|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 26, 2006
Remarks by the President at Bouchard for U.S. Senate Reception
Mabry Banquet and Convention Center
6:03 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Thanks for coming. The way to go from worst to first is elect Mike Bouchard to the United States Senate. (Applause.) I am impressed by Mike Bouchard's character, his decency, his compassion for the people of Michigan. And there's no doubt in my mind, with our hard work, he'll be elected to the United States Senate. (Applause.)
I thank you for coming. You know, it's an interesting year. The other side is dancing in the end zone -- except they're on the 15-yard line. (Applause.) We got the issues on our side. We got the right candidates running. Mike Bouchard is going to win. And I appreciate you coming to support him. (Applause.)
And I'm proud to be here with Pam and his family. I thank -- you know, there's nothing better than having a candidate who has got a strong family. I appreciate the fact that he puts family first in his life. And I know what it's like to have a loving wife and kids that love you because I've got a loving wife. (Applause.) And she understands what I know, Michael Bouchard is the right man for this job. (Applause.)
I appreciate Congressman Joe Knollenberg joining us. Congressman, I appreciate you coming. (Applause.) We got the State Attorney General, Michael Cox. Michael, where are you? Thanks for coming, buddy. There you go. (Applause.) He's a good man to be running with. He's a good, strong leader. I appreciate you coming, Mike.
I'm proud to be here with the grassroots activists for the state of Michigan, the party chairman, the national committeewoman, the co-chair of the Michigan Republican Party happens to Jane Abraham. I know her husband quite well. (Laughter.) The reason I bring up the grassroots activists is I want to remind you that giving money is one thing; turning out the vote is the other. And coming down the stretch, this good man is going to give it his all, but he needs you by his side. He needs people getting on the telephones and putting up the signs and knocking on doors and reminding people of Michigan, if they want good government and good results, Mike Bouchard is the -- should be the United States senator. (Applause.)
And when he wins, we got a lot to do together -- got a lot to do together. One thing we're going to do together is to make sure we continue to develop alternative fuel for our automobiles. See, we've got a problem here in America. We are too dependent on foreign sources of oil. And the best way to diversify away from foreign sources of oil is to encourage renewable fuels like ethanol. We want Michigan farmers growing the fuel that runs our automobiles, for the sake of economic security and national security. (Applause.)
I'm looking forward to having this good senator vote to confirm the judges I nominate to the federal bench. (Applause.) Make no mistake about it, one of the key issues in this campaign is the type of judiciary we end up having in America. My job is to appoint judges who will strictly interpret the Constitution and not use the bench from which to legislate. (Applause.) And it would be -- if you believe in that philosophy, it's important that you have at least one United States senator from Michigan who will support a conservative judiciary, and that's Senator Mike Bouchard. (Applause.)
I mentioned his love for family. He understands what I know, that marriage is a fundamental institution of our civilization. Yesterday in New Jersey, we had another activist court issue a ruling that raises doubts about the institution of marriage. I believe that marriage is a union between a man and a woman. (Applause.) Mike and I believe that marriage is a sacred institution, that it is critical to the health of our society and the well-being of families, and marriage must be defended. (Applause.)
Another big issue in this campaign, and one I'm looking forward to working with Senator Bouchard on is taxes. (Applause.) You know, we believe that we ought to keep your taxes low because we believe you can spend your money better than the government can. (Applause.) The Democrats believe that they can spend your money better than you can and, therefore, will raise your taxes.
Make no mistake about it, this is a key issue in this campaign. When we were confronted with recession and corporate scandal, and an attack on the United States, and the war -- needed to defend ourselves, and hurricanes and high energy prices, this economy was able to withstand those challenges because we cut the taxes. See, if you have more money in your pocket to save, invest or spend, this economy grows.
Oh, you heard all the rhetoric during those tax debates. For those people who are undecided in this campaign, you might want to look up the words of the respective candidates when it came to cutting taxes. You might want to make sure you understand the record of people who are running in this race for the United States Senate when it comes to taxes. You might remember the Democrats said that tax cuts were not the solution for an economy that was slipping into recession. Truth is the tax cuts have helped make America's economy the fastest growing of any major industrialized nation. (Applause.)
