|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
October 23, 2004
Vice President's Remarks in Farmington, New Mexico
Remarks by the Vice President at a Victory 2004 Rally
Piedra Vista High School
Farmington, New Mexico
11:25 A.M. MDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Good morning, (Applause.) Well, thank you, thank you for that warm welcome. We're delighted to be back in New Mexico. And from the enthusiasm I see here today, Farmington looks like Bush-Cheney country. (Applause.)
Lynne likes to talk about knowing me since I was 14 years old, but she wouldn't go out with me until I was 17. (Laughter.) I tell people that we have a marriage that came about because Dwight Eisenhower got elected President of the United States, because in those years, I was a youngster living 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 recently celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. (Applause.) I explained that to a group the other night that if it had not 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.) You and I know it's absolutely true. (Laughter.)
But the President was campaigning yesterday, of course, in Pennsylvania. Senator Kerry, was goose hunting in Ohio. (Laughter.) I notice that the Senator bought a camouflage jacket for the occasion, which did made me wonder how regularly does he go hunting. (Laughter.) My personal opinion is that his camo jacket is an October disguise. (Applause.) It's an effort he's making to hide the fact that he votes against gun owner rights at every turn. But, my fellow sportsmen, this cover-up isn't going to work, because you and I know the Second Amendment is more than just a photo opportunity. (Applause.)
With 10 days left in the campaign, the choices in this election could not be more clear. The stakes are very high, both at home and abroad. And I believe on November 2nd, the American people are going to make George W. Bush President for the next four years. (Applause.)
Today, I want to give special thank Senator Pete Domenici for his kind words today. (Applause.) I've know Pete for many years. I've work very closely with him in the Senate. He does a superb job representing the people of New Mexico, and for the entire country. (Applause.) And we're also proud to be joined by your congressional candidate, Greg Tucker, today, as well, too. (Applause.) I know we have a number of Republicans in the Navajo Nation working hard for the Republican ticket, and I want to thank them and all the grassroots workers here with us. (Applause.)
Of course, we are in the Four Corners area, the only place in the country where you can stand in four states at one time. It's a great place, where Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico meet at a single point. And on Election Day, all four of those states are going to be for George W. Bush. (Applause.)
New Mexico voters understand the importance of steady, principled, consistent leadership in the White House. This is no ordinary time for America. The last three-and-a-half years have brought some very serious challenges to our country. We're meeting every one of those challenges with strength and resolve. Today, people in New Mexico and across the land can be confident of a better future; a stronger economy; and a nation that is more secure thanks to the character and the leadership of our President, George W. Bush. (Applause.)
In the final presidential debate, I think people watching saw very clearly the character and the vision of our President. He's a man of loyalty and kindness who speaks plainly and means what he says. He sets clear goals, works with members of both parties to achieve them. He puts the country first and his deepest commitment is to making us safer, more prosperous, and more secure. (Applause.)
You saw something quite different in the President's opponent. You saw a man who will say and do anything if he thinks it will advance his cause. Of course, this is nothing new. Just over a year ago, John Kerry turned his back on the troops he voted to send into combat because he thought it was in his political interest to do so.
AUDIENCE: Booo! Flip-flop! Flip-flop! Flip-flop!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Senator Kerry -- remember, he voted in favor of using force against Saddam Hussein, but then during the Democratic primary 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, he voted "no."
THE VICE PRESIDENT: What are you guys doing for the next 10 days? (Applause.) How would you like to come along with me and campaign with me? (Applause.)
He offered a ridiculous explanation for his vote, frankly one that I think will go down in the history of American politics. He said, and I quote, "I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it." (Laughter.)
AUDIENCE: Flip-flop! Flip-flop! Flip-flop!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Don't overdo it. (Laughter.)
But the real reason he turned his back on our troops was Howard Dean. Dean was the antiwar candidate and Dean was surging ahead in the polls, and so John Kerry, in order to advance himself in the Democratic primary, turned his back on our troops. He said his vote was "complicated," but, my friends, supporting American troops in combat should never be a complicated matter. (Applause.)
John Kerry will say and do anything in order to get elected. He will attack the Patriot Act -- after he voted for it. He will attack the No Child Left Behind Act -- after he voted for it. He will try to scare young people by raising the specter of the draft when he knows the only people who have supported the idea of bringing it back are two members of his own party. Nobody but a couple of Democrats wants to change the all-volunteer force because it's the finest military the world has ever known. (Applause.)
