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 Home > News & Policies > September 2004

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

Remarks by the Vice President at a Victory 2004 Rally
Warren County Fairgrounds
Warrenton, Missouri

12:45 P.M. CDT

AUDIENCE: Cheney! Cheney! Cheney!

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Good morning. (Applause.) Mercy. (Laughter.) Well, that's a fantastic welcome. It's great to be back in Missouri. I was in St. Joe yesterday, and we had so much fun we thought we'd come back today. (Applause.)


THE VICE PRESIDENT: Why do the guys always say that? (Laughter.)


THE VICE PRESIDENT: All right, all right, there we go. Boy, I'm going to have a little trouble getting into my speech today -- I can tell that right away. (Laughter.)

I'm delighted to be here with your congressman. Kenny does a superb job, not only for Missouri but for the entire country. (Applause.) And of course, it's great traveling with my bride. (Applause.)

It's true she's known me since I was 14, but she wouldn't go out with me until I was 17. (Laughter.) And I often tell people that the reason we got married is because Dwight Eisenhower got elected President of the United States. In 1952, I was living in Lincoln, Nebraska with my folks. Dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service. Eisenhower got elected, reorganized the government, Dad got transferred to Casper, Wyoming. And that's where I met Lynne. We grew up together, went to high school together, and a couple of weeks ago celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. (Applause.) I explained that -- I explained that to a group the other day that if it hadn't been for Eisenhower's election victory, Lynne would have married somebody else.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: And she said, right, and now he'd be Vice President of the United States. (Laughter and applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Forty more years.

MRS. CHENEY: Forty more years.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Yes, right, forty more years. (Laughter.) I should be so lucky. All right.

The President and I are tremendously grateful for all of our support here in Missouri and across the country. We've got great backing from Republicans and independents. We're proud to have the support of so many Democrats like Georgia's Senator Zell Miller. (Applause.)

We were proud to carry Missouri in 2000. We're going to work even harder to earn your support this year. We've been to Missouri many times. You'll see a lot more of us. And with your help, we're going to win this state and we're going to win this election. (Applause.)

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: But it is good to be joined today as well by your next Secretary of State, Catherine Hanaway. (Applause.) And I'm delighted to see Bucky Bush here today. (Applause.) And I'm proud -- as Vice President my only real job is to preside over the Senate. When they wrote the Constitution, they created the post of Vice President, but they got to the end of the Constitutional Convention and suddenly discovered they hadn't given him anything to do, so they made him the President of the Senate. I get to preside over the Senate and cast tie-breaking votes and so forth. My predecessor John Adams also had floor privileges. He could go down into the well and actually participate in the debate, and then he did a couple of times and they withdrew his floor privileges. (Laughter.)

But what I do get to do is to preside over the Senate. I spend a fair amount of time up there. And I know Kit Bond and Jim Talent very well. They're a great pair of senators. (Applause.)

Now, as I noted in my convention speech in New York, I now have an opponent. People -- people keep telling me that Senator Edwards got picked for his good looks, his charm, his sex appeal and his great hair. And I said -- I said, "How do you think I got the job?" (Laughter and applause.)

In all seriousness, folks -- I do have a serious message today. This is a very important election. It couldn't at a more -- it couldn't come at a more crucial time in our history -- because we face an enemy every bit as intent on destroying us as were the Axis powers in World War II. 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 beheading of two American hostages this week is another grim reminder of the evil nature of our adversaries. 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.)

I'm sure many of you heard Rudy Giuliani's remarks at the Republican Convention. He remembered that after the attack on his city, at one point that day, he turned to his police commissioner, Bernie Kerik, and said, "Thank God George W. Bush is our 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 destroyed, and the Taliban driven from power. In Iraq, we dealt with a gathering threat, and removed the regime of Saddam Hussein. (Applause.) Eighteen months ago, he controlled the lives and the fortunes of 25 million people. Today, he sits in jail. (Applause.)

Yesterday, Kenny and I sat in the House of Representatives. We had a joint session of Congress and heard from Ayad Allawi, the Prime Minister of a free Iraq. He said, as Kenny mentioned, thank you America. He noted the struggle in Iraq is tough, and that there have been and there will be setbacks. But he also noted that there is progress -- sometimes not being reported by the American media.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: In Iraq children in school -- in Iraq, children are in school; Iraqi security forces are being trained, and the country is, of course, headed toward free elections.