The Democrats said the tax cuts would lead to a jobless recovery. You might remember that rhetoric. The truth is that our economy has added jobs for 37 months in a row, and since August of 2003, our economy has created more than 6.6 million new jobs. (Applause.) Oh, the Democrats said the tax cuts would cause the deficit to explode. Well, the truth is that the tax cuts led to economic growth, and that growth has helped send tax revenues soaring. As a result, we cut the deficit in half three years ahead of schedule. (Applause.)
And now the Democrats are telling you they're going to win on Election Day. But the truth is, if their electoral predictions are as reliable as their economic predictions -- (laughter) -- November 7th is going to be a good day for Michigan because Mike Bouchard is going to win the United States Senate. (Applause.)
One of the reasons why we're going to hold the Senate and hold the House on Election Day is because the Democrats are determined to raise the taxes on the people that work in this country. Oh, I know, they're not going to admit it out loud, but I want to remind you of what the top Democrat leader in the House said recently. She said, we love tax cuts. Given her record, she must be a secret admirer. (Laughter and applause.) It's just not the so-called tax cuts for the rich that she opposes. When we cut taxes for everyone who pays income taxes, she and her House colleagues, as well as members of the United States Senate, voted against that tax cut. When we reduced the marriage penalty, she and her colleagues in Washington, D.C. voted against it. When we cut the taxes on small business, she and her colleagues voted against it. When we lowered taxes for families with children, she and her colleagues voted against it. When we reduced the taxes on capital gains and dividends, she and her colleagues in Washington, D.C. voted against it. When we put the death tax on the road to extinction, she and her colleagues in Washington, D.C. voted against it. Time and time again, when she had an opportunity to show her love for tax cuts -- (laughter) -- she voted, no. If this is the Democrat's idea of love -- (laughter) -- I wouldn't want to see what hate looks like. (Laughter.)
No, taxes are a big issue -- big issue. Oh, you'll hear them try to obscure the deal by saying, we're just -- only going to tax the rich people. I want you to tell your fellow citizens who have yet to make up their mind that in 1992, they campaigned on, we're going to give you a middle-class tax cut. And when they had the power and the capacity to make the decisions about taxes in the White House and in the Congress, we had the largest -- one of the largest tax increases -- increases -- in American history. Their record is clear. They can run, but they can't hide. If the people of Michigan want low taxes, you vote for Mike Bouchard as United States senator. (Applause.)
I want to talk about taxes just a little bit more. (Laughter.) See, I know how important they are for this economy of ours. I know how important they are for small businesses. I know how important it is for our farmers and ranchers to get tax cuts. I know how important it is for people who are working for a living to be able to have more money in your pocket so you can make the decisions for your family. I know how important it is to keep taxes low. I've seen it work. We've got a record that we can run on.
You know, the way it works is, is that these tax cuts we passed are set to expire, so, therefore, they have to be renewed by Congress or made permanent. So recently, they asked the head man on the Ways and Means Committee in the House of Representatives -- he would be the head man, see, he's the ranking member on the Ways and Means Committee -- they asked him about which tax cuts he would extend -- the ones that maybe help the family with children, or the ones that get rid of the marriage penalty. He asked that -- he couldn't think of one of those tax cuts that he would extend. In other words, by not extending, he's raising your taxes. See, they try to hide behind the language.
I don't know if your opponent is trying to hide behind the language, but I doubt that she's going to be there to make sure that these tax cuts we passed stay intact. I want to tell you what that means. It means that if the child tax credit were cut in half, if these tax cuts aren't extended, if you're having breakfast with your family and you got one kid, your taxes go up $500 if they get control. Imagine having lunch with four children and the tax cuts don't get extended. That mother and father can rest assured that the Democrats will have caused their taxes to go up by $500 times four. That would be $2,000. That may not seem like a lot to the big spenders in Washington, D.C., but it's a lot to the people that work for a living. If you want to keep your taxes low, you vote for Mike Bouchard for the United States Senate. (Applause.)
