Remarks by the Vice President at a Victory 2004 Rally
Rosemount Community Center
10:04 A.M. CDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, good morning, and thank you for that great welcome. We're delighted to be back in the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes – one of the most beautiful parts of America. And from what I see here today, it looks to me like Minnesota is Bush-Cheney country. (Applause.)
An d it is true Lynne has known me since I was 14 years old, but she wouldn't go out with me until I was 17. (Laughter.) But I often tell people we got married because Dwight Eisenhower got elected President of the United States. (Laughter.) Because in those years, I was a youngster living in Lincoln, Nebraska with my folks. Dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service. Eisenhower got elected, reorganized the government, Dad got transferred to Casper, Wyoming. And that's where I met Lynne. We grew up together, went to high school together, and recently celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. (Applause.) I explained to a group the other day if it hadn't been for Eisenhower's tremendous victory, Lynne would have married somebody else. (Laughter.) She said, right, and now he'd be Vice President of the United States. (Laughter.)
Well, the President was campaigning yesterday in Pennsylvania. Today, he'll be in Ohio and Florida, as well. Yesterday his opponent, John Kerry, went duck hunting. (Applause.)
The Senator bought a brand new camouflage jacket for the occasion -- which did make me wonder how regularly he does go goose hunting. (Laughter.) My personal opinion is that this new camo jacket is an October disguise. (Laughter and applause.) It's part of an effort he's making to hide the fact that he votes against gun-owner rights at every turn.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: But, fellow sportsmen, this cover-up isn't going to work because you and I know the Second Amendment is more than a photo opportunity. (Applause.)
With 11 days left in the campaign, the choices in the election could not be more clear. The stakes are very high, both at home and abroad. And I believe on November 2nd, the American people are going to make George W. Bush President for four more years. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: All right. (Laughter.) I want to thank your congressman, John Kline, for being here this morning, and for his kind words. (Applause.) I had the privilege some years ago of hosting a fundraiser for John in one of his early races for Congress. And being there now and watching him work as a new member of the House of Representatives, he does a superb job not only representing this district, but the basic, fundamental interests of the American people. And I know he's going back to Washington. (Applause.)
Both the President and I have been to Minnesota many times over the last few years. We appreciate the strong support we have throughout the state – from the cities, to the farms, to the Iron Range, all the way to the Canadian border. The state is filled with hard-working, patriotic, independent-minded people. You've also got a fine leadership tradition, and I want to thank you, the voters of Minnesota, for sending Norm Coleman to the United States Senate. (Applause.) And although he couldn't be here with us today, I want to acknowledge Tim Pawlenty's superb leadership as governor of the state of Minnesota. (Applause.)
Minnesota voters understand the importance of steady, principled, consistent leadership in the White House. This is no ordinary time for America, and the last three-and-a-half years have brought some serious challenges our way. We are meeting every one of those challenges with strength and resolve. Today, people in Minnesota and across the land can be confident of a better future; a stronger economy; and a nation that's more secure, thanks to the character and the leadership of our President, George W. Bush. (Applause.)
In the final presidential debate last week, I think people watching saw very clearly the character and the vision of our President. He's a man of loyalty and kindness who speaks plainly and means what he says. He sets clear goals, and works with members of both parties to achieve them. He puts the country first and his deepest commitment is to making us safer, more prosperous, and more secure.
You saw something quite different in the President's opponent. You saw a man who will say and do anything if he thinks it will advance his cause. Now, of course -- you're free to express yourselves. (Laughter.) Of course, this is nothing new. A year ago this past weekend, John Kerry turned his back on the troops he had earlier voted to send into combat --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: -- because he thought it was to his political interest to do so. Senator Kerry, remember, voted in favor of using force to oust Saddam Hussein, but then during the Democratic primary when it came time to vote for funds that would provide our fighting men and women with the body armor, ammunition, jet fuel, and spare parts, Senator Kerry voted "no."
THE VICE PRESIDENT: He offered an explanation which, frankly, I think will go down in the history of American politics, saying, quote, "I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it."