John Kerry also tries to scare seniors by saying Social Security is threatened. He knows this President has guaranteed Social Security benefits will be there for our seniors, but Senator Kerry will say and do anything, including making false charges that he knows to be false.
Most of all, Senator Kerry will say and do anything to disguise his 20-year Senate record, because it shows him -- it shows him taxing and spending out of the mainstream.
On the campaign trail Senator Kerry talks about helping families with a middle-class tax cut, covering over the fact that when President Bush increased the child tax credit, reduced the marriage penalty, and put in a new 10-percent bracket, Senator Kerry opposed it. All these measures leave money in the hands of taxpayers who earned it ?- but Senator Kerry voted "no."
THE VICE PRESIDENT: The Senator doesn't mention these details, so we're going to have to do it for him. (Applause.) John Kerry voted to raise taxes 98 times. He voted against tax reductions at least 126 times, and he voted to break the budget caps that control spending 277 times. Senator Kerry has earned a special distinction in Congress. The nonpartisan National Journal Magazine analyzed his record and named him the most liberal member of the United States Senate.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I'm getting to the good part now. (Laughter.) Because of John Kerry, Ted Kennedy is the conservative senator from Massachusetts. (Applause.)
John Kerry is trying very hard to hide all that, making promises he can't keep about health care and being totally deceitful when it comes to medical liability reform. He says he has a plan to reform the medical liability system, but you know what his plan is? Put the trial lawyers in charge.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: President Bush has a better idea: Let's keep medical decisions in the hands of doctors and patients, not personal injury lawyers. (Applause.)
Yesterday and again today, John Kerry is running around campaigning, claiming that the world would be a whole lot better if he had been President.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, that's -- that is an interesting proposition that maybe we should consider.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: So let's go back and look at his record on some key issues and see what the world would have been like if he had made the crucial decision, if he had President instead of Senator. What would the world look like if John Kerry had been in charge? Well, let's go back to the 1970s when John Kerry was saying that we should only deploy U.S. troops under the authority of the United Nations.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: So one way the world might look if he had been in charge is, we would have ceded our right to defend ourselves to the United Nations.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: In the 1980s, John Kerry ran for the Senate on a platform of doing away with many of the major weapons systems that Ronald Reagan used to win the Cold War. So if John Kerry had been in charge, maybe the Soviet Union would still be in business.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: In 1991, John Kerry voted against sending American troops to expel Saddam Hussein after he invaded Kuwait. So if John Kerry had been in charge, Saddam might well control the Persian Gulf today.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: And of course, after the Gulf War, international inspectors judged that Saddam would have been armed with nuclear weapons by the early '90s. So not only would Saddam control a crucial part of the Middle East, he might well have nuclear weapons. I think it's a good thing he wasn't in charge. (Applause.)
To move forward to the present time, if John Kerry were in charge and America today would have meet some kind of "global test" before we could take military action.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: The President and I know better than that. We know that it is not our job to conduct international opinion polls. Our job is to defend America. (Applause.) That's better. (Laughter.)
John Kerry is now trying to back off this whole idea of a "global test." It's a notion that fits with his whole career ?- but he doesn't want us to know about his whole career. He is trying to hide it, to cover it up by using a little tough talk during the course of this campaign. But you can't do it. It won't work. As we like to say in Wyoming, you can put all the lipstick you want on a pig, but at the end of the day, it'll still be a pig. (Applause.)
John Kerry does not have the judgment or the conviction that America needs in a President. He is not a steadfast leader. And our President is. (Applause.) And let me tell you why that matters. A country can never know what a President will be called upon to do. Think of the last four years. Think of the challenges of 9/11 and the global war on terror. And because our President is a man of strong character and steadfast determination, he has led us very well. (Applause.) At the Republican convention, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani told the story of how in New York on 9/11, he turned to Bernie Kerik, his police commissioner, and said, "Thank God, George Bush is our Commander-in-Chief." (Applause.)
Under the President's leadership, we have reached around the world to capture and kill thousands of al Qaeda. In Afghanistan, the camps where terrorists trained to kill Americans have been shut down, the Taliban driven from power. (Applause.)
In Iraq, we dealt with a gathering threat, and removed the regime of Saddam Hussein. (Applause.) Nineteen months ago, he controlled the lives of 25 million people. Today, he sits in jail. (Applause.)
We are also helping the people of Iraq and Afghanistan build representative governments. In Afghanistan, 10 million people registered to vote, nearly half of them women. (Applause.) Elections were held two weeks ago, the first in the 5,000-year history of that country. (Applause.) In January, the people of Iraq will vote as well. And we will be safer as a result. One of the lessons that history teaches is that institutions of self-government turn the energies of people away from violence to the peaceful work of building better lives. Freedom is the best antidote to terrorism. (Applause.)
