George W. Bush photo

Remarks in Southaven, Mississippi

November 01, 2003

Thank you all. Thanks for coming. I'm honored to be here. I'm honored to be here with the next Governor of the State of Mississippi, Haley Barbour. It is great to be in northern Mississippi. I'm proud to be here with a lot of friends.

You know, I woke up in Crawford this morning. I said to First Lady Bush, I said, "I don't know if I'm going to be able to find the energy to be able to make it through a long day." You know, I'm kind of getting up in years and—[laughter]—and here I come to northern Mississippi, where thousands of our fellow citizens are here. You've energized me. I'm thrilled to be here. Thanks for coming.

I appreciate you coming. I appreciate you coming. Haley and I married above ourselves. I'm thrilled that the next first lady of Mississippi is with us today, and that's Marsha. And Laura sends her love. I'm sorry she's not with me. She's been a fabulous First Lady for our country.

I've known Haley for quite a while. He used to run in high circles. I guess in this part of the world, you say he used to pick high cotton. [Laughter] But one thing about him, no matter how high the circle he ran in, he always loved to talk about Mississippi. He's proud of this State, and that's the kind of Governor you need, somebody who will relate to people from all walks of life. One of the things about his campaign that I like a lot is, Haley is proud to be a Republican, but he also wants to be the Governor of Democrats and independents. He's reaching out. He understands his job is to represent everybody when he gets to be the Governor in three days.

I like the fact that he's an optimist. He's got a positive view for the great State of Mississippi. He believes in the great potential of the great State of Mississippi. That's the kind of Governor you want, somebody who sees a positive future for every single citizen. That Governor is Haley Barbour.

I like the fact that Haley Barbour is a man of good values. He honors his family. He treasures his relationship with the Almighty. He believes in hard work. He believes everybody has worth. It's these kind of values that are necessary to have in your statehouse here in Mississippi. I'm proud to stand with this man. Haley Barbour is the right man to lead the State of Mississippi.

And in order to have this good man lead the State of Mississippi, he needs your help. We're coming down to voting time here in Mississippi. It's time to make sure that people get the message that you've got a good man in Haley Barbour. That means you need to go out and find your neighbors, Republicans, Democrats, independents, people who don't care about political parties at all, to get to the polls. Remind them they have a duty as a citizen of this free country to vote. And once you get them headed to the polls, make sure they do what's in the best interests of the State of Mississippi and vote for Haley Barbour.

I'm so thankful that we've got a great United States Senator with us today, a man who is a leader on the floor of the United States Senate, a strong ally of mine, a great friend of the people of Mississippi, and that's Senator Thad Cochran. As well another fine Representative for the State of Mississippi in Washington, DC, a man who's done a great job in the United States Congress, friend and ally, and that would be Congressman Roger Wicker.

I had the honor of welcoming some Mississippi citizens to Washington a while ago, and one of the citizens that came was a courageous politician, a leader who didn't do the politically expedient thing but decided that she would find a home in a different political party, somebody who stood by her convictions, somebody who said, "Principle matters a lot to me," and that's the next Lieutenant Governor of the State of Mississippi, Amy Tuck.

I know we've got a lot of other statewide candidates here. When you get in that booth for Haley and Amy, make sure you remember Phil Bryant, Julio Del Castillo, Scott Newton, Max Phillips, Tate Reeves, all fine candidates running for statewide office.

Not only should people vote for Haley because he's so pretty to look at—[laughter]—well—[laughter]—he's got the right issues. He knows what he's talking about when it comes to the issues. He knows when people in Mississippi are looking for work, you better have a progrowth policy for the State of Mississippi.

We share the same philosophy. First of all, we're concerned about people looking for work, and secondly, we know that in order to get an economy growing, you've got to do two things: You must have fiscal discipline in the statehouses around the country. Haley Barbour knows how to manage a budget. Haley Barbour will be wise with the taxpayers' money in the State of Mississippi.

I know where Haley stands because when I stood up in front of the Congress and the country and advocated a progrowth policy for our economy, he was strong by my side. I said this, I said, "If people have more money in their pockets, they're more likely to demand a good or a service. And when somebody demands a good or a service in our economy, somebody will produce a good or a service. And when somebody produces the good or a service, it means somebody is more likely to find a job." The tax cuts we passed came at the right time.

