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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 1, 2004
President's Remarks in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico
6:55 P.M. MST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. (Applause.) Thank you all for coming. (Applause.) We're coming down the stretch, and there's no better place to come than Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Applause.) We are honored you've come out tonight. Thanks for being here. Laura and I are so thrilled that so many have come out to say hello. You're lifting our spirits. (Applause.) And we are here to ask for your vote, and to ask for your help. (Applause.)
Tomorrow is voting day, and I'm asking you to get your friends and neighbors to go to the polls. Turn out our fellow Republicans, wise independents, and discerning Democrats. (Applause.) And tell them, if they want a safer America and a stronger America and a better America, to put me and Dick Cheney back in office. (Applause.)
Perhaps the most important reason to put me back in is so that Laura will be First Lady for four more years. (Applause.) And there's no better way to come down the stretch with two women I love -- our twins, Barbara and Jenna. (Applause.)
I'm proud of my running mate, Dick Cheney. I readily concede he does not have the waviest hair in the race. (Laughter.) You all will be pleased I didn't pick him because of his hairdo. (Laughter.) I picked him because of his experience; I picked him because of his judgment. (Applause.)
I'm really proud of your Senator, Pete Domenici. What a fantastic man. (Applause.) He's as good as they come in public service. (Applause.) He does a fabulous job for New Mexico, and like me, he married well when he married Nancy. (Applause.)
I'm also proud to know a fantastic Congresswoman in Heather Wilson. (Applause.) I want to thank -- I want to thank Heather's husband, Jay, for joining us today. I can't tell you how important it is to send Heather Wilson back to the United States Congress. (Applause.)
It is such an honor to be here with Little Texas and Ricochet. Thank you all for playing. (Applause.) I want to thank my friend, Bob Martinez, of the New Mexico Fraternal Order of Police. I was so proud to get the endorsement of the FOP across this country. Thank you for coming, Bob. (Applause.)
I want to thank -- I want to thank Allen and John and Ken, and all the grassroots activists who are here. I want to thank you for putting up the signs. I want to thank you for making the phone calls. Con su apoyo vamos a ganar. Tomorrow, we're going to carry New Mexico. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Viva Bush! Viva Bush! Viva Bush!
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. I feel so incredibly optimistic about the future of our country. I see a brighter and more hopeful day for every American. One of my favorite sayings comes from a fellow Texan named Tom Lea. He was from El Paso, right across the line, I might add. He said, "Sarah and I live on the east side of the mountain. It is the sunrise side, not the sunset side. It is the side to see the day that is coming, not to see the day that is gone." During the course of this campaign, my opponent has spent much of the time talking about the day that is gone. I'm talking about the day that's coming. (Applause.)
I see a great day coming for this country, a day where prosperity reaches every corner of America, a day when every child is able to read and write and add and subtract -- (applause) -- a day in which this world becomes more free and so we're able to achieve the peace we want for our children and our grandchildren. (Applause.) Tomorrow, the people of America have a chance to bring that better day by voting for strong, confident, optimistic leadership, by voting Bush-Cheney. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: We want Bush! We want Bush! We want Bush!
THE PRESIDENT: The American President must lead with clarity and purpose. (Applause.) The role of a President is not to follow the path of the latest polls. The role of a President is to lead based upon principle and conviction and conscience. (Applause.) During these four years, I have learned that whatever your strengths are, you are going to need them; whatever your shortcomings are, the people are going to notice them. Sometimes, I am a little too blunt. I get that from my mother. (Applause.) Sometimes I mangle the English language. (Laughter.) I get that from my dad. (Applause.) But all times, whether you agree with me, or not, you know where I stand, what I believe. (Applause.)
This election comes down to five vital issues for our families. The first clear choice concerns your family's budget. When I ran for President four years ago, I pledged to lower taxes for America's families. I kept my word. (Applause.) As a result of our good policies, our economy is growing at rates as fast as any in nearly 20 years. We've added 1.9 million new jobs in the last 13 months. Our farmers and our ranchers are making a living. (Applause.)