Mike mentioned an issue that's on my mind a lot. As a matter of fact, every day I think about how best to protect the American people because that is the most important responsibility of your government. I wish I didn't have to say that, but as your Commander-in-Chief and as the person responsible for rallying the federal government to use all assets to protect you, I got to speak plainly to the American people. An enemy still lurks, a dangerous enemy still exists, which will use any means they can to attack us again. And therefore, we must use every means we have at our disposal to protect you. The most important job I have, and the most important job this United States senator will have, is to make sure that we do everything in our power to protect the American people.
See, we face an enemy that knows no bounds of decency. They're ideologues, but they're ideologues of hate. They have taken a great religion and have twisted it to their evil intentions. They want to establish a caliphate, a governing structure, from Spain to Indonesia in which they're able to impose their dark vision on decent men and women. They want safe haven from which to launch attack against America again. They would like the wealth so they can develop weapons of mass destruction to use against us.
You cannot negotiate with these people. You cannot reason with these people. The best way to attack -- the best way to defend America is to go on the attack, stay on the attack, and bring the people to justice before they hurt us again. (Applause.)
And Michigan needs a United States senator who understands the stakes of the world in which we live, and that senator will be Mike Bouchard. (Applause.) We need a senator up there who understands this is a global war fought on a variety of fronts. One of the lessons of September the 11th is we must stay on the offense. Look, it's hard to plan, plot and attack if you're running or hiding in a cave. And you got to know, we got immense pressure on those who would do harm to the United States.
The other lesson -- another lesson is, is that when we see a threat overseas we must take that threat seriously. America cannot wait to respond after we've been attacked. One of the lessons of that fateful day is we must do everything in our power to protect you before there's an attack. I saw a threat in Iraq. Getting rid of Saddam Hussein has made the United States safer and the world better off. (Applause.)
And now our job is to complete the mission, and that is to help Iraq become a government -- a country that can govern itself, sustain itself, defend itself, a country that will be an ally in the war against these extremists that want to harm us. And the stakes are high. It's important that we succeed. It's important that we understand there's an enemy that will kill innocent life so they can get their images on our TV screens because they believe it's just a matter of time before we leave before the job is done.
If we were to listen to the Democrats in Washington, D.C. who say, let's have a fixed date of withdrawal -- by the way, that's code word for saying, leave before the job is done -- we would turn over this important country to radicals and extremists who would plot and plan and attack.
I want you to think about a world in which violent forms of extremists battle for power, a Middle East in which moderate governments have been toppled, a Middle East in which these extremists get a hold of oil and energy, and enable -- to enable them to blackmail the United States. Imagine the message: If you don't abandon your relationship with Israel, for example, we'll run the price of oil up to -- if you don't retreat to allow us to continue to expand our caliphate or governing structure, we'll run the oil up. Imagine Iran with a nuclear weapon 20 or 30 years from now. People would look back at this period of time and say, what happened to them? How come they couldn't see the threats to a generation of Americans who are growing up? Why weren't they able to see the dangers that persisted?
I see the dangers. I understand the stakes. Victory in Iraq is essential for the security of the United States of America. We will change our plans, we will adjust our tactics, but we will support our military. We will support this young democracy, and we will win in Iraq. (Applause.)
And there's a fundamental difference of opinion. You listen to the rhetoric of the leaders of the Democrat Party. They have a different view than I do about whether or not this is a global war on terror. They have a different view about how aggressive the United States should be pursuing enemies overseas so we do not have to face them here at home.
I want you to listen to what the -- one of the leaders in Washington, D.C. said this past Sunday. She said -- a Democrat leader in a nationally televised interview -- she said, It is "not right" to say that, "Iraq is part of the war on terror." In other words, they don't believe Iraq is a part of the war on terror. They believe it is a separate theater of some kind. I'm not sure what they believe. This is a global war we're -- fight. You can't win a war if you don't believe we're in a war. And therefore, we need leaders in Washington, D.C. who understand the stakes. (Applause.)
