Remarks at a Dinner for Senator Jon Kyl in Phoenix, Arizona
Thanks for the warm welcome. It's really good to be here. I'm here because I strongly believe Jon Kyl needs to be reelected to the United States Senate.
I'm here because I believe that when you find somebody who's got the utmost of integrity and is willing to work hard, that you ought to support him. Jon Kyl is highly respected. Jon Kyl is a leader. Jon Kyl has got the experience necessary to represent the people of Arizona. The people of this good State need to send Jon Kyl back to the United States Senate.
And I appreciate you supporting him. I particularly want to thank the organizers of this event. It's a big event, by the way. [Laughter] Thanks for working over Thanksgiving to make this such a successful show of support for Jon Kyl, but it wouldn't be successful if it wasn't for the nature of the man that you're supporting. You've seen him. You know him. You know he loves the people of Arizona.
McCain was kind of teasing him about the water issue, but it's a serious business to get it done, and it took somebody who knows his way around Washington, DC, to get the job done. That's what you want in a Senator; you want somebody who can go to Washington and represent the people of Arizona, from this State. You want somebody who doesn't fumble around and kind of preen for the cameras, but somebody who is effective. Jon Kyl is an effective United States Senator, and the people of this State need to send him back to Washington, DC.
He also married well. [Laughter] And so did I. Laura sends her love to Jon and Caryll. Plus, I had the privilege of driving in the limousine with Arlene Kyl, Mom. And I want you to know that Jon Kyl, United States Senator from Arizona, still listens to his mother. [Laughter] That's a pretty good sign, isn't it?
I want to thank Senator John McCain for his strong leadership in the United States Senate as well. He's a good man, a man of strong character and—[applause]. I appreciate the United States Congressmen who have joined us here today, Congressmen Hayworth and Shadegg and Flake. I'm—and Trent Franks. I enjoy working with these gentlemen. They care a lot about our Nation, and they care a lot about the State of Arizona, and they're doing a fine job in the House of Representatives. We're proud you all are here, and thanks for coming.
Most of all, I want to thank you all for joining to help Jon. You know, you can't win unless you got a base of support. You can't—listen, I, fortunately, had my full of campaigns, but there's nothing like being— walking into a room full of enthusiastic supporters to give you that spirit, to kind of put that wind behind your back. And that's what you're doing for Jon Kyl.
It's not easy to be in the United States Senate in this day and age. It's not easy to represent an important State like Arizona when you have to travel as far as you have to do to get here. And yet, this guy does a lot. He comes back and forth because he cares deeply. And I want to thank you all for standing squarely with him. There's nothing better than somebody who's seeking election than to be able to walk into a ballroom this full of enthusiastic people saying to Jon Kyl loud and clear, "We're not only going to give of our money; we're going to give of our time to get you reelected to the United States Senate."
Look, I don't know how many U.S. Senators there are that like NASCAR. [Laughter] I view that as a pretty good sign, to have a United States Senator who follows NASCAR. It means he's down to earth. He doesn't walk around Washington with a lot of airs like some of them do. He's a commonsense man who understands the values of the people. And that's why I'm proud that he invited me to come, and by the way, it took me no time to say yes.
These are serious times in which we live, and it requires serious, experienced people to deal with the problems that we're confronted with. And the biggest problem we got is, we're still at war. I wish I could report to you we weren't at war, but there's an enemy that still lurks that wants to do harm to the United States of America. And they want to do us harm because we stand squarely for freedom and democracy, and we're not going to change. You see, they can't stand the fact that we allow people to worship freely, or to speak their mind in the public square, or to print articles the way they want to print them in America. They have a different view of the world. They've got this vision of darkness that stifles dissent and stifles the freedoms that many of us take for granted.
They have declared their ambitions loud and clear. Zawahiri, the number-two man in the Al Qaida operation, has made it abundantly clear that they must drive America out of the Middle East, must drive us into an isolated state so that they can expand their totalitarian vision "from Spain to Indonesia"—his words, not mine.
They not only talk war, they declared war by attacking us on September the 11th, 2001, and this country must never forget the lessons. We cannot take our security for granted, and we must stay on the offensive against these killers and bring them to justice before they hurt the American people again. And that's what Senator Jon Kyl clearly understands, and that's another reason why the people of Arizona need to put him back in the United States Senate.
The enemy has made Iraq a central front in this war on terror, so we must take it seriously. We're going to succeed in Iraq. We're going to succeed in Iraq because our vision and the vision of those in Iraq who believe in democracy is positive and hopeful, as opposed to the vision of the suiciders and killers of the innocent. We're going to succeed in Iraq because we've got a plan that will help the Iraqis not only develop a democracy but a security force.
Listen, the Iraqis want to defend themselves. They want to be capable of fighting off an enemy, and our job is to make sure they are capable. We will stay until the job is done, not a day longer. We will get the job done in Iraq.
And Jon Kyl understands that in this war on terror, it's important to have Members of the United States Senate who understand mixed messages and who understand that when we've got a kid in harm's way, that soldier deserves all the very best that the Federal Government can give him in terms of equipment and training and support.
