George W. Bush photo

Remarks in Austin Following the "Super Tuesday" Primaries

March 07, 2000

Phyllis, thank you. Thank you for your dedication to our children, thank you for your work in one of the most important jobs in America, teacher.

Tonight, we have good news from sea to shining sea. We were challenged - and we met the challenge. We were tested - and we were equal to the test. We promised a national campaign. And, tonight, we have a national victory. Republicans and conservatives across America have said they want me to lead the Republican Party to victory come November, and I am ready and eager to do so.

I commend two good men and tough competitors: Alan Keyes and Senator John McCain. This has been a spirited contest. I congratulate John. We have our disagreements, but I respect him and his commitment to reform. I congratulate Alan for his campaign of conviction. Soon, our party will unite and turn to the main task at hand: ending the era of Clinton and Gore.

Tonight's victory is a testimony to the power and resonance and energy of a new message, a message of reform and renewal called compassionate conservatism. Tonight's victory is also the beginning of a great task. I am not only asking Americans to vote for me. I am asking Americans to join with me on a mission to reform and renew our country.

From the first day, this campaign has had a cause, a vision of change for our party and our country. Republicans must expand our prosperity -- and extend it to those who still struggle. We must be a strong nation - that also cares for the weak and forgotten, We must welcome the new Americans - Americans by choice - because legal immigration is not a source of national weakness, it is a sign of national success. We are a party of principle. We must also be a party of inclusion - a party with a generous heart and an open door.

Tonight, in the other party, Al Gore is celebrating victory as well. I congratulate him and look forward to the contest. He is the candidate of the status quo in Washington D.C., and he has a tough case to make in the general election. For eight years, the Clinton Gore administration has had history's greatest opportunity to reform Social Security-with a growing surplus and a willing public. But they have chosen to demagogue Social Security, not repair it. America needs a president who will make Social Security a priority, not use it as a ploy. As President, I will reach across party lines to strengthen and preserve Social Security not only for our greatest generation, but also for generation next.

For eight years, the Clinton Gore administration has multiplied the missions of our military, while cutting its capabilities. As President, I will rebuild the strength of our military and the prestige and stature of our country. We will give our men and women in uniform the equipment they need and the respect they deserve.

For eight years, the Clinton Gore administration has spoken of education as a matter of bricks and mortar and bureaucratic mandates. But the real problem in education is politicians who never stop talking, and children who never start reading.

For the first time in decades, we are going to dramatically improve the performance of our public schools. As President, I am going to rescue children from failure, and return excellence to American education through high standards, accountability and results. After eight years of Clinton Gore, we have the highest tax burden since World War II. And yet we are told that taxes are, not an issue. Not an issue - while many families are punished by the tax code just for being families. Not an issue - while single mothers can pay a higher marginal rate than a millionaire. It is an issue for these Americans. And so it must be an issue in our campaign,

I will take down the tollgate On the road to the middle class. And I will cut taxes for everyone who pays taxes - because the surplus is not the government's money, it is the people's money. The polls say cutting taxes is not popular. I'm not proposing tax relief because it's the popular thing to do; I'm proposing it because it's the right thing to do. I will stand on principle, and I will bring honor to this process and to the office I seek. I will remind Al Gore that Americans do not want a White, Ho-use where there is no controlling legal authority. I will repair the broken bonds of trust between Americans and their government.

These are the issues I will raise in my campaign. We need to put behind us eight years of nightly polls and daily attacks, Eight years of partisanship and gridlock and division. Eight years is a long time --and eight years is enough. We are ready - and I believe our country is ready - to return exiled honor to the White House.

Someone will make history this November, Either we will ratify the status quo, or we will have a new beginning in American politics. I say: America must not give Clinton/Gore a third term.

Tonight, I invite every American, of every background, to join our cause. If you believe our nation needs high standards and new leaders, this is your campaign. If you believe politics should Inspire young people, not disillusion them, this is your campaign. If you believe our country needs a fresh start... a clean break... a rebirth of idealism, this is your campaign.

I have so many people to thank tonight.

George W. Bush, Remarks in Austin Following the "Super Tuesday" Primaries Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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