Remarks at a Luncheon for Representative Marilyn N. Musgrave in Denver, Colorado
Thank you all. Thanks for the warm welcome. Thanks for the invitation, Marilyn. I am here because Marilyn Musgrave is a great Congresswoman, and she deserves to be reelected to the United States Congress.
And I want to thank you all for coming to support her. I want to remind you, it's one thing to support a person with your hard-earned wages; it's another thing to support a person with your time and efforts. So when the time comes, I hope you're dialing the phones and knocking on the doors and helping defeat the special interests that are trying to drive her out of office.
I appreciate Marilyn because she's a hard worker. You know, some of them get up to Congress, and they take it easy, take things for granted—not this Congressperson. She's home in her district because she cares about the people of Colorado. I know she cares about the people of Colorado because every time I see her, she says, "I want to remind you about the values that are important in Colorado." [Laughter]
She's not only a hard worker; she brings commonsense values to Washington, DC. And that's a town that needs some commonsense values. In order to keep this country safe, in order to keep this country strong, we need people like Marilyn Musgrave in the United States Congress.
By the way, Laura agrees with me. [Laughter] I'd like us to hang around for lunch, but I've got to head back to Washington and have dinner with her—and my mother and dad, by the way, who send their love as well to the Congresswoman.
I'm proud to have traveled from the airport not only with your great Governor, Bill Owens—it's great to see you, Governor; thanks for being here—but with Marilyn's husband, Steve. As a matter of fact, I've met so many Musgraves today—[laughter]—that if they all lived in the district, it would be a landslide. [Laughter] Nothing like somebody in the Congress who loves her family and who understands the importance of family values, and that's Marilyn Musgrave.
Not only do we have the Governor here, we got the Lieutenant Governor, Jane Norton. Thanks for coming, Governor—both Governors. Proud you're here. Mark Hillman, the treasurer, is here; a lot of State and local officials. Thanks for coming. It's good to see my friend the Congressman, Bob Beauprez, and Claudia. Thanks for coming, Mr. Congressman.
I had the privilege of saying hello to former Senator Armstrong and his wife, Ellen. It's good to see the Senator. It looks like he's doing pretty good. Retirement hasn't been all that difficult on him, and nor has it been rough on former Congressman Schaffer as well.
But most of all, I want to thank you all for working hard to get this good person back in Congress. We got a lot to do up there. These are extraordinary times that we live in. We're at war. I wish I could report to the people of Colorado the war was over; it's not. There's an enemy still out there that wants to inflict harm on the United States of America because of what we believe in.
We believe in the freedom of people to worship and speak their mind, the freedom of the press to print what they want. They believe in the opposite. They have a dark vision of the world. They have made their intentions clear. They want to establish a totalitarian empire that stretches from Spain to Indonesia. And one way for them to accomplish their objective is to drive us out of the Middle East, is to cause America to become isolated. It's not going to happen on my watch.
One of the reasons I'm proud to stand here with Marilyn is she understands the stakes as well. It's important to have a— somebody from the United States Congress from that district, from her district, who understands that on September the 11th, 2001, an enemy declared war on the United States of America, and we must do everything in our power to protect the American people.
This is an enemy that has declared their intentions in Iraq. They've got one weapon, by the way. Their ideology is so dark, nobody believes in it except for a handful, but they've got the capacity to kill innocent people and have those images on the TV screens around the world, all attempting to shake our will and to get us to retreat. They have stated openly their desire to do to Iraq what they did to Afghanistan, to convert that country into a safe haven so they can plan, plot, and attack. We will defeat the enemy in Iraq. We will do our job to protect the American people.
The stakes are high, and it's important to have Members of the United States Congress who understand that. Marilyn Musgrave understands that we're in a time of war. And in a time of war, it's important to support those who wear the uniform, the men and women who are courageous enough to volunteer for the United States military. Marilyn is a strong supporter for our troops, and that's important.
Marilyn also understands what I know, is that we've got a strategy for victory in Iraq. On the one hand, we'll help this good country develop into a democracy, and it's happening. Think about what's happened in such a brief period of time. You might compare it with our own history, which was a little rocky getting to our own constitutional process. In 2 1/2 years, that country has gone from a totalitarian dictator, who is an enemy of the United States, to a transitional government to the ratification of a constitution and, in 2 weeks' time, elections to elect a Government to serve the people for 4 years. Democracy is on the march in Iraq.
And at the same time, we're training the Iraqi troops so they can take the fight to the enemy. The Iraqis are becoming more and more capable of doing that which they want to do, which is secure their own country against terrorists and Saddamists. Listen, these people—the mothers in Iraq are like the mothers here in Colorado. They want to raise their child in a free and peaceful society, and they've got citizens willing to sacrifice for that free and peaceful society.
Oh, I know there's some in Washington that have said, "Get out of Iraq now." They're wrong. Precipitous withdrawal of our troops would send the wrong signal to our own troops, send the wrong signal to the enemy, and send the wrong signal to people around the world who watch the these good Border Patrol agents do their job down there.
We're going to stop catch-and-release by expanding the number of detention beds. We got people working hard down there. They're finding people trying to sneak into the country, and sure enough, shortly after they get detained, they're back in society again. And so we're going to increase the amount of detention space and work on expedited removal. We're also going to do a better job of enforcing worksite rules here in the United States of America.
Finally, I feel strongly that in order to have a good and secure border, we got to differentiate between those who are here to work and those who are here to bring criminal—to provide—to do criminal activities. Listen, we got people coming into this country to do the jobs Americans won't do. It seems like to me it makes sense to have a willing worker be able to work with a willing employer on a temporary basis.
I stand strongly against amnesty. Amnesty sends the wrong message. Amnesty would say to other illegal aliens, "Come, and you can come into America and get citizenship automatically." No, I'm for a bill that strengthens our border by providing people with a tamper-proof identity card to let them work in America for jobs Americans won't do, on a temporary basis, and then go back to their country. And I'm looking forward to working with Marilyn on rational border control policy, and I think we can get something done.
I'm also proud of the fact that she stands up for values that she thinks important. It's really important for the United States of America to promote a culture of life, to be a welcoming society, to recognize the value of each person. Marilyn is a strong supporter of developing a culture of life. And she's a strong supporter of the sanctity of marriage. We supported a constitutional amendment to make sure that activist judges do not redefine traditional marriage. And I'm proud of your support of that important piece of legislation, Marilyn. And the people of this district ought to send her back to Washington, DC, because she shares the same values as most people in Colorado.
So, in summary, send her back. [Laughter] She's doing a fine job. You know, when you find somebody who's honest and upright, somebody who speaks her mind, somebody who's willing to take a tough position regardless of all the noise around, seems like to me that it makes a lot of sense to keep her in the United States Congress. I'm proud to be here today to support a good person, a good family person, good God-fearing person, somebody who is doing a fine job for the people of Colorado, and somebody who will do—continue to do a great job for the people of Colorado.
Thanks for letting me come by to say hello. Marilyn, I'm proud to be on your side. God bless you all.
NOTE: The President spoke at 1:24 p.m. at the Comfort Inn Downtown. In his remarks, he referred to Gov. Bill Owens, Lt. Gov. Jane E. Norton, and State Treasurer Mark Hillman of Colorado; Claudia Beauprez, wife of Representative Bob Beauprez of Colorado; former Senator William L. Armstrong of Colorado and his wife, Ellen; former Representative Robert W. Schaffer of Colorado; former President Saddam Hussein of Iraq; and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan.
George W. Bush, Remarks at a Luncheon for Representative Marilyn N. Musgrave in Denver, Colorado Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/214123