AUDIENCE: Flip-flop! Flip-flop! Flip-flop!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: But the real reason he turned his back on the troops was Howard Dean. Dean was the antiwar candidate and Dean was surging ahead in the polls, and so John Kerry, in order to advance himself in the Democratic primary, turned his back on the troops. He said his vote was "complicated," but, my friends, supporting American troops in combat should never be a complicated matter. (Applause.)
John Kerry will say and do anything in order to get elected. He will attack the Patriot Act -- after he voted for it. He will attack the No Child Left Behind Act -- after he voted for it. He will try to scare young people by raising the specter of the draft ?- when he knows the only people who have supported the idea of bringing it back are two members of his own party. Nobody but a couple of Democrats wants to change the all-volunteer force -- because it's the finest military the world has ever known. (Applause.)
John Kerry also tries to scare seniors by saying their Social Security is threatened. He knows this President has guaranteed Social Security benefits will be there for our seniors, but Senator Kerry will say and do anything, including making false charges that he knows to be false.
We're getting to the good part. (Laughter.) Most of all, John Kerry will say and do anything to disguise his 20-year Senate record, because it clearly shows him to be an out-of-the-mainstream, tax-and-spend, soft-on-defense liberal.
On the campaign trail Senator Kerry talks about helping families with middle-class tax cuts, covering over the fact that when President Bush increased the child tax credit, and reduced the marriage penalty, and provided a new 10-percent bracket, Senator Kerry opposed it. All these measures leave more hands in the money -- leave more money in the hands of the taxpayers who earned it, but Senator Kerry voted "no."
THE VICE PRESIDENT: The Senator doesn't mention these details, so we'll have to do it for him. (Laughter and applause.) John Kerry voted to raise taxes 98 times; voted against tax reductions at least 126 times; and he voted to break the budget caps that control spending 277 times.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Senator Kerry has earned a special distinction in Congress. The nonpartisan National Journal Magazine analyzed his record and named him the most liberal member of the United States Senate. Because of John Kerry, Ted Kennedy is the conservative senator from Massachusetts. (Laughter and applause.)
John Kerry is trying to hide all that, making promises he can't keep about health care and being totally deceitful when it comes to medical liability reform. He says he has a plan to reform the medical liability system, but you know what his plan is? Put the trial lawyers in charge.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: President Bush has a better idea: Let's keep medical decisions in the hands of doctors and patients, not personal injury lawyers. (Applause.)
The record John Kerry is trying hardest of all to hide is his record on national security. He first ran for Congress advocating the idea that we should deploy American troops only under the authority of the United Nations.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: He ran for the Senate on the platform that we should dismantle most of the major weapons systems that Ronald Reagan used to keep the peace and win the Cold War.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: In 1991, when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and stood poised to dominate the Persian Gulf, John Kerry voted against sending American troops to expel him. He voted against Operation Desert Storm.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: In the first debate, this year, Senator Kerry said that America had to meet some kind of "global test" before we could take military action.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: The President and I know better than that. We know that it is not our job to conduct international opinion polls. Our job is to defend America. (Applause.)
John Kerry is now trying to back off his idea of a "global test." It's a notion, though, that fits his whole career ?- but he doesn't want us to know about his whole career. He is trying to hide it, to cover it up by using a little tough talk during the course of the campaign. But you can't do it. It won't work. As we like to say in Wyoming, you can put all the lipstick you want on a pig, but at the end of the day it will still be a pig. (Applause.) I love that line. (Laughter.)
John Kerry does not have the judgment or the conviction that America needs in a President. He is not a steadfast leader. Our President is. And let me tell you why that matters. A country can never know what a President will be called upon to do. Think of the last four years. Think of the challenges after the attacks on 9/11 and the global war on terror. And because our President is a man of strong character and steadfast determination, he has led us very well. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: At the Republican Convention, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani told the story of how in New York on the morning of 9/11, he turned to Bernie Kerik, his police commissioner, and said, "Thank God, George Bush is our Commander-in-Chief." (Applause.)
