Remarks at a Georgia Victory 2006 Rally in Statesboro, Georgia
The President. Thank you all very much. Thank you for the warm welcome. It is great to be back in the State of Georgia. It is even better to be here with the next Congressman from this district, Max Burns.
Max knows what it takes to be a United States Congressman because he's done it before. And when you turn out on November 7th, he's going to do it again.
He understands Georgia values because he was born and raised in this district, and he still lives on a family farm outside Sylvania. I've been in Washington long enough to know that it makes sense to have people who live on a family farm, in the Halls of the United States Congress.
I appreciate the fact that Max was a teacher. As a matter of fact, he taught right here at Georgia Southern. I hope he gave a few of the students A's. [Laughter] And for those of you who did get an A, you might as well vote for him. [Laughter] I appreciate the fact that when he was a Member of the United States Congress that he passed key legislation that helped farmers, that helped seniors file their taxes, and helped our public schools recruit more math and science teachers. In other words, he has the record to run on. He's got something to say when he's out on the campaign stop, and he's also got a record to point to. There's no doubt in my mind that Max Burns is the right man to be the United States Congressman.
You know who else agrees with that is Laura. She knows Max and Lora. She likes the Burnses. She likes a man of integrity, like Max Burns. She says, like I'm saying, work hard; turn out the vote; and send this good man back to the United States Congress.
And by the way, when you're out there voting for Max, make sure you send a man who has done a fabulous job as your Governor back to the statehouse, and that's Sonny Perdue. Sonny has got him a pair of boots he can be proud of. By the way, it makes me feel comfortable to be a in a State where your Governor wears cowboy boots. And I know it makes you feel comfortable to live in a State where you got you a Governor who's accomplished and can get the job done.
I'm really pleased that Congressman Charlie Norwood has come over from his United States congressional district to help his friend Max Burns run. Welcome, Charlie Norwood.
And I want to thank the mayor. Mr. Mayor Bill Hatcher, thank you for welcoming us; thank you for being here. I appreciate Perry McGuire, who is the candidate for attorney general, joining us. I know you'll support Perry if you want good law enforcement in your State. And I want to thank Eric Johnson, who is the senate president pro tem. Mr. Senator, thanks for coming; good to see you again. I appreciate Jesse Tyler, president of Georgia Southern University College Republicans, for helping organize this event. I do want to thank the president of Georgia Southern for letting us come as well.
We are 8 days away from the election, and you can bet one thing: We're going to sprint to the finish line. And we need your help. I appreciate you coming out because I know you know what I know: This election is far from over, although there are some people in Washington who already think they know the outcome of the election. Some of them are already picking out their new offices at the Capitol.
Audience members. Boo!
The President. You might remember that around this time in 2004, some of them were picking out their new offices in the West Wing. [Laughter] The movers never got the call. [Laughter] And this November 7th, when our voters show up at the polls, we're going to elect people like Max Burns to the Congress, and we will keep control of the House and the Senate.
We will win this election because Republicans understand the values and priorities of the American people. We will win this election because our priorities and our values do not shift with the latest political opinion poll or focus group. We will win this election because we got a good record to run on.
For decades, our public school system failed too many American children, so we passed the No Child Left Behind Act and demanded that schools show results in return for Federal dollars. Test scores are rising. The achievement gap is beginning to close, and we are bringing America closer to the day when every single child gets a good education.
For decades, America has been growing more dependent on foreign oil, and so we took the lead. We passed a good energy bill that supports conservation and expands domestic production and expands new monies on technology. See, here's what we want—Max Burns wants this, Sonny wants this, and so do I—we want Georgia farmers growing the fuel that will energize our automobiles in the future. When you start running your car on Georgia corn, we'll become less dependent on foreign sources of oil.
For decades, Medicare was an outdated program that wasn't serving our seniors as well as it could, so we passed landmark legislation that modernized the Medicare system. And today, more than 33 million seniors have more choices and access to affordable prescription drugs. And the days of our poor seniors having to choose between medicine and food are over.
