Richard B. Cheney photo

Remarks by the Vice President at a Victory 2004 Rally in Las Vegas, Nevada

September 03, 2004

The Cashman Center
Las Vegas, Nevada

2:48 P.M. PDT

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I accept. (Applause.)

Great. Good to see you this afternoon. We're delighted to here in Las Vegas. It's not the first time, and it won't be the last. (Applause.)

We just came straight from New York. We really had a magnificent convention. This is the eighth convention I've attended over the years. And I got to tell you, it was a humdinger. It really was a great event. The folks in New York turned out for us. They did a beautiful job of managing the convention. But I got to tell you the speech the President made last night I thought was top drawer. (Applause.) The President laid out a clear, forward-looking plan to talk about a safer, more secure world, and a safer more secure America. And that's exactly what we're going to do once we reelect him on November 2nd for the next four years. (Applause.)

It's good to be joined today by your Lieutenant Governor, Lorraine Hunt. (Applause.) And let me also say how much I enjoy working with your Senator John Ensign. He couldn't be with us today, but he does a superb job for all of us. (Applause.) And by the look of things today, Las Vegas is Bush-Cheney country. (Applause.) I'm also impressed with that band. I wonder what we're doing for the next 60 days. (Applause.)

The President and I are tremendously grateful for all of our supporters here in Nevada. We carried the state in 2000. I was in Elko not long ago. The President, of course, was here in Las Vegas to talk to the Carpenters Union a few weeks back. You'll be seeing plenty of us between now and the election. And come November 2nd, Nevada is going to be part of another nationwide victory.

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Looks like we better put him down as undecided. (Laughter.)

But as I said in my speech earlier this week up in New York, I'm mindful that I have an opponent in this race now. (Laughter.) No, I really do. People keep telling me Senator Edwards got picked because of his charm, his good looks, he's sexy, he's got great hair. And I said, "How do you think I got the job?" (Laughter and applause.)

This election comes at a crucial time in our history. It's an extraordinarily important choice we're going to make. Today we face an enemy every bit as intent on destroying us as the Axis powers were in World War II, and the Soviet Union was during the Cold War. This is not an enemy we can reason with, or negotiate with, or appease. To put it simply, this is an enemy that we must destroy. (Applause.) And with President George W. Bush as our Commander-in-Chief, that is exactly what we will do. (Applause.)

I'm sure many of you heard the remarks earlier this week by Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York. (Applause.) Rudy remembers that after the attacks on his city, he turned at one point to his police commissioner, Bernie Kerik, and said, thank God George Bush is President of the United States.

Under the President's leadership, we have driven the Taliban from power in Afghanistan and closed down the camps where terrorists trained to kill Americans. (Applause.) Under the President's leadership, we rid the world of a gathering threat by eliminating the regime of Saddam Hussein. (Applause.) Seventeen months ago, Saddam controlled the lives and the future of almost 25 million people. Today, he is in jail. (Applause.)

A year ago, Libya had a secret nuclear weapons program. But after our coalition ousted Saddam, Libya's leader, Moammar Ghadafi, had a change of heart. (Applause.) He turned control of Libya's program over to us, and today the uranium, the centrifuges, the weapons designs are down in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, under American lock and key. (Applause.)

We've also shut down the network that supplied illegal nuclear weapons technology to rogue regimes. We've put terrorist financers out of business, dismantled terrorist cells world-wide. And most of the planners of the 9/11 attacks have been captured or killed -- including Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, the mastermind of 9/11. (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 our international efforts. But as the President 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 America. (Applause.)

Under the President's leadership, we have taken unprecedented steps to protect the American people here at home. We passed the Patriot Act to give law enforcement the tools they need to track down terrorists. We created the Department of Homeland Security to focus on the mission of protecting the American people.

But a good defense is not enough, and so we have also gone on the offense in the war on terror. (Applause.) The President's opponent, Senator Kerry, seems to object. (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE: Booo! Flip-flop! Flip-flop! Flip-flop! (Laughter.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT: He has even said that by using our strength, we are creating terrorists and placing ourselves in greater danger. But that's a fundamental misunderstanding of the way the world works these days. Terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength; they are invited by the perception of weakness. (Applause.)

America faces a choice between our President and his opponent, a man who calling for us to fight a "more sensitive" war on terror --


THE VICE PRESIDENT: As though al Qaeda will be impressed with our softer side. (Laughter.)

This is a great crowd. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! (Laughter.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I'm having a lot of trouble concentrating on this speech. (Laughter.)