Haley Barbour also understands that in order for your economy to grow, you better make sure you've got a legal system that is fair, a legal system that isn't dominated by the plaintiff's bar, a legal system that doesn't have so many frivolous lawsuits that it makes it hard for people to find a job. You better have you a Governor who's willing to stand up to the trial attorneys and have medical liability reform, so that people can get good health care in the State of Mississippi.

I appreciate the fact that Haley Barbour has set as a priority the education of every child in the State of Mississippi. I used to like to say when I was in Texas, education is to a State what national defense is to the Federal Government, the number one priority. Haley Barbour understands that every child must be educated in the State of Mississippi. He stands strong with the teachers of Mississippi. He stands on the side of the parents of Mississippi. He wants to challenge the soft bigotry of low expectations by raising the bar for every single child.

Finally, I appreciate the fact that Haley Barbour not only has supported me on this issue I'm about to talk about but is willing to do—have his own version of a faith-based initiative here in the State of Mississippi. And he understands what I know, that some of the problems in our society are problems of the heart, that while Government can hand out money, Government cannot put hope in a person's heart or a sense of purpose—[applause]. No, the great strength of America lies in the hearts and souls of our fellow citizens. And you need a Governor who is willing to rally the armies of compassion.

We should never have the state fund the church, or the church try to be the state. But what we should have is States and the Federal Government willing to empower those who have heard the universal call to love a neighbor just like we'd like to be loved ourselves. We need mentors for our children. We need people to help the homeless. We need to help the addicted. And faith-based programs work.

It's also been helpful to have a friend like Haley who supported me and others in Washington, DC, to make sure that Mississippi judges get a fair hearing. I've named some good people to serve on the Federal bench, people who will use the bench to interpret the law and not try to write law. I want to thank Senator Cochran and Senator Lott and, of course, Haley for standing strong with a nominee I named from Mississippi, Charles Pickering. I stand strong with Judge Pickering, and it's time for some Members of the United States Senate to stop playing politics with American justice.

I look forward to working with Haley to make sure that the State of Mississippi has got what's needed to protect the homeland. You've got valuable ports that need to—we need to work on to make sure that nobody comes and harms any of our fellow citizens. I look forward to working with him to make sure that the resources we're spending out of Washington for those on the frontline of homeland security are well-coordinated and well-spent. I look forward to making sure our police forces and firefighters and emergency-response teams are well-coordinated between the Federal Government and the State government and the local governments. Haley would be a good leader when it comes to working on homeland security matters.

But I want to remind you that the best way to protect the homeland is to hunt down the enemy, one by one, and bring them to justice. The terrorists declared war on the United States of America, and war is what they got. This country will not rest; we will not tire; we will do what it takes to remove this danger from civilization and make America secure.

For those of you who have got relatives in the United States military, I want to thank you. And you make sure you send word to them that their Commander in Chief is incredibly proud of the sacrifices they're making on behalf of our Nation.

And I also want you to know that I understand that the best way to secure America is to advance human liberty. Free nations do not attack their neighbors. Free nations do not develop weapons of mass terror. The United States of America strongly believes that freedom is the right of every single person, that freedom is not America's gift to the world, that freedom is the Almighty's gift to every person who lives in this world. With the advance of human freedom, the world will be more peaceful, and America will be more secure.

We've overcome a lot of challenges in the last 2 1/2 years, and there will be other challenges. And in my judgment, the best way for Mississippi to deal with the challenges you face is to make sure you put a Governor in place who's optimistic and hopeful, somebody who can unite this State to get people pulling in the same direction, somebody who firmly believes in his heart of hearts that Mississippi "can do better." And that person and that leader is the next Governor of the State of Mississippi, Haley Barbour.

NOTE: The President spoke at 10:08 a.m. at the DeSoto Civic Center. In his remarks, he referred to gubernatorial candidate Haley Barbour and his wife, Marsha; Amy Tuck, incumbent candidate for Lieutenant Governor; Phil Bryant, incumbent candidate for State auditor of public accounts; Julio Del Castillo, candidate for Mississippi secretary of state; Scott Newton, candidate for State attorney general; Max Phillips, candidate for State commissioner of agriculture and commerce; Tate Reeves, candidate for State treasurer; and Charles W. Pickering, Sr., nominee to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Fifth Circuit.

George W. Bush, Remarks in Southaven, Mississippi Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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