For decades, we haven't had complete control over our southern border, and illegal immigration has been on the rise. So I acted. I sent the National Guard troops to help our Border Patrol. We're adding thousands of new Border Patrol agents. We are modernizing our border. We will reform our immigration system, and we will uphold the immigration laws of the United States.
For decades, activist judges have tried to redefine America by court order. Just this last week in New Jersey, another activist court issued a ruling that raises doubt about the institution of marriage. We believe that marriage is a union between a man and a woman and should be defended. And I believe I should continue to appoint judges who strictly interpret the law and not legislate from the bench. America is better off because John Roberts and Sam Alito are serving on the Supreme Court of the United States.
We've got a good record to run on. And with Max Burns back in the United States Congress, we will build on that record.
Now, there are big differences in Washington between Republicans and Democrats. Perhaps the biggest difference are on the two biggest issues that we face: Which party is going to keep your taxes low and keep this economy growing, and which party will take the necessary steps to protect you from terrorist attack?
Let me start with taxes. Max and I have a philosophy: We believe that you know how to spend your money far better than the Federal Government does. We believe that when you have more of your own money in your pocket to save, spend, or invest, the economy benefits. Democrats believe they can spend your money better than you can. So over the past 5 years, we have acted on our philosophy and passed the largest tax relief since Ronald Reagan was in the White House.
In other words, we just didn't talk about philosophy—there's too many philosophers in Washington—we acted. We got the job done. We cut the taxes on everybody who pays income taxes. We doubled the child tax credit. We reduced the marriage penalty. We cut taxes on small businesses. We cut taxes on capital gains and dividends to promote investment and jobs. And to reward family businesses and farmers for a lifetime of hard work and savings, we put the death tax on the road to extinction.
We had a ferocious debate over taxes in Washington. The Democrats in Washington predicted tax cuts wouldn't create jobs, wouldn't increase wages, and would cause the Federal deficit to explode. Well, the facts are in. The truth is, the tax cuts have led to a growing economy that's added 6.6 million new jobs since August of 2003. The truth is, real wages rose 2.2 percent over the past 12 months, and we have cut the deficit in half 3 years ahead of schedule.
Now those Democrats in Washington are making another prediction. They're telling you they're going to win on election day. Well, if their electoral predictions are as reliable as their economic predictions, November 7th is going to be a good day for the Republican Party. [Laughter]
Now, during this campaign, the Washington Democrats really don't want you to know their plans. As a matter of fact, the top Democrat leader in the House made an interesting declaration. She said, "We love tax cuts." But given her record, she must be a secret admirer. [Laughter] She and her party voted against every single one of the tax cuts we passed. She voted against reducing the marriage penalty. She voted against cutting taxes on small businesses. She and her party voted against lowering taxes for families with children. Time and time again, when she and the Democrat Party had an opportunity to show their love for tax cuts, they voted no. If that's the Democrats' idea of love, I sure wouldn't want to see what hate looks like. [Laughter]
See, here's the way it's working in Washington: If we do not make the tax cuts permanent or if the tax cuts are not extended, you're going to get a tax increase. Recently they asked a man who wants to be head of the House Ways and Means Committee, if the Democrats win, what he thinks about extending the tax cuts. He said he couldn't think of one of the tax cuts he would extend. This is what the Washington Democrats are saying about your taxes. He couldn't think of one of the tax cuts we passed that he would leave in place.
And so if you're a small-business person and pay taxes at the income—at the individual income tax rate, it means the Democrats will raise your taxes. If you're a small-business owner who wants to expand and invest in new equipment, the Democrats are going to raise your taxes. If you're a small-business owner who wants to pass your life's work to your children and grandchildren, the Democrats want to raise your taxes. If you're a small-business owner, my advice is, vote for Max Burns.