Senator Kerry declared at their convention that he would forcefully defend America -- after we're attacked. But we've already been attacked.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: Faced with an enemy who seeks the deadliest of weapons, we cannot wait for the next attack. We must do everything we can to prevent it -- and that includes the use of military force. (Applause.)

We also have important differences with the Kerry-Edwards record when it comes to providing for our men and women in uniform. There's one story that makes that about as clear as anything could be. It starts with Senators Kerry and Edwards voting yes when the President asked Congress to authorize the use of force against Saddam Hussein. But then, when it came time to vote for funds that would provide our fighting men and women with body armor, ammunition, jet fuel, spare parts, Senators Kerry and Edwards voted no.

AUDIENCE: Booo! Flip-flop! Flip-flop! Flip-flop!

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Only 12 members of the United States Senate opposed the funding that would provide vital resources for the troops. Only four senators -- only four -- voted for the use of force and then against the resources our men and women in uniform needed once they were in combat. Only four. Senators Kerry and Edwards were two of those four.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: At first Senator Kerry said that he didn't really oppose the funding. He both supported and opposed it. Then he said -- then he said, and I quote, "I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it." (Laughter.) Well that certainly clears things up. (Laughter.) Lately he's been saying he is proud that he and John Edwards voted against it. He claims that it was a "complicated" decision. But funding American troops in combat should never be a complicated question. (Applause.) We need a President who will back our troops 100 percent, and that's exactly what we've got in George W. Bush. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: George Bush! George Bush! George Bush! (Laughter.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT: President Bush knows that our dedicated servicemen and women represent the very best of the United States of America. (Applause.) And I want to thank them and all the veterans here today for all they've done for all of us. (Applause.) One of the most important commitments the President made during the 2000 campaign was that our armed forces would have the resources they need and the respect they deserve, and he has kept his word to the U.S. military. (Applause.)

These are not times for leaders who shift with the political winds, saying one thing one day and another the next. In his years in Washington, John Kerry has been one of a hundred votes in the United States Senate. Very fortunately on matters of national security, his views have rarely prevailed. 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. (Applause.) In this time of challenge, America needs -- and America has -- a President we can count on to get it right. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

THE VICE PRESIDENT: On Iraq, Senator Kerry has disagreed with many of his fellow Democrats. But Senator Kerry's liveliest disagreement is with himself.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: His back-and-forth reflects a pattern and habit of indecision, and sends a message of confusion. And it is part of a pattern. He has, in the last several years, been for the No Child Left Behind Act – and against it. He has spoken in favor of the North American Free Trade Agreement – and against it. He is for the Patriot Act ?- and against it.

AUDIENCE: Flip-flop! Flip-flop! Flip-flop!

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Senator Kerry says he sees two Americas. It makes the whole thing mutual -- America sees two John Kerrys. (Applause.)

Our country requires strong and consistent leadership for our actions overseas, and the same is true here at home. When President Bush and I stood on the inaugural platform and took the oath of office on January 20, 2001, our economy was sliding into recession. Then, on 9/11, terrorists struck our nation and shook the 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 savings to the American people -- not once, not twice, but three times. (Applause.)

Every American who pays federal income taxes benefited from the Bush tax cuts -- and so has our economy. We've created jobs for the last 12 consecutive months -- a total of about 1.7 million new jobs over the last year -- including 144,000 jobs in the last month alone. (Applause.) Here in Nevada, more than 100,000 jobs have been created since January of 2002. 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 know there are still challenges. The President and I will not be satisfied until every American who wants to work can find a job. This is a strong economy. It's growing stronger. The Bush tax cuts are working. (Applause.)

As Westerners, the President and I understand the challenges you face here in Nevada, especially when it comes to protecting residents from wildfire. That's why the President proposed and signed the Healthy Forests Act -- a good, bipartisan law that is keeping forests healthier and communities safer. Senator Kerry takes a different view. He says he's in touch with the West. (Laughter.) He must mean western Massachusetts. (Applause.) Senator Kerry did not support the Healthy Forests Act when it came time to vote, even though both of Nevada's senators supported it. Senator Kerry even said that thinning underbrush to prevent wildfire was the equivalent of taking "a chainsaw to the public forests."


THE VICE PRESIDENT: But when he gets ready to campaign in the West, Senator Kerry turns his position around. He said --

AUDIENCE: Flip-flop! Flip-flop! Flip-flop!