Under the President's leadership, we have reached around the world to capture or kill thousands of al Qaeda. In Afghanistan, the camps where terrorists trained to kill Americans have been shut down; the Taliban driven from power. (Applause.) In Iraq, we dealt with a gathering threat, and removed the regime of Saddam Hussein. (Applause.) Nineteen months ago, he controlled the lives of 25 million people. Today, he sits in jail. (Applause.)
We are also helping the people of Iraq and Afghanistan build representative governments. In Afghanistan, 10 million people registered to vote, nearly half of them women. Elections were held two weeks ago tomorrow – the first in the 5,000-year history of that country. (Applause.) In January, the people of Iraq will vote, as well. The world is better as these countries move towards self-government. And we are safer. Freedom, we know, is the best antidote to terrorism. (Applause.)
Because of President Bush's determination in the war on terror, leaders around the world are getting the message. Just five days after Saddam Hussein was captured, Colonel Moammar Ghadafi, the leader of Libya, agreed to abandon his nuclear weapons program and turn the materials over to the United States. (Applause.)
The biggest danger we face today is having nuclear weapons technology fall into the hands of terrorists. The President is working with many countries on a global effort to end the trade and transfer of these deadly technologies. The most important result thus far is that the black-market network that supplied nuclear weapons technology to Libya, as well as to Iran and North Korea, has been shut down. And the world is safer as a result. (Applause.)
We could not have succeeded in these efforts without the help of dozens of countries around the world. We will always seek international support for international efforts, but as President Bush has made very clear, there is a difference between leading a coalition of many nations and submitting to the objections of a few. We will never seek a permission slip to defend the United States of America. (Applause.)
The clearest, most important difference in this campaign is simple to state: President Bush understands the war on terror and has a strategy for winning it. Senator Kerry does not. All doubt on that matter was removed when Senator Kerry recently in an interview said that he wanted to lead America back to the place where we were, to a time when terrorism was, in his word, a "nuisance" like illegal gambling or prostitution. That's the comparison he made. When I read about that, I thought to myself -- I'm sorry. You want to repeat that? (Laughter.) Right, okay. When I read that, I thought to myself: When was terrorism only a nuisance? Was it a nuisance four years ago, when the USS Cole was attacked off Yemen and nearly sunk, and we lost 17 sailors?
AUDIENCE: No! THE VICE PRESIDENT: Was it a nuisance six years ago when they attacked simultaneously two of our embassies in East Africa and killed hundreds of people?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Was terrorism just a nuisance 11 years ago, when they first struck the World Trade Center in New York?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Or 16 years ago, when Pan Am Flight 103 was blown out of the skies over Lockerbie, Scotland?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Or 21 years ago, when a truck bomb hit our barracks in Beirut and killed 241 Marines?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: My friends, there never was a time when terrorism was a nuisance. There never can be a time when terrorism is a nuisance. Our goal is not to reduce terror to some acceptable level. Our goal is to defeat terror – and with George Bush as President that's exactly what we will do. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: These are not times for leaders who shift with the political winds, or who fail to understand the nature of the struggle we are in. Our troops, our allies, and our enemies must know where America stands. The President of the United States must be clear and consistent. In his years in Washington, John Kerry has been one of a hundred votes in the United States Senate – and fortunately on matters of national security, his views rarely prevail. But the presidency is an entirely different proposition. A senator can be wrong for 20 years without consequence to the nation. But a President -- a President -- always casts the deciding vote. And in this time of challenge, America needs ?- and America has – a President we can count on to get it right. (Applause.)
President Bush knows that our dedicated servicemen and women represent the very best of the United States of America. (Applause.) I want to thank them, and their families, and all the veterans with us here today for what they've done for all of us. (Applause.)