Now, if you happen to have children, I want to just talk to you about what it means to not extend the tax cut, just like the man who is going to be running the tax committee said he's going to do, not extend the tax. You see, if the child credit doesn't get extended, it means the tax credit gets cut in half from $1,000 per child to $500 per child. So this evening when you're sitting around the table eating dinner and you've got children around your table, just count the number of children you have and multiply it by 500, and that's what the tax increase is going to be. So if you've got four children, four times 500 is 2,000. Your tax bill will go up if the Democrats take control of the House by $2,000. If you got three kids, it's $1,500. It's easy to calculate.
I guess the $2,000 doesn't seem like a lot of money to the people in Washington, DC, but I know it's a lot of money for your family. I know the child tax credit has meant a lot for people working for a living. And therefore, if you want to keep that money in your pocket instead of sending it to Washington, DC, you vote for Republicans on election day.
This election is taking place in an historic time for our country. Our children and grandchildren are going to look back on this period, one question will overwhelm all the rest: Did we do everything in our power to fight and win the war on terror? That's the question people will ask: Did this country do everything in our power to protect you?
We face an enemy that is brutal. They kill innocent people to achieve ideological objectives. They're totalitarian in nature. They hate freedom. We love freedom, and that is why they view us as their enemy. You cannot negotiate with these people. You can't try to talk sense into these people. The best way to protect you is to bring them to justice before they hurt America again.
I understand this is a different kind of war, and so do people in this congressional district need to know it's a different kind of war. I know we've got some vets here, and I want to thank you for serving. But in previous wars, particularly, say, World War II, it mattered how many airplanes you could shoot out of the sky or how much territory an army took. This is a different kind of war. This is a war where people plot and plan in secret and then launch lethal attacks, which means our professionals need to have all the tools necessary to protect you. You see, the challenge facing the United States is that we have to be right one time—I mean 100 percent of the time, and the enemy has to be right one time, in order to protect you.
And so when I found out there was laws preventing the intelligence community from talking to the enforcement community, I asked Congress to pass the PATRIOT Act to tear down those walls so our folks had the tools necessary to protect you. I believe that if Al Qaida or an Al Qaida associate is making a phone call from outside the United States to inside the United States, we need to know why in order to be able to protect you.
This is a different kind of war that requires us to get good intelligence in order to protect the American people. That's why I asked the CIA to develop a program that would question detainees that we picked up off the battlefield about what they know.
Now let me give you an example. We captured a fellow named Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The intelligence community believes he was the man who mastermind the September the 11th attacks. I thought it made sense—if our most important job is to protect you, it made sense to find out what Khalid Sheikh Mohammed knew. In other words, we've been giving the professionals the tools necessary to defend America in this new kind of war.
And recently there were votes in the floor of the House of Representatives, in the floor of the United States Senate to provide these critical tools. In other words, Congress voted on these tools. And I want everybody in this district and in this State and around the country to understand those votes, because they were critical votes. And it shows the difference of attitude between the two parties and the leaders in the two parties about our responsibility to protect you.
When it came time to renew the PATRIOT Act, more than 75 percent—75 percent—of the House Democrats voted against it. When it came time to vote on whether or not the CIA continue its program to detain and question captured terrorists, almost 80 percent of the House Democrats voted against it. They just have a different point of view. They don't see it the way I see it or the way you see it. Otherwise, why wouldn't they give the professionals the tools necessary to protect you? When it came time to vote on whether the National Security Agency should continue to monitor terrorist communications, almost 90 percent of the House Democrats voted against it. In all these vital measures for fighting the war on terror, the Democrats just follow a simple philosophy: Just say no.
When it comes to listening to the terrorists, what's the Democrats' answer? It's, just say no. When it comes to detaining terrorists, what is the Democrats' answer? Just say no. When it comes to questioning terrorists, what's the Democrats' answer?
Audience members. Just say no!
The President. When it comes to trying the terrorists, what's the Democrats' answer?
Audience members. Just say no!
The President. So when the Democrats ask for your vote, what's your answer?
Audience members. Just say no!
We're going to continue to make sure our professionals have the tools necessary to protect you, and you can count on Max Burns's vote.
