Richard B. Cheney photo

The Vice President's Remarks at a Bush-Cheney '04 Rally in Roswell, New Mexico

September 04, 2004

11:14 A.M. MDT

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

AUDIENCE: Cheney! Cheney! Cheney!

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you, very much. Mercy. That was -- that was a great welcome. (Applause.) We're delighted to be back in New Mexico today. (Applause.) And I brought my wife, Lynne, with me. (Applause.) She and I just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary last Sunday. (Applause.)

I tell people -- I tell people all the time that the reason we got married was because Dwight Eisenhower got elected President of the United States in 1952. That's a strange connection. But in 1952, I lived in Lincoln, Nebraska with my folks. Dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service. 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 and the rest is history. But I explained to a group the other night that if it hadn't been for 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.) So don't let anybody tell you presidential campaigns don't matter. They do.

And we're delighted to be here today because we're here for one very specific reason, and that is to make absolutely certain George Bush is elected to another four years. (Applause.)

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. I can't think of anybody I'd rather share the stage with today than your neighbor from Arizona, Senator John McCain. (Applause.) John and I have known each other for over 20 years, since we served together in the House of Representatives. He's a great friend, a great senator, and a great American. And I'm proud that he's here with us today. (Applause.)

Steve Pearce, of course, your congressman currently does a great job in the House. (Applause.) And I know you all know Governor Bill Owens from Colorado. (Applause.)

As John mentioned, I was the congressman from Wyoming for 10 years. Wyoming only had one congressman. (Laughter.) It was a small delegation. (Laughter.) But it was quality. (Laughter.) But I loved my time in the Congress, and having the privilege of serving today alongside John in the Senate, and Steve over in the House, they do a superb job for all of us.

The President gave a very important speech the other night. He talked about changing the world we live in, and about the need to transform the systems of government so that all citizens are equipped, prepared and free to make choices and to pursue their own dreams. He also talked about the power of liberty to transform countries and lives, and to bring a future of hope and peace. We're looking forward to talking about that vision over the next 59 days. And we're going to look forward to November 2nd, when we'll reelect George Bush as President of the United States. (Applause.)

We're proud to be in Roswell today because New Mexico had a great delegation at the convention in New York. And Roswell looks like Bush-Cheney country. (Applause.)

I also want to say a word for Pete Domenici. Pete has been a friend for many, many years. And he does a superb job on behalf of New Mexico. (Applause.)

The President and I are tremendously grateful for all of our supporters here and across the state. We ran hard here in 2000 -- we came very close. We're going to work harder this year. And on November 2nd, you'll be part of a great nationwide victory. (Applause.)

Now, you may have noticed I now have an opponent in this campaign.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: No, I do. I do. People keep telling me Senator Edwards got picked for his good looks, his charm, because he's sexy and has great hair. (Laughter.) And I say, "How do you think I got the job?" (Applause.)

But all joking aside. This is an extraordinarily important election -- I think perhaps the most important in my lifetime. It couldn't come at a more crucial time in our history. Today, we face an enemy today every bit as intent on destroying us as were the Axis powers in World War II. This is not an enemy we can reason with, or negotiate with, or appease. This is, to put it simply, an enemy that we must destroy. And with George Bush as Commander-in-Chief, that's exactly what we will do. (Applause.)

I'm sure many of you heard the remarks in New York this week by Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor. (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 Bush is our President." (Applause.)

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 some 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, 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 under lock and key down at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. (Applause.)

We've shut down the secret network that was the world's most dangerous supplier of illegal weapons technology. We've put terrorist financiers out of business, and 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 from 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 VICE PRESIDENT: 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 prosecute terrorists. (Applause.) We created the Department of Homeland Security to focus our government on the mission of protecting the American people. (Applause.)

But a good defense is not enough. We've also gone on offense on the war on terror. (Applause.) 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 is a fundamental misunderstanding of the way the world we are living in works. Terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength; they are invited by the perception of weakness. (Applause.)

