|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
September 20, 2004
Vice President's Remarks at a Victory 2004 Rally in Grove City, Ohio
Grove City High School
Grove City, Ohio
6:06 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much. (Applause.) All right, (Laughter.) Come on up here. (Applause.) No, no, no. All right, all right, good enough. Well, that was a great speech. (Laughter.)
I'm delighted to be here today in Grove City with Lynne. By the looks of things this is Bush-Cheney country. (Applause.) It's a special, special pleasure to be here with Deborah Pryce. She does a superb job for all of you and for all of us. (Applause.) As part of the House Republican leadership, I get to see a lot of Deborah, and having served there for 10 years myself, I've come to appreciate the really first-class talent in the House, and Deborah is right at the top of the list. (Applause.)
Now, Lynne said she'd known me since I was 14. That's true. But she wouldn't go out with me till I was 17. (Laughter.) And I often explain to people the reason we got married is because Dwight Eisenhower got elected President of the United States. True, true. In 1952, when Eisenhower ran, I was a youngster living in Lincoln, Nebraska with my folks. Dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service. Eisenhower got elected, he reorganized the Agriculture Department, and Dad got transferred to Casper, Wyoming, which is where I met Lynne. And we grew up together, went to high school, and a couple of weeks ago celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. (Applause.) I explained -- I explained -- 40 more years, you got it. (Laughter and applause.) Okay, (Laughter.) You want to -- (Laughter.) But 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.)
We've been traveling the country campaigning, talking about the terrific convention we had in New York City. (Applause.) The President, of course, laid out a tremendous forward-looking plan to make America safer and more secure. And we are tremendously grateful for all of our supporters here in Ohio and all across the country. We've got great backing from Republicans and independents, and we're proud to say that we've also got a lot of support from 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 this year, and you're going to be seeing a lot of us in the weeks ahead. (Applause.) With your help -- with your help, we're going to carry Ohio, and we're going to win this election. (Applause.)
I want to thank Governor Taft for all the help he's provided for us in this campaign. And I also want to report that your senators, Mike DeWine and George Voinovich, are also doing a superb job in Washington. (Applause.) The President and I are pleased to be on the ballot with George this year and I'm sure he will be reelected in November. (Applause.)
As I said in my convention speech in New York, I'm mindful that I now have an opponent. (Laughter.) People keep telling me Senator Edwards got picked for his good looks, his charm, his sex appeal, his great hair. I said, "How do you think I got the job?" (Applause.)
But in all seriousness, this is serious business this year. This is an important election -- 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. 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 our enemy. The news reports today of the beheading of another American hostage is one more reminder of the evil we face. 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 convention. He remembered the day of the attacks on his city, and how at one point 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 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. Tonight, he sits in jail. (Applause.)
President Bush does not deal in empty threats and half-way measures, and his determination has sent a very clear message. Just five days after Saddam was captured, the government of Libya agreed to abandon its nuclear weapons program and surrender the materials 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 that deadly technology. The most important result thus far -- and it is 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 President and his opponent, who seems to adopt a new position every day.
AUDIENCE: Flip-flop! Flip-flop! Flip-flop!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Today, John Kerry gave us what I think is his ninth position on the war in Iraq. (Laughter.) He attacked the progress we're making and the policies we've implemented. Yet despite all the harsh rhetoric, Senator Kerry today endorsed many of the same goals that President Bush has pursued in Iraq for months.
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.)
Senator Kerry also said today that President Bush misled America in calling Iraq an imminent threat. The President said no such thing. Our argument was that Saddam Hussein posed a gathering threat, that in a post-9/11 world we could not wait until a threat was imminent. (Applause.) By then it would be too late to spare American lives. This is a profound difference between President Bush and Senator Kerry. As Senator Kerry said in his acceptance speech in Boston, he would respond after an attack on America.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: The President -- President Bush wants to protect America before we are attacked again. (Applause.)
The position Senator Kerry adopted this morning 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. Now, nine months ago, when Howard Dean took a similar position during the primary, Senator Kerry said, and I quote --
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.) (Laughter.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Yes. Yes, but who asked you? (Laughter.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Flip-flop! Flip-flop!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Now, I've got to go back and repeat the intro to this line. (Laughter.) So we all get it.
Nine months ago when Howard Dean took that same position during the primary, 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." (Applause.) The only thing I have to say to that is, I'm Dick Cheney and I approve that message. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: What are you guys doing for the next 42 days? (Applause.) All right, all right.
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, especially one so important to our security.
All the shifts Senator Kerry has made are troubling, but there is one that really stands out. It starts with Senator Kerry and 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.
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."
AUDIENCE: Flip-flop! Flip-flop! Flip-flop!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: 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.) Last week, while speaking to the National Guard Association, John Kerry said that our troops deserve no less than the best. I am stunned by the audacity of that statement since it was John Kerry -- 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. We need a President who will back our troops 100 hundred percent, and that's exactly what we've got in George Bush. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: 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. And I want to thank them -- I want to thank them and all the veterans here today for what all they've done for all of us. (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 is 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 the whole thing mutual -- America sees two John Kerrys. (Applause.)
Our country requires strong and consistent leadership for our actions overseas, and also 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, our economy was sliding into recession. Then, on 9/11, terrorists struck our nation 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 consecutive months, a total of about 1.7 million new jobs over the past year, including 144,000 jobs last month alone. 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 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. We have a plan to double -- (applause) -- we have a plan to double the number of workers trained through the federal government's job training program. We have proposed a quarter of a billion dollars to help more workers train at our nation's fine community colleges. We'll improve math and science in our public high schools, so every high school student gets the quality education they deserve, and the foundation they need to fill the jobs of the 21st century. (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 his energy on small goals. He went to take on the big issues, and to make serious reforms. He has led with confidence, 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. (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 and small businesses, we will lead a bipartisan effort to reform and simplify the federal tax code. (Applause.)
We will work to end lawsuit abuse. 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. (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 the country. They opposed our tax relief, 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: 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. 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.) We have a situation now in the United States Senate now where Democrats -- including Senators Kerry and Edwards -- are using the filibuster to block the President's mainstream nominations to the judiciary.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: 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 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 outrageous, and that's why we need to send George Voinovich back to the 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 work with him 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 that 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. 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. President Bush and I will wage this effort with 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 for our many friends across the great state of Ohio. I want to thank you for the tremendous welcome today. We're proud to have you on the team. And together, on November 2nd, we're going to see our cause forward to victory. (Applause.)
END 6:35 P.M. EDT