Prime Minister Allawi is a very brave man. Some years ago, Saddam Hussein sent killers after him with axes. They tried to hack him to death in his bed. He's a brave and a determined leader, and I was appalled at the complete lack of respect Senator Kerry showed for this man. (Applause.)


THE VICE PRESIDENT: I have a big airplane. (Laughter.)

Senator Kerry's sagging poll numbers have led him to think he has to go on the attack, and he did that once again this morning. He gave a speech assailing the President and suggesting that Iraq was not a home for terrorists before America deposed Saddam. Ladies and gentlemen, Saddam himself was a terrorist -- he provided safe haven for terrorists over the years; he was making $25,000 payments to families of suicide bombers; and he had a relationship with al Qaeda; and Iraq for years was carried by our State Department as a state sponsor of terror. America does not create terrorists, but under President Bush, we will defeat the terrorists. (Applause.)

President Bush's steadfast leadership and clear determination sends an important signal. 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 U.S. and reenter the community of nations. (Applause.)

The biggest danger we face today is having nuclear weapons fall into the hands of terrorists. The President is working with many countries on a global basis to end the trade and transfer of these deadly technologies. The most important result thus far -- 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 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.)

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: 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: What are you guys doing for the rest of the campaign? (Laughter and applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.) (Laughter.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT: That's what I'm afraid of. (Laughter.)

Earlier this week, John Kerry gave us yet another position on the war in Iraq. He attacked the progress we are making and the policies we have implemented. Yet despite all the harsh rhetoric, Senator Kerry ends up endorsing many of the same goals and programs 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. (Laughter and applause.)

By his repeated efforts to recast and redefine the war on terror and our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Senator Kerry has given every indication that he lacks the resolve, the determination, and the conviction to prevail in the conflict we face. The 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.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: Nine months ago when Howard Dean took this position during the Democratic 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.) The only thing I have to say to that is, I'm Dick Cheney and I approve this message. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Cheney! Cheney! Cheney!

THE VICE PRESIDENT: 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 needed once they were in combat. Only four. And 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.) 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 that he's proud that he and John Edwards voted no, and explains his decision was "complicated." (Laughter.) 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.)

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. 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 represent the very best of the United States of America. (Applause.) And 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 troops would be given the resources they need and the respect they deserve -- and he has 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. 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. This makes the whole thing mutual -- America sees two John Kerrys. (Laughter and applause.)

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Flip-flop! Flip-flop! Flip-flop!

THE VICE PRESIDENT: 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 -- on the inaugural platform on the west front of the Capitol and took the oath of office, our economy was sliding into recession. Then terrorists struck our nation on 9/11 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 -- including nearly 2 million here in Missouri -- benefited from the Bush tax cuts -- and so has our economy. We've created jobs for the last 12 consecutive months -- a total of 1.7 million new jobs over the last year -- including 144,000 new jobs last month alone. 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.

We're seeing record exports for farm products. Farm income is up. Our farm economy is strong and that's good for the 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. But this is a strong, growing economy. The Bush tax cuts are working. (Applause.)

Our accomplishments these past 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 big issues, and 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 the nation for the next four years. (Applause.)

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: 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. (Applause.) Congress took an important step yesterday by extending tax relief for working families. The President will be proud to sign that bill into law. And working with our allies on Capitol Hill, we'll lead a bipartisan effort to reform and simplify the federal 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 Missouri, 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 our 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: 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'll defend the individual right of every American to bear arms. (Applause.) We believe our nation is "one nation under God." (Applause.) And we believe Americans ought to be able to say so 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.) 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 are hoping to wait the President out. But I've got news for them. That's not going to happen because 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 says what he means and means what he says. I have seen him face some of the hardest decisions that can come to the occupant of the Oval Office -- and make those decisions with the wisdom and humility that Americans expect of their President. (Applause.)

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. The President and I will wage this effort with complete confidence in the judgment of the American people. The signs are good -- here in Missouri, 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.)

The President 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 Missouri. I want to thank you today for this 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. (Applause.)

END 1:13 P.M. CDT