America faces a fundamental choice on November 2nd between our President and his opponent, who has called 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.) Senator Kerry declared at the Democratic Convention that he will forcefully defend America -- after we have been attacked.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: But, my friends, we have already been attacked.

AUDIENCE: That's right!

THE VICE PRESIDENT: And faced with an enemy who seeks the deadliest of weapons to use against us, we cannot wait for the next attack.

AUDIENCE: That's right!

THE VICE PRESIDENT: We must do everything in our power to prevent it -- and that includes the use of military forces. (Applause.)

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 Congress to authorize the use of force against Saddam Hussein. But then, when it came time to vote for funds that would provide fighting -- for our fighting men and women with body armor, ammunition, jet fuel, and spare parts, Senators Kerry and Edwards voted no.

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

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


THE VICE PRESIDENT: At first Senator Kerry said he didn't really oppose the funding. He both supported and opposed it. And said --

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: And I quote, "I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it." (Laughter.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Lately, he's been saying he's proud that he and John Edwards voted no, and he explained his decision was "complicated." But funding American troops in combat should never be a complicated question. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Cheney! Cheney! Cheney! (Applause.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Are you guys busy for the next 59 days? (Applause.) We might take you with us. (Applause.)

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Do you want to hear this speech or not? (Laughter.) All right.

AUDIENCE: Cheney! Cheney! Cheney!

THE VICE PRESIDENT: 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 all the veterans with us here today for what they've done for all of us. (Applause.) One of the most important commitments that George 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 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, Senator Kerry has been one of a hundred votes in the U.S. 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 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.

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 for our policies 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 our nation and shook the economy once again. We faced a basic decision -- to leave more money in the hands of 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 -- every American who pays federal income taxes benefited from the Bush tax cuts, and so has the economy. (Applause.) We've created jobs for the last 12 consecutive months -- a total of about 1.7 million new jobs over the last year. That includes 144,000 jobs last month alone. (Applause.) Here in New Mexico, we've added 15,000 jobs since last year. Mortgage rates, and interest rates, and inflation are all low. Consumers are confident, businesses are investing, 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, but the President and I will not be satisfied until every American who wants to work can find a job. (Applause.) This is a strong economy. It is growing stronger. The Bush tax cuts are working. (Applause.)

Our accomplishments these past 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 goals. He went to take on the big issues, and to make serious reforms. He has led with confidence, with clear vision, and unwavering purpose. He's made hard choices and kept his word. And that's exactly how he govern for the next four years. (Applause.) In our second term --

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.) We will work to end lawsuit abuse. (Applause.) We know it's a lot easier for America's businesses to hire more workers if they don't have to keep hiring lawyers. (Applause.)

We will work for medical liability reform because America's doctors should be able to spend their time healing patients, not fighting frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.)

Our opponents have a very different vision for our 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: Is everybody okay down here? Okay.

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 we will defend the individual right of every American to bear arms. (Applause.) We believe our nation is "one nation under God" and that 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 U.S. Senate now where Democrats -- including Senators Kerry and Edwards -- are using the filibuster to block the President's sensible, mainstream nominations to the judiciary.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: Recently, they used their obstructionist tactics in the Senate to avoid voting on a man named Bill Myers, a friend of mine, a fellow Westerner, a fine candidate. If Bill had had an up-or-down vote on the floor of the Senate, he would have been confirmed to the Ninth Circuit, which, by the way, is the circuit that decided we should not 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.) That's why we need more good Republicans like Pete Domenici in the United States Senate. (Applause.)

On issue after issue, President Bush has a clear vision for the nation. America has come to know him, and I have come to admire him very much. I watch him at work every day. He's a person of loyalty and kindness, a man who speaks plainly and means what he says. I've seen him face some of the hardest decisions that can come to the man in the Oval Office, and he's made those decisions with the wisdom and the humility that we all expect of our President.

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. (Applause.) The signs are good -- here in New Mexico, and even in Massachusetts. (Laughter and 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 New Mexico. I want to thank you for the tremendous welcome in Roswell today. 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 11:40 A.M. MDT

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