One of the lessons of September the 11th, 2001, is that when this country sees a threat, we must take those threats seriously before they come home to hurt us. I saw a threat in Saddam Hussein. Members of both political parties in the United States Congress saw a threat in Saddam Hussein. The United Nations saw a threat in Saddam Hussein. Getting rid of Saddam Hussein was the right decision, and the world is better off.
And now Iraq is the central front in this global war against these ideologues who murder innocent people to achieve their objectives. You know, I think it's very important for the Commander in Chief, as well as our citizens, to listen to the words of the enemy. You know, in Washington, you hear people say, "Well, Iraq is just a distraction from the war on terror." I believe it is a central part of the war on terror. And so does Usama bin Laden. Usama bin Laden calls this fight the third world war. He says victory for the terrorists in Iraq will mean America's defeat and disgrace forever.
They have made it clear they want to create as much carnage and death as possible to cause us to leave before the job is done. They have ambitions: They want to topple moderate governments; they want to control oil to blackmail the West; they want us to leave and dash the hopes and aspirations of millions of people who want to live in peace. And we have a different point of view.
I want you to hear the words of a senior Democrat in the House of Representatives. She said, "The President says fighting them there makes it less likely we will fight them here. The opposite is true," she said, "Because we are fighting them there, it may become more likely that we have to fight them there."
Here's what this person and the leaders of the Democrat Party in Washington seem to not understand: Iraq is not the reason the terrorists are at war against us. I would remind the House Democrats, our troops were not in Iraq when the terrorists first attacked the World Trade Center in 1993. We were not in Iraq when they bombed the USS Cole or the Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. And we were not in Iraq when they killed nearly 3,000 people on September the 11th, 2001.
You do not create terrorists by fighting the terrorists. The best way to protect you, the best way to protect the American people is to stay on the offense and defeat them overseas so we do not have to face them here at home.
Our goal in Iraq is victory. Victory in Iraq will come when that young democracy can sustain itself and govern itself and defend itself and be a strong ally in the war against the terrorists. The fighting in Iraq is tough, and I understand it's tough, and you know it's tough, and so does the enemy. They have no conscience. They kill innocent men, women, and children. They film the atrocities. They broadcast them for the world to see. They offer no hopeful vision. The only thing they know is death and destruction, but they hope these violent images will cause us to lose our nerve.
They make a big mistake. They do not understand the true strength of the United States of America. We don't run in the face of thugs and assassins. We will defend ourselves. We will defeat them. We will defeat them because our commanders on the ground have all the flexibility necessary to make sure that we constantly stay ahead of the enemy. We'll defeat them because we've got a fantastic United States military. And I know I can count on Max Burns. And I know you can count on Max Burns and I can count on Max Burns by making sure our troops have all that is necessary to do their job to defend the United States.
We will succeed in Iraq because the Iraqis want to live in a peaceful society. Nearly 12 million defied car bombers and assassins and terrorists and went to vote. They held up their purple ink-stained fingers, saying to the world, "We want to be free." And they got a unity Government that is working hard to repel the extremists who are preventing them. I believe strongly that with our help, they will be able to defend themselves. And I believe strongly that they'll become a government of the people and by the people and for the people. As a matter of fact, I believe the only way we cannot succeed is if we leave before the job is done.
And when you listen to this debate— and it's raging across the country, this debate on Iraq—if you listen carefully for a Democrat plan for success, they don't have one. Iraq is the central front in the war on terror, yet they don't have a plan for victory.
Last week, a Senator, Democrat Senator explained her party's position this way. She said, "We haven't coalesced around a single plan, but we're in general agreement on basic principles." She's right; the agree-ment—they are in agreement on one thing—they will leave before the job is done. That's what they're in agreement on. They've come up with a lot of creative ways to describe leaving Iraq before the job is done. Sometimes they say, immediate redeployment. Sometimes they say they wouldn't spend another dime on our troops. Sometimes they say, the idea that we're going to win this war is an idea that, unfortunately, is just plain wrong. However they put it, the Democrat approach in Iraq comes down to this: The terrorists win, and America loses.