Her position on Iraq would come as news to Osama bin Laden, who has proclaimed that the "third world war... is raging in Iraq." Her position would come as news to the number-two man of al Qaeda, Mr. Zawahiri, who has called the struggle in Iraq "the place for the greatest battle." Her position on Iraq would come as news to the terrorists from Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and other countries who have come to Iraq to fight America and the coalition forces. Her position would come as news to the people of Iraq who have lost loved ones as a result of terrorist bombings and beheadings and brutal acts of terror. Her position would come as news to those brave men and women who wear the uniform of the United States of America who are risking their lives every day to protect the American people. (Applause.)
Her position that the war on terror -- see, she went on to say it's only in Afghanistan -- her position that the war on terror should be fought only in Afghanistan would come as news to the citizens of London and Madrid and Amman and Bali and Beslan and Riyadh and Istanbul and Casablanca, and other cities where the terrorists have murdered innocent men, women and children.
We need people in Washington, D.C. who understand the stakes of the world in which we live. Our most important duty is to protect you. And the best way to protect the American people is to confront the enemy overseas so we do not have to face them here at home. And the best way to confront the enemy is to be clear-eyed and understand that if we were to leave Iraq before the job is done, the enemy would follow us right here to the United States of America. We will fight, we will in Iraq. (Applause.)
We got a lot of assets at our disposal. We got the finest military that has ever existed, and we need a United States senator who will support them. (Applause.) And when I say support them, I mean give them all the tools necessary so they can do their job. This government owes these young men and women and their families all the support necessary, and I'm confident that Senator Mike Bouchard will help me provide that support.
But we've got another asset, and that's the power of liberty. I like to tell the story -- as a matter of fact, I'm going to tell it as many times as people will listen -- (laughter) -- about my trip to Elvis' place. (Laughter.) I went down there, as you might recall, with the then sitting Prime Minister of Japan, who no longer holds the office, Prime Minister Koizumi. He's a friend of mine. We went down there. I'd never been, thought it would be fun to go. He wanted to go a lot. (Laughter.) He was an Elvis fan.
But I also want to tell a story. And here's the story: My dad, like many of your -- who got relatives here, many of you whose relatives did the same thing, who are -- you're here, your relatives probably aren't -- (laughter) -- joined the Navy to fight the Japanese. You know the kind of people I'm talking about. He's an 18-year-old kid, the Japanese had attacked America. They killed more people on 9/11 than were killed at Pearl Harbor. And yet, he went, just like the kids who are signing up today. We've got unbelievable men and women who are saying, I understand the stakes, and I want to go defend my country as volunteers. That's what happened in World War II. And it was a bloody war and a lot of people lost their lives. It was a tough, tough fight.
I find it to be really interesting that the son of this Navy pilot is on Air Force One flying down to Memphis, Tennessee with the Prime Minister of the former enemy, talking about peace; talking about the fact that this country of Japan has sent a thousand troops into Iraq, because the Prime Minister Koizumi and I understand that we're involved in an ideological struggle between decent people who want to live in peace, and radicals and extremists who will battle democracy in order to be able to impose their will.
We talked about North Korea and the fact that not only the North Korea -- man trying to get him a nuclear weapon and how destabilizing that would be, but we mourned the fact that thousands starve inside that country. We talked about HIV/AIDS on the continent of Africa, and our understanding that to whom much is given, much is required; and that this great country, I assured him, would continue to take the lead in providing antiretroviral drugs to help save lives. And we talked about helping Afghanistan build up its democracy.
Isn't it amazing? My dad fought the Japanese, and I'm talking about keeping the peace. Something happened between World War II and today, and what happened was Japan adopted a Japanese-style democracy. Democracies yield the peace. Liberty has got the capacity to transform an enemy into an ally. Liberty has got the capacity to transform regions of hopelessness to regions of light and hope.
Some day an American President will be sitting down with duly elected leaders from the Middle East talking about keeping the peace, and our children and grandchildren will be better off for it.
God bless. (Applause.)
END 6:30 P.M. EDT