The entrepreneurial spirit is strong in America. Small businesses are flourishing. Home ownership rates are at an all-time high. More minority families own a home than ever before in our nation's history. (Applause.) The national unemployment rate is 5.4 percent, which is lower than the average rate of the 1970s, the 1980s, and the 1990s. And the unemployment rate in New Mexico is 5.3 percent. This economy is strong and it is getting stronger. (Applause.)
My opponent has got plans for your family budget, and that's to take a big chunk out of it.
THE PRESIDENT: He's been in the Senate for 20 years, and he's voted to raise taxes 98 times.
THE PRESIDENT: That's five -- that's nearly five times every year he's been in the Senate. I would call that a predictable pattern. (Applause.) I'd call that a leading indicator. (Applause.) And when you couple that with the fact that he's promised to raise $2.2 trillion -- he said he's going to pay for it by raising the -- by taxing the rich. You can't raise enough money by running up the top two brackets to pay for $2.2 trillion. You raise about $600 billion to $800 billion. That's way short of what he has promised. I would call that a tax gap. (Laughter.) And given his record, guess who's going to have to fill that tax gap.
AUDIENCE: We are!
THE PRESIDENT: You are. The good news is, we're going to carry New Mexico tomorrow, and win. (Applause.)
The second clear choice in this elections involves the quality of life for our families. Every school must teach, and I believe every child can learn. I went to Washington to challenge the soft bigotry of low expectations and reform our public schools. I kept my word. (Applause.) We're raising standards. We're raising standards. Math and reading scores are on the rise. We're closing the achievement gap by helping minority children. In a new term, we'll build on these reforms and extend them to our high schools so that no child is left behind in America. (Applause.)
We will work to make sure our families have got good health care by making health care more affordable and available. We'll expand health savings accounts. We'll allow small businesses to join together so they can buy insurance at the same discounts that big companies are able to do. (Applause.) We will -- we will help our families in need and we will do something about these junk lawsuits that are running up the cost of health care and running good docs out of practice. (Applause.)
We have got a national problem when it comes to these lawsuits. I have met too many OB/GYNs during the course of this campaign who have had to quit practice because their premiums are too high as a result of lawsuits. I have met too many expectant moms who are desperately worried about whether they're not going to get the health care they need. See, you can't be pro-doctor, pro-patient and pro-personal injury trial lawyer at the same time. (Applause.) My opponent veto -- voted against medical liability reform ten times, and he put a personal injury trial lawyer on the ticket.
THE PRESIDENT: I am standing with the patients of New Mexico and the doctors of New Mexico. I'm standing for medical liability reform now. (Applause.)
My opponent's got an idea about health care. You might remember one of the debates when he said that the government didn't have anything to do with his plan. I could barely contain myself. (Laughter.) The government has got a lot to do with it. Eight out of ten people end up on the federal plan under his vision, and that is the wrong prescription for American families. In all we do to reform health care, we will make sure the decisions are made by doctors and patients, not by officials in Washington, D.C. (Applause.)
The third clear choice in this election involves your retirement. We have made a solemn commitment to America's seniors on Social Security and Medicare. And when I ran for President four years ago, I promised to keep that commitment and improve Medicare by adding prescription drugs for our seniors, and I kept my word. (Applause.) Beginning in 2006, all seniors will be able to get prescription drug coverage under Medicare.
And I have kept the word on Social Security. I remember those campaigns when they said, if George W. gets elected, you're not going to get your checks. Well, I got elected, and our seniors got their checks. And they will continue to get their checks. (Applause.) But we need to do something about the youngsters. We need to do something about Social Security
-- reforming Social Security for our children and our grandchildren. (Applause.) That's why I'm for personal savings accounts. I believe younger workers ought to take some of their own payroll taxes and set up a personal savings account that will earn a better rate of return, a personal savings account they call their own, an account the government cannot take away. (Applause.)