That's what's at stake in this election. The Democrat goal is to get out of Iraq. The Republican goal is to win in Iraq.
I'm not saying these Democrats are unpatriotic; I'm just saying they're wrong. You cannot win a war unless you're willing to fight the war. Retreat from Iraq before the job is done would embolden the enemy and make us more vulnerable to attack. Retreat would allow the terrorists to gain a new safe haven from which to plot and plan, just like they had in Afghanistan. Retreat would enable the enemy to be more able to recruit. Retreat would say to people in the Middle East, you can't count on America. It would say to those folks desperate to live in freedom and peace, we no longer care or hear your cries. Defeat would dishonor the sacrifice of the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States of America. The consequences of retreat from Iraq will be felt for generations.
I want the folks all throughout America to envision a Middle East where extremism are battling for power, moderate governments are toppled, oil is controlled to use for blackmail, and a country has a nuclear weapon. If that were to happen, people would look back at the year 2006 and ask, "What happened to them? How come those folks couldn't see the threat? How come they couldn't see the danger for a generation of Americans who were growing up?" I want you to know, I see the threat. I see the danger. That is why we will support our troops. We will fight, and we will win in Iraq.
I want to share with you right quick a history lesson; at least, I see it as history; after all, we're on a college campus. [Laughter] It's the power of freedom. You know, recently I went to—with the former Prime Minister of Japan—he was sitting Prime Minister of Japan then—down to Elvis's place. Memphis, Tennessee—I don't know if you've ever been there or not, but—[applause]—yes, you have? Well, I liked going there. It was interesting. And he really wanted to go there because he liked Elvis. [Laughter]
But I wanted to tell an interesting story. It's a story about a Navy fighter pilot who, at the age of 18, volunteered, and he said, "I want to serve my country because the Japanese have just attacked us." You've got relatives who did the same thing. You've got a grandfather or a father, like I got, who said, "I want to fight the Japanese." They were the sworn enemy. Thousands of people lost their lives. This country went to war against an enemy which attacked us.
You know what's interesting? On the way down from Washington to Memphis, Tennessee, right there on Air Force One, Prime Minister Koizumi—the Prime Minister of the former enemy of the United States of America—and I discussed the peace. We talked about the fact that this country had 1,000 troops in Iraq to defend the young democracy. He knows what I know: We're in an ideological struggle between people who hate and people who have hope. We've been through ideological struggles before. Freedom wins every time, if we don't lose our nerve.
And that's the lesson I learned from my friend Prime Minister Koizumi. It's amazing what has happened between when 18-year-old fighter pilot George H.W. Bush fought this—fought the enemy, and his son is talking about keeping the peace with the same country. And the lesson is, liberty has got the capacity to change enemies into allies. And my citizens, liberty has got the capacity to turn regions of hate to regions of hope. Liberty has got the capacity to yield the peace we want.
Someday an American President will be sitting down with duly elected leaders talking about the—duly elected leaders from the Middle East talking about the peace, and generation of Americans will be better off for it.
And so these are the stakes in this election. It's an important election year. And I know Max Burns joins me in saying, thanks for coming out. Thanks for giving me a chance to share what's on my heart and where I want to lead this country. And I thank you for getting ready—for doing what you're fixing to do, which is to go out of this hall and find fellow Republicans and discerning Democrats and reasonable independents and remind them that if they want more money in their pocket, you vote Republican. And if you want this country to do everything we can to protect you from further attack and lay the foundations for peace, you vote Republican.
I'm proud you've come today. May God bless you, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.
NOTE: The President spoke at 11:07 a.m. at Georgia Southern University. In his remarks, he referred to Lora Burns, wife of Max Burns, candidate for Congress in Georgia's 12th Congressional District; Mayor William S. Hatcher II of Statesboro, GA; Bruce Grube, president, Georgia Southern University; former President Saddam Hussein of Iraq; and Usama bin Laden, leader of the Al Qaida terrorist organization.
George W. Bush, Remarks at a Georgia Victory 2006 Rally in Statesboro, Georgia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/271011