Our country requires strong and consistent leadership for our actions overseas, and the same is true for policies here at home. When President Bush and I stood on the inaugural platform on the west front of the Capitol and took the oath of office, our economy was sliding into recession. Then on 9/11, terrorists struck and shook our economy once again. We faced a basic decision – to leave more money with families and businesses, or to take more of the American people's hard-earned money for the federal government. President Bush made his choice. He proposed and he delivered tax cuts for the American people not once, not twice, but four times in four years. (Applause.)
Every American who pays income tax has benefited from the Bush tax cuts ?- and so has the economy. We've created jobs for 13 consecutive months, a total of 1.9 million new jobs during that period. Here in Minnesota, almost 28,000 jobs have been added since a year ago last summer. Mortgage rates, interest rates, inflation are all low. Consumers are confident, businesses are investing, and families are taking home more of what they earn. (Applause.)
We're seeing record exports for farm products. Farm income is up. Our farm economy is strong and that's good for the entire nation. (Applause.)
We know there are still challenges, especially in our manufacturing communities. The President and I will not be satisfied until every American who wants to work can find a job. (Applause.)
Our accomplishments these past four years have made America safer, stronger, and better. In our second term, we will keep moving forward with a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda. We'll work to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. And to help families and small businesses, we'll lead a bipartisan effort to reform and simplify the federal tax code. (Applause.)
We will work to end lawsuit abuse. We know it's a lot easier for America's businesses to hire new workers if they don't have to keep hiring lawyers. (Applause.) We will continue to work to help parents and teachers improve our public schools so that all our children receive the world-class education they deserve. (Applause.)
We will work to make it easier for small businesses to provide health insurance to employees and for families to meet their health care needs. And we are determined to achieve medical liability reform because we know the cost of malpractice insurance is creating a crisis, not only in Minnesota, but across the land. America's doctors should be able to spend their time healing patients, not fighting off frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.)
President Bush and I will also continue to defend our society's fundamental rights and values. We stand for a culture of life and reject the brutal practice of partial birth abortion. (Applause.) We stand strongly for the Second Amendment and will defend the individual right of every American to bear arms. (Applause.) We believe that our nation is "one nation under God." (Applause.) And we believe Americans ought to be able to say so when we pledge allegiance to our flag. (Applause.)
There shouldn't be any question about this ?- and there wouldn't be if we had more reasonable judges on the federal bench. The Democrats in the Senate have been doing everything they can – including using the filibuster ?- to keep the President's sensible, mainstream nominees off the bench.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: They are hoping to wait the President out. But I've got news for them. That's not going to happen because we're going to win this election. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: My friends, the differences between the President and his opponent are as sharp as they can possibly be, and the consequences for the country are enormous. On vital matters of national security, Senator Kerry offers a record of weakness and a strategy of retreat. President Bush offers a record of steady purpose and resolute action, and a strategy for victory. (Applause.) Senator Kerry wants to empower government; President Bush will use government to empower the citizens of this great country. (Applause.) John Kerry seems to think all the wisdom is found in Washington, D.C.; George Bush trusts the wisdom of the American people. (Applause.)
Under President Bush's leadership, we will use America's great power to serve great purposes, to protect our homeland by turning back and defeating the forces of terror, and to spread hope and freedom around the world. Here at home, we'll continue building a prosperity that reaches every corner of the land so that every child in America has a chance to learn, to succeed, and to rise in the world. (Applause.)
The President and I are honored by your commitment to the cause we all share. President Bush and I will wage this effort with complete confidence in the judgment of the American people. And the signs are good – here in Minnesota, and even in Massachusetts. (Applause.) According to a news account, people leaving the Democratic National Convention in July asked a Boston policeman for directions. He replied, Leave here – and go vote Republican. (Applause.)
President Bush and I are honored to have the support of that police officer, and of Democrats, Republicans, and independents from every calling in American life. We're grateful to our many friends across the great state of Minnesota. We're tremendously grateful for this welcome that you've given us this morning. We're proud to have you on the team. And together, on November 2nd, we'll see our cause forward to victory.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
END 10:34 P.M. CDT
Richard B. Cheney, Remarks by the Vice President at a Victory 2004 Rally Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/280999