Because of President Bush's determination in the war on terror, leaders around the world are getting the message. Just five days after Saddam Hussein was captured, Moammar Ghadafi in Libya agreed to abandon his 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 is the black-market network that supplied nuclear weapons technology to Libya, as well as to Iran and North Korea, has been shut down. And the world is much 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.)
The clearest, most important difference in this campaign is simple to state: President Bush understands the war on terror and has a strategy for winning it. Senator Kerry does not. (Applause.) All doubt on the matter was removed when Senator Kerry said recently that he wanted to lead America back to the place where we were, to a time when terrorism was, in his word, a "nuisance" like illegal gambling or prostitution. (Laughter.) That's the comparison he made. When I was read that, I asked myself: When was terrorism only a nuisance? Was it a nuisance four years ago, when the USS Cole was attacked and we lost 17 sailors?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Was it a nuisance six years ago when they attacked simultaneously two of our embassies in East Africa and killed hundreds of people?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Was terrorism just a nuisance 11 years ago, when the World Trade Center was first bombed?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Or 16 years ago, when Pan Am Flight 103 was blown out of the skies over Lockerbie, Scotland?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Or 21 years ago, when a suicide bomber in a truck hit a barracks in Beirut and killed 241 Marines?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: My friends, there never was a time when terrorism was just a nuisance. There never can be a time when terrorism is a nuisance. Our goal is not to reduce terror to some acceptable level. Our goal is to defeat terror -? and with George W. Bush as President, that's exactly what we will do. (Applause.)
These are not times for leaders who shift with the political winds, or who fail to understand the nature of the struggle we are in. Our troops, our allies, 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.)
President Bush knows that our dedicated servicemen and women represent the very best of the United States of America. (Applause.) I want to thank them, their families, and all the veterans with us here today for what they've done for all of us. (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, the economy was sliding into recession. Then on 9/11, terrorists struck 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 cuts for the American people not once, not twice, but four times in four years. (Applause.)
Every American who pays federal income taxes benefited from the Bush tax cuts, and so has the economy. We've created jobs for 13 consecutive months -? a total of 1.9 million new jobs during that period -? including almost 100,000 in the last month alone. Here in New Mexico, almost 42,000 jobs have been created since the President took office. 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. (Applause.)
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. 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 -- our accomplishments these past four years have made America safer, stronger, and better.
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. And to help families and small businesses, we'll lead a bipartisan effort to reform and simplify the federal tax code. (Applause.)
We will work to end lawsuit abuse because we know it's a lot easier for America's businesses to hire workers if they don't have to keep hiring lawyers. (Applause.)
And we will continue to work to help parents and teachers improve our schools so that all our children receive the world-class education they deserve. (Applause.)
We will work to make it easier for small businesses to provide health insurance to employees and for families to meet their health care needs ?- and we'll do this in ways that keep health decisions in the hands of doctors and patients. (Applause.)
We will work for medical liability reform because America's doctors should be able to spend their time healing patients, not fighting off frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.)
We will continue to move forward -? led by Pete Domenici -? on a comprehensive energy policy that promotes domestic production, modernizes our electricity grid, encourages conservation, and supports alternative sources of energy. (Applause.) We will work to enact the President's plan to make the U.S. less dependent on foreign sources of energy. (Applause.)
President Bush and I will continue to defend 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 so when we pledge allegiance to our flag.
There shouldn't be any question about this ?- and there wouldn't be if we had more reasonable judges on the federal bench. 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 because we're going to win this election. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: A good way to deal with the problem of the Democratic filibuster is to send more good Republicans like Pete Domenici to the United States Senate. (Applause.)
My friends, the differences between the President and his opponent are as sharp as they can possibly be, and the consequences for the country are enormous. On vital matters of national security, Senator Kerry offers a record of weakness and a strategy of retreat. President Bush offers a record of steady purpose and resolute action, and a strategy for victory. Senator Kerry wants to empower government; President Bush will empower the citizens of this great country. (Applause.) John Kerry seems to think that all the wisdom is found in Washington, D.C.; George Bush trusts the wisdom of the American people. (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. 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 commitment to the cause we all share. President Bush and I will wage this effort with complete confidence in the American people. The signs are good -? here in New Mexico, 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 of American life. We're grateful to our many friends here across the great state of New Mexico. 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 11:55 A.M. MDT