Richard B. Cheney photo

The Vice President's Remarks at a Bush-Cheney '04 Rally in Oregon

September 03, 2004

10:49 A.M. PDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you, thank you.

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you, and thank you for that warm welcome to Oregon. Lynne and I just had a great week in New York at our convention, and especially when we heard the President's speech last night. I thought that was a first rate piece of work. (Applause.)

This is important election. And I think maybe the most important -- one of the most important in my lifetime. There was another election, though, that we think of as very important in our family, and that was when Dwight Eisenhower got elected in 1952. (Applause.) That was a long time ago -- that was a long time ago.

But in those days, I was living in Lincoln, Nebraska with my folks. Dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service. And Eisenhower got elected. He reorganized the Agriculture Department. Dad got transferred to Casper, Wyoming. And that's where I met Lynne. We grew up together, went to high school together, and last Sunday, celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. (Applause.) But I explained to a group the other day that if it hadn't been for Dwight Eisenhower's election victory in 1952, Lynne would have married somebody else. (Laughter.) And she said, right, and now he'd be Vice President of the United States. (Laughter and applause.) It's true.

But we're here in Oregon today participating in one of the great privileges of being Americans, and that's selecting our leadership, our President for the next four years. The President has made it clear -- last night, if you heard his speech, he talked about changing the world we live in, the need to transform the systems of government so that all citizens are equipped, prepared and free to make their own choices and pursue their own dreams. He also talked about the power of liberty to transform countries and lives, and bring a future of hope and peace. And we're looking forward now to talking about those issues for the next 60 days, from now till the election. And on November 2nd, we're going to reelect George W. Bush President of the United States. (Applause.)

Now, we're proud to make Pendleton our very first stop coming out of the convention. (Applause.) It was not hard to get me to come to the home of the Pendleton Roundup. (Applause.) We do take a certain amount of pride in Cheyenne Frontier Days. (Laughter.) But we'll set that aside for now. But by the looks of things, this looks like Bush-Cheney country to me. (Applause.)

It's great today to be joined by your Senator, Gordon Smith, and Congressman, Greg Walden. I served in the House of Representatives as the member from Wyoming. We only had one House seat from Wyoming. It was a small delegation. (Laughter.) But it was quality. (Laughter.) But now I serve as President of the Senate. So I've spent a lot of time in both bodies. And I've got to tell you you've got a first rate representation for Oregon and for the nation in what Greg and Gordon do. (Applause.)

The President and I are tremendously grateful for all of our support across Oregon. We ran hard here in 2000, and came within a few thousand votes of victory. We're going to work even harder to earn your support this year. And you'll be seeing plenty more of us in the weeks ahead. And we're going to win this state on the way to winning the election. (Applause.)

As I said in my speech Wednesday night in New York, I'm mindful of the fact that I now have an opponent. (Laughter.) People keep telling me Senator Edwards got picked because he's sexy, charming, good looking and has great hair. (Laughter.) And I say, "How do you think I got the job?" (Laughter and applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: The crowd loves you, Dickie. (Laughter and applause.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT: What are you guys doing for the next 60 days? Would you like to come along on the trip? (Applause.)

This election could not come at a more crucial time in our history, and it really is an extraordinarily important one. We face an enemy today that every bit as intent on destroying us as were the Axis powers in World War II. This enemy, in the words of the 9/11 Commission report that was released recently, is "sophisticated, patient, disciplined, and lethal." What this enemy wants, as the 9/11 report explained, is to do away with democracy, to end all rights for women, and to impose their way of life on the rest of us. And as we saw on the morning of 9/11, this enemy is perfectly prepared to slaughter anyone -- man, woman, or child -- who stands in their way. This is not an enemy we can reason with, or negotiate with, or appease. This is, to put it simply, an enemy that must be destroyed. And with George W. Bush as our Commander-in-Chief, that is exactly what we're going to do. (Applause.)

I'm sure many of you heard the remarks earlier this week when Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, talked about his experiences. (Applause.) Rudy remembered that after the attacks on his city, he turned at one point to his police commissioner, Bernie Kerik, and said, "Thank God George W. Bush is our President." He was speaking for millions of Americans. (Applause.)

In the aftermath of those terrible events that morning, people in every part of the country, regardless of party, took great comfort and pride in the character and the conduct of our President. They saw a man calm in a crisis, comfortable with responsibility, and determined to do everything necessary to protect our people.

Under the President's leadership, we have driven the Taliban from power in Afghanistan and closed 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, he controlled the lives and fortune of nearly 25 million people. Today, he's in jail. (Applause.)

A year ago, Libya had a secret nuclear weapons program. But after our coalition ousted Saddam Hussein, 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, and the weapons designs are now under American lock and key at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. (Applause.)

We've shut down the secret network that was the world's most dangerous supplier of illegal nuclear weapons technology. We've put terrorist financiers out of business, and dismantled terrorist cells world-wide. Most of the planners of the 9/11 attacks have been captured or killed -– including the mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Shaykh Muhammad. (Applause.)

We could not have succeeded in these efforts without the help of dozens of countries all over the world. We will always seek international support for our 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 VICE PRESIDENT: Under the President's leadership, we have taken unprecedented steps to protect our nation 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 our government 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.) But the President's opponent, Senator Kerry, seems to object. He has even said that by using our strength, we are creating terrorists and placing ourselves in greater danger.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: That's a fundamental misunderstanding of the way the world we live in works. Terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength; they are invited by the perception of weakness. (Applause.)

