Richard B. Cheney photo

Remarks by the Vice President at a Fundraiser for Congressional Candidate Greg Davis in Southhaven, Mississippi

May 12, 2008

DeSoto Civic Center
Southaven, Mississippi

5:37 P.M. CDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much. With a welcome like that, it's almost enough to make me want to run for office again. (Applause.) Almost, almost. (Laughter.) But I appreciate your introduction, Mayor Davis, and I want to thank all of you for being here today. It's great to be in DeSoto County, Mississippi, and in the fine city of Southaven. (Applause.) And may I say at the outset that there's no doubt in my mind that Greg Davis will be a winner tomorrow. (Applause.)

I'm delighted to join all of you in supporting this good man's campaign. And I bring the warmest regards to the people of Mississippi from the President of the United States, George W. Bush. (Applause.) And of course, they just had a big weekend in the Bush family. (Laughter.) But the President is back at work today. I saw him this morning. And speaking of the President, I'm proud to note that four years ago, he and I received more votes in Mississippi than any other presidential ticket in the history of the country. (Applause.) We're glad to hold that record. But we won't mind at all if, come November, you set a new one with John McCain for the next President of the United States. (Applause.)

And the whole nation will be making a big decision come November. But there's another election close at hand, right here, right now, in North Mississippi. And it is an important one. In these closing hours, we need to go that extra mile to turn out the vote, and to remind everybody in the First District of what's at stake tomorrow in the voting when they go into the polls. What we need in Washington is a strong conservative congressman from Mississippi -- not another Democrat going to bat for Nancy Pelosi. (Applause.)

And it's an honor to stand here today with some great Mississippi Republicans. Fine leadership is a tradition in this part of the country -- and there's no better example then your governor, Haley Barbour. (Applause.) And in my capacity as Vice President I am the President of the Senate, and I've enjoyed over the years working with your senior Senator -- and come January, I look forward to swearing in Thad Cochran for another term. (Applause.) And of course, we're all proud of Thad's newest colleague, who served this district so ably for more than a dozen years -- Senator Roger Wicker. (Applause.)

I also want to recognize all the other state and local officials who've joined us here today, as well as Jim Herring, Chairman of the Republican Party of Mississippi. And, of course, I want to thank Greg Davis's wife, Suzann, and their family members for being with us. It's great to see all of you. (Applause.)

All of us have come to Southaven for the same reason: We believe Greg Davis is an outstanding Mayor of this city -- and we believe he'll be an outstanding United States congressman. (Applause.)

All of you know Greg as a man of deep experience, common sense and integrity. He's been working on your behalf for a very long time. You sent him to the State Legislature, and you've elected him three times as your Mayor. Under his leadership, Southaven has become a stronger city -- with new jobs coming in and a better quality of life. And he even delivered a municipal tax rebate -- the first ever in the history of Mississippi. (Applause.)

Greg is a successful public servant because he operates according to principle. He believes in limited government, low taxes and spending discipline. He believes law-abiding citizens have the right to live in safety, and to send their children to schools that build both knowledge and character. He believes the great strength of America is found in our values -- hard work, the spirit of enterprise, faith in the Lord, and gratitude for the opportunity to live in the greatest nation on Earth. (Applause.)

It's never been more important to have people of Greg's caliber in our nation's capital. And these are decisive times for America. And whether the issue is the economy, or energy, or national security, the right answers are coming from Republicans -- not from Nancy Pelosi, or Harry Reid, or the rest of the Democratic leadership in Washington. (Applause.)

Right now, with the economy going through a rough patch, some in Washington view it as an excuse for expanding the size and the scope of the federal government. Republicans believe that when Americans are facing tough times, the first thing we should do is let them keep more of their own money. (Applause.)

We moved promptly, on a bipartisan basis, to pass a sensible, effective stimulus package -- up to $600 per person, $1,200 per couple, and $300 per child. It's the right thing to do at the right time for the economy -- and now the checks are on their way to families throughout Mississippi and all across America.

Looking down the road, there's still more important work to do on the subject of taxes. Without action by Congress, much of the tax relief that we have delivered over the past seven years will be taken away. If that happens, the income tax rate for every single taxpayer would go up. For taxpayers in the lowest bracket, the rate would increase by 50 percent. And the child tax credit would drop from $1,000 to $500 per child. The overall effect would be average increases of $1,800 a year in the tax bills of some 116 million Americans.

When you hear presidential candidates and other politicians saying they want to get rid of the Bush tax cuts, what they're promising is a major tax hike for all of our families. And they wouldn't have to move a muscle to do it, because under the law the existing rates simply expire and the old rates will kick back in. So we need Greg Davis in Congress to help make the tax cuts permanent -- and a Republican president to sign them into law. (Applause.)

Americans are concerned about energy as well, because everyone is paying higher prices at the pump. The problem back in Washington is a lot of our Democratic friends, who year after year have stood in the way of more energy production in the United States. Instead, they only have the same old ideas, which do nothing for the energy future of the country. They want to raise taxes on energy produced here at home, and put more government mandates on producers.

