the wisdom and the humility Americans expect in their President. (Applause.)

Abroad, under President Bush's leadership, 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 a 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. President Bush and I will wage this effort with complete confidence in the judgment of the American people. The signs are good -- here in Oregon, and even in Massachusetts. (Applause.) According to a news account, people leaving the Democratic National Convention in July asked a Boston policeman for directions. He replied, "Leave here -- and go vote Republican." (Laughter and applause.)

President Bush and I are honored to have the support of that police officer -- (laughter) -- and of Democrats, Republicans, and independents from every calling in American life. We're grateful to our many friends across the great state of Oregon. I want to thank you for the tremendous welcome. 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 2:25 P.M. PDT