The job of a President is to confront problems, not to pass them on to future generations and future Presidents. In a new term, I'll bring people together to make sure Social Security is sound and secure for generations to come. (Applause.)
The fourth clear choice in this election is on the values that are crucial to keeping our families strong. I stand for marriage and family, which are the foundations of our society. (Applause.) I stand for a culture of life in which every person matters and every being counts. I proudly signed the ban on partial birth abortions. (Applause.) And I stand for the appointment of federal judges who know the difference between personal opinion and the strict interpretation of the law. (Applause.)
My opponent has a different opinion. He was part of an extreme minority that voted against the Defense of Marriage Act that President Clinton signed into law. He voted against the ban on partial birth abortion.
THE PRESIDENT: There is a mainstream in American politics, and John Kerry sits on the far left bank. (Applause.) He can run from his liberal record, but he cannot hide. (Applause.)
The final choice in this election is the most important of all because it concerns the security of your family. All progress on every other issue depends on the safety of our citizens. The most solemn duty of the American President is to protect the American people. (Applause.) If our country shows any uncertainty or weakness in this decade, the world will drift toward tragedy. This is not going to happen on my watch. (Applause.)
Our strategy is clear. We have strengthened protections for the homeland. We're reforming and strengthening our intelligence capabilities. We are transforming our military. There will be no draft. The all-volunteer army will remain an all-volunteer army. (Applause.) We are resolute, we are determined, we are staying on the offensive. We are fighting the terrorists abroad so we do not have to face them here at home. (Applause.)
And we are succeeding. Afghanistan is an ally in the war on terror. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are making raids and capturing terrorist leaders. Libya is dismantling its weapons programs. The army of a free Iraq is defending freedom. Al Qaeda no longer has training camps in Afghanistan. We are systematically destroying the al Qaeda network across the world. (Applause.) More than three-quarters of al Qaeda's key members and associates have been brought to justice, and the rest of them know that we're on their trails. (Applause.)
And one reason we're succeeding is we've got a fantastic military. (Applause.) And I want to thank those who wear our nation's uniform for your service. (Applause.) And I thank -- I thank the military families who are here tonight, and thank you for your service to our country. (Applause.) And I thank the veterans who are here who have set such a great example for those who wear the uniform. (Applause.) And I want to assure you all, we'll keep our commitment I have made to our troops and their families they will have that which is necessary to complete their missions.
That's why I went to the United States Congress and asked for $87 billion in supplemental funding to support our troops in combat. It was an important piece of legislation. And we got widespread support. As a matter of fact, Senator Kerry, on national TV, at one time said, it would be irresponsible to vote against the funding for our troops. And then his poll numbers went down, and he did the irresponsible thing. He voted against the funding.
THE PRESIDENT: And then -- and then he entered the flip-flop hall of fame. (Applause.) And as -- and as he entered the hall of fame, he said this: "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it."
THE PRESIDENT: I have spent a lot of time in New Mexico, and I've never heard a person talk that way. (Laughter.) He's given a lot of reasons why he voted the way he did, but the most telling of all was when he said, the whole thing was a complicated matter. (Laughter.) There's nothing complicated about supporting our troops in combat. (Applause.)
We have a difference of opinion when it comes to protecting the homeland. My opponent believes that America must submit to what he calls a global test before we commit troops.
THE PRESIDENT: I'm not making that up. (Laughter.) He actually said that. I was standing pretty close to him when he did. (Laughter.) As far as I can tell, that global test means that America must get permission before we defend ourselves. Listen, I'll work with our allies. I will strengthen our alliances. But I will never turn over America's national security decisions to leaders of other countries. (Applause.)
Recently, my opponent said -- my opponent said that September the 11th did not change him much at all.