Jon Kyl has been a stalwart in this war on terror, and so has John McCain. And so have members of the United States congressional district. And I'm proud to fight this war side by side with them.
Jon Kyl also understands what history has taught us, that democracies bring the peace we all want; that democracies don't fight with their neighbors; that democracies lay this foundation for a better future. He understands the lessons of history that I understand.
You know, I just recently came off a trip to the Far East. By the way, representing the United States of America around the world is one of the great experiences of the Presidency. And it struck me that I was in a region of the world where there—where wars had started. You know, my dad and Senator McCain's relatives, I'm sure many of your relatives, fought the Japanese. They were our sworn enemy. And yet, there I was in Kyoto, Japan, sitting with my friend Prime Minister Koizumi talking about the peace, talking about what we can do in the Far East to work together to keep the peace, and what we can do in the Middle East to help rid that region of resentment and hatred, to help change the breeding grounds for the recruitment of suiciders into a hopeful place. Isn't that amazing? Think about that. Who would have thought 50 years ago or 60 years ago, a President of the United States could have stood here in Phoenix, Arizona, and said he sat down at the table with the Prime Minister of Japan talking about the peace. Nobody would have thought that way then.
So what happened? Democracy prevailed. Japanese-style democracy came into being, and it yielded an ally. And what we're doing today in Iraq and elsewhere in the broader Middle East is laying that same foundation for peace. Someday, an American President is going to look back and say, "Fifty years ago, fortunately we had leaders in the United States Senate like Jon Kyl who understood that by spreading democracy in the broader Middle East, they were laying the foundations of peace for generations to come." Jon Kyl needs to go back to the United States Senate.
I want to talk about three other things right quick. One, you might remember that right after I came into office, this Nation had to deal with tough economic times. And I proposed and many in the United States Congress supported the idea of making sure we got out of the recession as quickly as possible by letting people keep more of their own money. We believe strongly that if a small-business person has more money to invest, it means more jobs are likely to be created. We believe strongly that if there's reduction in capital gains and dividend taxes, people are more likely to make investments. We believe the death tax is a bad tax. Jon Kyl supported the tax cuts, and he, like me, believes for the sake of economic vitality, we need to make the tax cuts permanent.
And at the same time, he understands we can't waste your money. There's no tougher watchdog for the people's money than Jon Kyl. If people of Arizona want to make sure that the Federal Government doesn't waste your taxpayers' money, you need to send him back to the United States Senate. He's doing a great job when it comes to fiscal sanity in the Halls of the United States Senate.
As Senator McCain mentioned today, the congressional delegation and myself went down to Tucson to talk about immigration. Jon Kyl understands the issue. He understands that we need to secure the border of the United States and is willing to work with the administration to do that. He's been a leader in increasing the number of Border Patrol agents, particularly those here in the State of Arizona. He understands the program of catch-and-release doesn't work, and so he is willing to help fund additional beds to detain non-Mexican illegal immigrants. He understands that we need to have strong worksite enforcement in the United States if we're going to have an immigration plan work.
He understands that border security also means a rational—a temporary-worker plan, so our Border Patrol agents aren't chasing people coming to work; they're chasing criminals and drug lords. Jon Kyl understands clearly that the role of the Federal Government is to enforce the border of the United States of America, which is precisely what we're going to do.
Finally, I want to talk about judges. I remember campaigning here in Arizona— I remember debating here in Arizona—and I remember saying a lot of times in 2000 and 2004, "If you put me in office, I will nominate people for the bench who will strictly interpret the Constitution and not try to become a part of the legislative branch of Government." And those are the kind of judges I put up. And I can't thank Jon Kyl enough for making sure the judges I nominate get a fair hearing and an up-or-down vote on the floor of the United States Senate.
Judge Roberts is going to make a great Chief of the Supreme Court, and Sam Alito is going to make a really fine replacement for Arizonan Sandra Day O'Connor. And Jon Kyl is going to be one of the leaders in making sure that Sam Alito gets confirmed in the United States Senate. And if the people of this State want to make sure that we've got judges on the bench who strictly interpret the Constitution and not legislate from the bench, they need to return Jon Kyl to the United States Senate.
I think you're getting the picture about where my position is on Kyl. I can't thank you enough for letting me come by to put my two cents in for Jon. He is—he's a classy guy. He is really the kind of person that you would hope would be serving you. You don't have to worry about him not telling the truth or doing something that would make you ashamed. He's not that kind of fellow. He's as—his integrity is as strong as it gets. And it seems like to me that when you've got an experienced hand, somebody who knows what he's doing in Washington, DC, somebody who can get the job done for people, somebody who brings integrity and decency to the office, that there's only one logical conclusion. For the sake of the State and for the sake of the country, Jon Kyl needs to be reelected to the United States Senate.
Thanks for coming tonight. May God bless you all.
NOTE: The President spoke at 5:23 p.m. at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa. In his remarks, he referred to Caryll Kyl, wife of Jon Kyl; Ayman Al-Zawahiri, founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and senior Al Qaida associate; and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan.
George W. Bush, Remarks at a Dinner for Senator Jon Kyl in Phoenix, Arizona Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/214094