THE VICE PRESIDENT: You guys are really good at that. (Laughter.) Senator Kerry says he likes "a lot of parts" of the law. That makes one thing clear -- it's not only wildfires that shift with the wind. (Laughter and applause.)

Our accomplishments these past four years have made America safer, stronger, and better. They also demonstrate something about the character of our President. He didn't go to the White House to mark time, or to spend his energy on small goals. He went to take on the big issues, and to make serious reforms. He has led with confidence, with clear vision, and with unwavering purpose. He's made hard choices. He's kept his word. And that's exactly how he will lead the country for the next four years. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

THE VICE PRESIDENT: In our second term, we will keep moving forward with our pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda. We will work to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Applause.) We will work to end lawsuit abuse. (Applause.) 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 work for medical liability reform because we know that the cost of malpractice insurance is creating a crisis, not only in Nevada, but across the nation. (Applause.) America's doctors should be able to spend their time healing patients, not fighting off frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.)

Our opponents have a very different vision for our country. They opposed our tax relief, now they're proposing massive increases in federal spending. They helped block the energy plan in the Senate. They oppose effective reform of our legal system, and they're against medical liability reform. Their big idea for the economy: raise our taxes.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: Our opponents also take a different view on the important issue of mining. As Westerners, the President and I understand the importance of mining to Nevada's economy, and to Nevada families. (Applause.) Over these past four years, we've acted to put government decisively on the side of miners in the Silver State. But the Junior Senator from Massachusetts has proposed having America's miners send up to an additional $600 million to Washington. That burden could cost up to 44,000 good paying jobs.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: In this election, there's only one presidential candidate with a record and an agenda that defend Nevada's miners -- and that is President George W. Bush. (Applause.)

The President's job is to confront tough issues directly, and to make decisions on the merits, and that's just what he did on the difficult matter of nuclear waste disposal. (Applause.) The President inherited a long process on the Yucca Mountain question. Since the 1987 congressional vote to focus exclusively on Yucca Mountain, Presidents have wrestled with this issue. As the President said, when the time came to make a decision, he made his based on sound science. The President and I understand Nevada leaders disagree with that choice. We respect their views. We will allow the process to be appealed to the courts and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. We will respect the decision of the courts and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. And we will keep the people of Nevada safe. (Applause.)

The President's opponent says he's strongly against Yucca here in Nevada. But he voted for it several times.

AUDIENCE: Flip-flop! Flip-flop! Flip-flop!

THE VICE PRESIDENT: And so did his running mate. Out here on the campaign trail, they've both changed their minds. That's their right -- it's also their habit. (Laughter and applause.) Nuclear waste disposal is an important question, and it requires a thoughtful response. Whatever solution you support, Nevada deserves a leader who makes decisions based on the facts, the evidence, and the public interest -- not election-year politics. (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 we 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" and Americans ought to be able to say so when they pledge allegiance to the 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. (Applause.) But we have a situation in the United States Senate now where Democrats -- including Senators Kerry and Edwards -- are using the filibuster to block the President's sensible, mainstream nominees.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: Recently, they used their obstructionist tactics to keep the Senate from voting on Bill Myers, a fine man, a friend of mine, a fellow Westerner. If Bill Myers had made it to an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor, he had the votes to be confirmed to the Ninth Circuit, which, as you know all too well, is the circuit that decided we should not be able to say "under God" when we pledge allegiance to the flag.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: Sounds to me like they could use some new judges on the Ninth Circuit. (Applause.) What the Democrats are doing is simply outrageous, and that's why we need to send more Republicans to the United States Senate. (Applause.)

On issue after issue, President Bush has a clear vision for the future of our nation. America has come to know him, and I have come to admire him very much. I watch him at work every day. He is a person of loyalty and kindness, a man who speaks plainly and means what he says. I have seen him face some of the hardest decisions that can come to the Oval Office -- and make those decisions with the wisdom and humility Americans expect in their President. (Applause.)

Abroad, 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. (Applause.)

Here at home, we will 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 confidence in us, and 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. The signs are good -- here in Nevada, and even in Massachusetts. (Applause.) According to a news account last month, people leaving the Democratic National Convention in Boston 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 Nevada. Thanks for the tremendous welcome here in Las Vegas. We're proud to have you on the team. (Applause.) And together, on November 2nd, we'll going to see our cause forward to victory.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

END 3:16 P.M. PDT

Richard B. Cheney, Remarks by the Vice President at a Victory 2004 Rally in Las Vegas, Nevada Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project