THE PRESIDENT: September the 11th changed me and it changed my outlook on how to defend this country. I will never forget standing in the ruins of the Twin Towers on September the 14, 2001. There were workers in hard hats there yelling at me at the top of their lungs, "Whatever it takes." I remember the person that came out, been in the rubble, and he grabbed me by the arm, he looked me in the eye, and he said, "Do not let me down." Ever since that day, I wake up every morning trying to figure out how to better protect our country. I will never relent in defending America, whatever it takes. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!
THE PRESIDENT: During -- during the next four years, during the next four years, we'll wage a comprehensive strategy to defend our country, and we will use every asset at our disposal. And one of the most powerful assets we have is freedom. (Applause.) Free nations do not breed resentment. Free nations do not export terror. Free nations become allies in the war against terror. By spreading freedom, we help keep the peace. I believe -- I believe in the power of liberty to transform societies.
I want the younger folks here to realize what has taken place in a brief period of time. (Applause.) Think about what's taken place in the last three-and-a-half years of your life. Take Afghanistan. Afghanistan used to be the home base of al Qaeda, where they could train. Young girls could not go to school in that country because the Taliban were so backward and barbaric. And if their mothers did not toe their line of ideological hatred, they were taken into the public squares and whipped, and sometimes executed in a sports stadium. But because we acted to defend ourselves, because we acted to uphold a doctrine that I declared which said, if you harbor a terrorist, you are equally as guilty as the terrorist, millions of people in Afghanistan -- (applause) -- because we upheld that doctrine, millions of people in Afghanistan voted in a presidential election. And the first voter was a 19-year-old woman. (Applause.) Think about that. Freedom is on the march. And we're safer because of it.
Iraq is still dangerous. It is dangerous because that society is becoming more free and heading toward democracy. And think about how far that country has come since the days of a rule of a brutal tyrant who had torture chambers and mass graves, who used weapons of mass destruction on his own people. Freedom is on the march, and the world is better off for it.
I believe that everybody yearns to be free. I believe that mothers and dads want to raise their children in a free society. (Applause.) I believe all this not because freedom is America's gift to the world; freedom is the Almighty God's gift to each man and woman in this world. (Applause.)
These are historic times, and a lot is at stake in this election. The future safety and prosperity of America are on the ballot. The truth of the matter is this election ultimately comes down to who you can trust. Who can you trust to make this country secure? (Applause.) Who can you trust to make this society a more hopeful place? (Applause.)
If you believe that taxes should stay low so families can pay the bills and small businesses can continue to create jobs, I ask you to come stand with me. (Applause.) If you believe in high standards for public schools, I ask you to come stand with me. (Applause.) If you believe patients and doctors should be in charge of health care, I ask you, come stand with me. (Applause.) If you believe that this nation must honor the commitments of Medicare and strengthen Social Security for generations to come, I ask you to come stand with me. (Applause.) If you believe that this nation should honor marriage and family and make a place for the weak and the vulnerable, I ask you to come stand with me. (Applause.) If you believe America should fight the war on terror with all our might and lead with unwavering confidence in our ideals, I ask you to come stand with me. (Applause.)
If you are a Democrat who believes your party has turned too far to the left this year, I ask you to come stand with me. (Applause.) If you are a minority citizen and you believe in free enterprise and good schools and the enduring values of family and faith, and if you are tired of your vote being taken for granted, I ask you to come stand with me. (Applause.) And if you are a voter who believes that the President of the United States should say what he means and does what he says -- do what he says, and keeps his word, I ask you to come stand with me. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE PRESIDENT: When I traveled your great state four years ago, I made this pledge, that if I got elected, I would uphold the honor and the dignity of the office to which I had been elected. With your help, with your hard work, we're going to win tomorrow and I will carry that honor and dignity for four more years. God bless, and thank you for coming. Thank you all. (Applause.)
END 7:24 P.M. MST