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 Home > News & Policies > September 2004

For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
September 21, 2004

Vice President's Remarks at a Victory 2004 Rally in Wauseon, Ohio
Fulton County Fairgrounds
Wauseon, Ohio

10:10 A.M. EDT

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you all very much. Thank you for that warm welcome. It's great to be here in Wauseon, Ohio. Did I get it right? (Applause.) You have to be careful in this business. I don't know how many of you noticed the other day that John Kerry went to Green Bay, Wisconsin and talked about "Lambert Field" instead of Lambeau Field.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: We believe he thinks Vince Lombardi is a foreign leader. (Laughter and applause.) You've got be very careful how you pronounce these words.

But it's great to be here. We were down in Grove City yesterday. And this, of course, is a beautiful part of the Buckeye State. And by the looks of things, this is Bush-Cheney country. (Applause.)

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Lynne talked about knowing me since I was 14 years old. She wouldn't go out with me until I was 17. (Laughter.) But I like to tell people that we got married because Dwight Eisenhower got elected President of the United States. (Laughter.) In 1952, I was a youngster 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. That's where I met Lynne, and we went to high school together, and a couple of 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 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.)

But it's great to see Paul Gillmor here today. He does a superb job for everybody in Ohio in the United States Congress. (Applause.) And I was pleased, as well, when we got off the plane this morning Del Latta greeted us, your former congressman, a man I served with for 10 years. (Applause.)

Lynne and I have been traveling the country and talking about the terrific convention we had in New York a couple of weeks ago. President Bush laid out a clear, forward-looking plan to make America more hopeful and the world more secure. The President and I are tremendously grateful for all of our supporters here in Ohio. And here and across the country, we've got strong backing from Republicans and independents. And we're proud to have the support, as well, of many Democrats like Georgia's Senator Zell Miller. (Applause.)

The President and I were proud to carry Ohio in 2000. We're going to work even harder to earn your support this year. We've been to Ohio many times -- you'll be seeing more of us. And with your help, we are going to win Ohio, and we are going to win this election. (Applause.)

I also want to thank Governor Bob Taft for his help in our campaign, as well as your senators, Mike DeWine and George Voinovich. They do a superb job for all of us. (Applause.

As I said in my convention speech up in New York, I'm mindful now that I have an opponent. (Laughter.) People keep telling me Senator Edwards got picked because he's good looking, charming, sexy, has great hair. (Laughter.) I said, "How do you think I got the job?" (Laughter and applause.)

But in all seriousness, this is a very important election, maybe the most important of our lifetime. It 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. And from the night of September 11th to this day, America has left no doubt about where we stand. We have no illusions about the nature of this struggle, or the character of the enemy we face. The reports of the beheading of an American hostage yesterday are another reminder of the evil we face. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jack Armstrong's family. His death is one more reminder that 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.) With President George W. Bush as our Commander-in-Chief, that is exactly what we are going to do. (Applause.)

I'm sure that many of you heard Rudy Giuliani's remarks at the Republican convention. Rudy remembered that after the attacks on his city that day, he turned at one point to his police commissioner, Bernie Kerik, and said, "Thank God George W. Bush is President." (Applause.)

Under the President's leadership, we have reached around the world to capture and kill 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. Seventeen months ago -- (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 has sent a clear message. Just five days after Saddam was captured, the government of Libya agreed to abandon its nuclear weapons program and turn the materials over to the United States. (Applause.)

The biggest danger we face today is having nuclear weapons technology 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 it's 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. (Applause.) The world's worst source of nuclear proliferation is out of business, and we are safer as a result. (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, experienced President and his opponent, who seems to adopt a new position every day.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: Yes. (Laughter.) Yesterday, John Kerry gave us what I think is his ninth position on the war in Iraq. He attacked the progress we are making and the policies we've implemented. Yet despite all the harsh rhetoric, Senator Kerry endorsed many of the same goals President Bush has been pursuing in Iraq. Senator Kerry also said that under his leadership, more of America's friends would speak with one voice on Iraq. That seems a little odd coming from a guy who doesn't speak with one voice himself. (Applause.)

The new position Senator Kerry adopted most recently seems to be that he would not have supported the use of force to remove Saddam Hussein's regime -- and that removing Saddam has somehow weakened our national security. Nine months ago when Howard Dean took a similar position during the Democratic primaries, Senator Kerry 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." End quote. (Applause.) The only thing I have to say to that is, I'm Dick Cheney and I approve that message. (Applause.)

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 the 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.

At first Senator Kerry said he didn't really oppose the funding. He both supported and opposed it. (Laughter.) Then he said, and I quote, "I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it." That certainly clears things up. (Laughter.) Lately he's been saying he's proud that he and John Edwards voted no, and he explained his decision was "complicated." But funding American troops in combat should never be a complicated question. (Applause.) We need a President who will back our troops 100 percent, and that's exactly what we've got in George W. Bush. (Applause.)

Senator Kerry has 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 that 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 that case for Senator Kerry, it means that when the headlines are good he's for the war, and when his poll numbers are bad, he's against it.

AUDIENCE: Flip-flop! Flip-flop! Flip-flop! (Laughter.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT: 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. 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. (Applause.) 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.)

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: President Bush knows that our dedicated servicemen and women in uniform represent the very best of the United States of America. (Applause.) I want to thank them and all the veterans with us here today for what they have done for all of us. (Applause.) One of the most important commitments 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 has kept his word to the United States 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. That makes the whole thing mutual because America sees two John Kerrys. (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 inaugural platform on the west front of the Capitol and took the oath of office, the economy was sliding into recession. Then, on 9/11, terrorists struck our country 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 the economy. We've created jobs for the last 12 consecutive months -- a total of about 1.7 million new jobs over the last year -- including 144,000 new jobs last month. 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.) We plan to double the number of workers trained through the federal government's job training programs. We've proposed a quarter of a billion dollars to help more workers train at our nation's fine community colleges. And we'll improve math and science education in our public high schools, so every high school graduate gets the quality education they deserve, and the foundation they need to fill the jobs of the 21st century. (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 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 kept his word. And that's exactly how he will continue to lead the country for the next four years. (Applause.)

In our second term, we will keep moving forward with a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda. We will work to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. And to help families -- (applause.) -- to help families and small businesses, we will lead a bipartisan effort to reform and simplify the tax code. (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 will work for medical liability reform because we know the cost of malpractice insurance is creating a crisis, not only in Ohio, but across the nation. 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 the 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; they're against medical liability reform. Their big idea for the economy: raise our taxes.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: President Bush and I will continue to defend our society's fundamental rights and values. We stand for a culture of life, and 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 so when they 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.) The Democrats in the Senate have been doing everything they can, including using the filibuster to keep the President's sensible mainstream nominees off the bench. They're hoping to wait the President out. But I've got news for them, that's not going to happen. We're going to win this election. (Applause.)

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: 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 humility Americans expect in their President.

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 spreading hope and freedom around the world. Here at home, we'll 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 the complete confidence in the judgment of the American people. The signs are good -- here in Ohio, 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." (Applause.)

President Bush and I are honored to have the support of that police officer, and of Democrats, Republicans, and independents from every calling in American life. We're grateful to our many friends across the great state of Ohio. I want to thank you for the tremendous welcome this morning. We're proud to have you on the team. And together, on November 2nd, we'll see our cause forward to victory.

Thanks very much. (Applause.)

END 10:31 A.M. EDT