America faces a choice on November 2nd between our President and his opponent, a man who calls for us to fight a "more sensitive" war on terror -- (laughter) -- as though Al Qaeda will be impressed with our softer side. (Laughter.) Senator Kerry declared at the Democratic Convention that he will forcefully defend America -- after we have been attacked. But we have already been attacked. And faced with an enemy who seeks the deadliest of weapons to use against us, we cannot wait for the next attack. (Applause.) We must do everything we can to prevent it -- and that includes the use of military force.

We also have important differences with the Kerry-Edwards record when it comes to providing for our men and women in uniform. And 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 the 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: Flip-flop! Flip-flop! Flip-flop! (Laughter.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Only 12 members of the United States Senate opposed the funding that would provide vital resources for our troops. Only four senators -- only four -- voted for the use of force and then against the resources that our men and women needed once they were in combat. Only four. And 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. (Laughter.) He said, and I quote, "I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it."

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: It's catching on. It is.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Flip-flop. (Laughter and applause.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well that certainly clears things up. (Laughter.) Lately, the Senator has been saying he's proud that he and Senator Edwards voted no, and then he went on to explain his decision was "complicated." But funding American troops in combat should never be a complicated question. (Applause.) It's simply wrong to vote to commit our troops to combat and then refuse to provide them the resources they need. We need a President who will back our force 100 hundred percent, and that's exactly what we've got in George W. Bush. (Applause.)

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: President Bush knows that our dedicated servicemen and women represent the very best of the United States of America. (Applause.) And today, I want to thank them and I want to thank all the veterans with us here today for what they have done for all of us. (Applause.) One of the most important commitments that President Bush made during the 2000 campaign was that our armed forces would be given the resources they need and the respect they deserve, and he has kept his word to the United States 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 -- and fortunately on matters of national security, his views 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.)

On Iraq, Senator Kerry has disagreed with many of his fellow Democrats. But Senator Kerry's liveliest disagreement is with himself. (Laughter.) His back-and-forth reflects a habit of indecision, and he sends a message of confusion. And it's all 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. Senator Kerry says he sees two Americas. It makes the whole thing mutual -- America sees two John Kerrys. (Laughter and applause.)

Our country requires strong and consistent leadership for our actions overseas, and the same is true for our policies here at home. When President Bush and I stood on the inaugural platform on the west side of the Capitol and took the oath of office, 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 for 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 past year -- including 144,000 jobs last month. (Applause.) Here in Oregon, more than 43,000 jobs have been created since last June. Mortgage rates, interest rates, and inflation are all low. Consumers are confident, businesses are investing, and families are taking home more of what they earn. We're seeing record exports for farm products. Farm income is up. A strong farm economy is good for our nation's economy. And we have a strong farm economy today. (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. But this is a strong economy. It is growing stronger. The Bush tax cuts are working. (Applause.)

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


THE VICE PRESIDENT: But when he gets ready to campaign in the West, Senator Kerry turns his position around. He says he likes "a lot of the parts" of the law. That makes one thing clear, and it's not only wildfires that shift with the wind. (Applause.)

Our accomplishments these last four years have made America stronger, safer 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 issues. He went to take on the big issues, and to take on serious reforms. He has led with confidence, with clear vision, and with unwavering purpose. He's made hard choices, and 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 a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda. We'll work to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Applause.) And we'll work to end lawsuit abuse. We know that it's a lot easier to hire workers if you don't have to keep hiring lawyers. (Applause.)

We will work for medical liability reform because we know the cost of malpractice insurance is creating a crisis, not only in Oregon, but also in my home state of Wyoming. America's doctors should be able to spend their time healing patients, not fighting off frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.)

In our second term, we'll continue to move forward on a comprehensive energy policy to make the nation less dependent on foreign sources of energy.

Our opponents have a very different vision for the country. They opposed our tax relief, and 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: 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" and Americans ought to be able to say so when they pledge allegiance to their 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 filibustering to block the President's sensible, mainstream nominations to the judiciary.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: They've blocked Miguel Estrada, a fine man who came to this country from Honduras, went to Harvard Law School, clerked on the Supreme Court, and worked in the Department of Justice. They've blocked Janice Rogers Brown, the daughter of sharecroppers, who worked her way through law school and became a justice of the California Supreme Court. Recently, they used their obstructionist tactics to keep the Senate from voting on Bill Myers, a fine man, a friend of mine. If it had been an up-or-down vote, Bill clearly had the votes to be confirmed to the Ninth Circuit, which, as you know all too well, is the circuit that recently said we should not say "under God" when we pledge allegiance to the flag.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: Sounds to me like we 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 the nation. America has come to know him, and I have come to admire him very much as I've worked with him every day. I've seen him face some of the hardest decisions that can come to the Oval Office -- and make those decisions with the wisdom and the humility that Americans expect in their President. George Bush is a man who speaks plainly and means what he says. He is a person of loyalty and kindness -- and he has restored honor and dignity to the White House. (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. Here at home, we will continue building 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 Oregon, and even in Massachusetts. (Laughter and 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 Democrats, Republicans, and independents from every calling in American life. We're grateful to our many friends across the great state of Oregon. I want to thank you for the tremendous welcome to Pendleton. 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 11:16 A.M. PDT

Richard B. Cheney, The Vice President's Remarks at a Bush-Cheney '04 Rally in Oregon Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project