The plain truth is we can produce a lot more energy here in America, and we can do it in an environmentally friendly way. It's not just crude oil or natural gas production that's being held up. It's hard to believe, but we have not built a new refinery in the United States in 30 years -- so now we have to import ever higher amounts of refined products like gasoline. President Bush and I believe more of that refining ought to be done right here in the United States, by American refineries, and by American workers. (Applause.)

When you elect Greg Davis, you'll have a congressman who takes the side of the taxpayer against the big spenders. You'll have a congressman who helps make this country less dependent on foreign energy. And above all, ladies and gentlemen, you'll have a congressman who never forgets our number one obligation in government: to protect and defend the people of the United States of America. (Applause.)

Since America was attacked on 9/11 we've had to make a lot of tough decisions about national security. As a result, the enemies of the country have been kept off balance. I don't believe the terrorists put their feet up after 9/11 and said, "Well, let's not hit the United States again." We know they've tried; we know they've failed. They want to hit us, they planned on it. And now we've gone more than six years without another 9/11, and that is no accident. It's an achievement. (Applause.) The credit for that record goes to some very dedicated Americans in intelligence, in law enforcement, and the U.S. military, and to vital new laws and to the strong leadership of the President of the United States.

An important lesson of 9/11 was that we had to stop treating terrorist attacks merely as law enforcement problems -- where you seek out the guilty person, try them and put them in jail. The world changed when a coordinated attack ended the lives of nearly 3,000 Americans at the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon, and on a field in Pennsylvania. As President Bush has made clear many times, we are dealing with a strategic threat to the United States. And we must act systematically and decisively until this enemy is destroyed.

One way we've prevented attacks and saved lives is by monitoring the communications of those who want to harm America. But now the Democratic leaders in the House are dragging their feet on passing a bipartisan Senate bill -- it's already been approved by the Senate by a two-to-one margin. That bill would allow our intelligence professionals to monitor terrorist-related communications here in the United States. We need this law because to stop attacks we have to know who the terrorists are talking to and what they're planning. Failure to pass this law is putting the American people at risk. Send Greg Davis to Washington, and he'll vote to give our intelligence professionals the tools they need to protect the American people. (Applause.)

As we proceed on many fronts, we also recognize that the war on terror is more than a contest of arms, more than a test of will. It's also a battle of ideas. We're hunting down terrorists, and we've taken down brutal dictatorships. But we're also standing by Iraq and Afghanistan, to help them chart their own destiny. If we keep our commitments, those nations can become strategic partners, helping us to fight and win the war on terror.

The enterprise has not been easy, it's not been cheap, and some who professed enthusiasm for sending the troops into Iraq have, over time, lost their desire to support those troops on to victory. In fact, more than a year ago the Democratic leader of the Senate, Harry Reid, said the war is already lost -- and some in Washington seem invested in the notion of American failure. But our troops look at things differently. They know they're doing the right thing. They know there's still tough and dangerous work ahead, and more sacrifices to come. But under the leadership of General Dave Petraeus, events in Iraq have taken a new turn. The troop surge is working. The forces of freedom are winning. (Applause.)

Our new strategy has succeeded by careful planning, and by close attention to changing conditions on the battlefield. The same will be true of any future drawdown in troop levels. On behalf of the President, I can assure you that such a decision will be based on what is right for our security and best for the troops -- without regard to polls, elite opinion, or flip-flops by Washington politicians. (Applause.)

Our strategy is the right strategy. In fact, the only way to lose this fight is to quit -- and that's not going to happen on our watch. (Applause.) If there's one indispensable element in this battle, it is the skill and the character of the men and women fighting it. I spent some days in Iraq recently, and had a chance to speak to several thousand of our troops at Balad Air Base, up north of Baghdad. I especially remember the strong response they gave on one point in particular -- when I said we're going to get this job done right, so that another generation of Americans doesn't have to go back to Iraq and do it again. (Applause.)

John F. Kennedy once said, "There's no way to maintain the frontiers of freedom without cost and commitment and risk." We are learning this lesson once again, in a new century. And we can be proud of our country. This nation is idealistic, good-hearted, generous, and fair. We proclaim high ideals. We serve those ideals -- and even though others may grow tired in the effort, America never does. (Applause.) I believe when the history of this period is written, it will be said that we lived in a safer country and a more hopeful world because George W. Bush was President of these United States. (Applause.)

Neither the President, nor I will have our names on the ballot this year. But we're still focused on the work at hand -- and we know how much this year's elections will matter to the future of this country. And so we'll put our shoulders to the wheel for John McCain, and for excellent congressional candidates like Greg Davis. (Applause.) He's made you proud here at home, and I know he'll make you proud in Washington, D.C. (Applause.) I'm honored to join you in supporting him. The First District is the place, and tomorrow is the day, to make Greg Davis a United States congressman.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

END 5:55 P.M. CDT

Richard B. Cheney, Remarks by the Vice President at a Fundraiser for Congressional Candidate Greg Davis in Southhaven, Mississippi Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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