Richard B. Cheney photo

The Vice President's Remarks at a Luncheon for John Swallow in Salt Lake City, Utah

July 28, 2004

Little America Hotel
Salt Lake City, Utah

12:29 P.M. MDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much, John and Suzanne. And, Lynne, thank you for that warm introduction.

Lynne and I just a couple of weeks ago went back home to Casper to celebrate our 45th high school reunion. Some of the folks there remembered us. (Laughter.) A few of them wandered around saying, whatever happened to Cheney? (Laughter.) But it was a pleasure and delight to get to go home and renew those acquaintances with those people we only see every five years at these reunions.

But I often tell the story that the presidential election of 1952 was an extraordinarily important one for Lynne and me. That's the year Dwight Eisenhower got elected President. In 1952, I was living in Lincoln, Nebraska with my folks. Dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service. Eisenhower won the election. When he got in, he reorganized the Agriculture Department. Dad got sent to Casper, Wyoming. And that's where I met Lynne. We grew up together, went to high school together. Come August, we'll celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. (Applause.) I explained to a group the other day that if hadn't been for Dwight Eisenhower's election victory, Lynne would have married somebody else. She said, right, and now he'd be Vice President of the United States. (Laughter and applause.) There's no doubt in my mind that's true.

But having had the opportunity to travel around a lot this week, and spend time in the West -- we've been to Washington and Oregon this week. We were down in Camp Pendleton with the U.S. Marines just yesterday, and in Riverside, California. We'll be on home in Jackson tonight. Friday and Saturday, back on the road for another swing in the continuing campaign. It's always a special privilege, as Lynne said, to get back home to the West, have an opportunity to spend some time talking to folks and engaging, if you will, in the debate of the day.

I'm especially looking forward to the campaign ahead now that I have an opponent. (Laughter.) People keep telling me -- they say Senator Edwards got picked because he's charming, good looking, sexy. I said, "How do you think I got the job?" (Laughter.) Always bothers me when people laugh at that line. (Laughter.) I'm not sure why they do.

But it's a pleasure to bring greetings to everybody in Utah from the President of the United States, George W. Bush. (Applause.) The President and I are grateful for all the great support we've received in Utah in the past, and certainly have the feeling that Utah is going to be part of a great nationwide victory come November 2nd. (Applause.)

Over the years, I've had the good fortune to work with a many decent, hardworking public servants from Utah. At the Cabinet table in the White House, I serve alongside your former governor, now our superb EPA Administrator, Mike Leavitt. As President of the Senate, I have a chance to work with Utah's outstanding United States senators in Bob Bennett and Orrin Hatch. They do a superb job for everybody here in the state of Utah. And I believe Bob Bennett is here today with us. (Applause.) Also, Governor Walker is with us today, as well as Congressman Bishop and Chris Cannon. And we're also joined today by your next governor, Jon Huntsman. (Applause.) The President and I are proud to be on the ballot with so many fine candidates in this state, and we have no doubt that Utah will have excellent leadership again next year.

We're also going to be on the ballot with John Swallow. I was proud to campaign with John during his run for the second District seat two years when he came within 1,600 votes of victory. He's bringing the same strong, optimistic message this year, and with your help, he's going to win. (Applause.)

John is the kind of person who appreciates hard work and values the opportunities that he's been given in life. As a Congressman, he'll focus his energy on making sure everyone in his district has that same chance to succeed. By standing up for low taxes and a quality education for every child, he'll make Utah a better place to live, work, and prosper. John is also a man of sincere conscience, and he will use his responsibilities in Washington to further the culture of life that we're working so hard to build. John proved himself as a member of the Utah House of Representatives. And when you vote for John Swallow for Congress, you'll be sending a good man to do a big job. He's ready for it. And President Bush and I look forward to seeing him soon in Washington as Utah's next new congressman. (Applause.)

The nation needs people of John's caliber serving in the Congress as we take on one of the greatest challenges in our history. Today we face an enemy every bit as intent on destroying us as the Axis powers were in World War II, or the Soviet Union in the days of the Cold War. This enemy, in the words of the 9/11 Commission's filed just last week -- the report specifically for the commission describes our enemy as "sophisticated, patient, disciplined, and lethal." What this enemy wants, as the 9/11 report explains, is to do away with democracy, to end the rights of women, and to rid the world of religious pluralism. And in pursuit of its goals, this enemy is perfectly prepared to slaughter anyone -- man, woman, or child -- to advance its cause.

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 vanquish. And with President George W. Bush as our Commander-in-chief, that is exactly what we're going to do. (Applause.)

Under the President's leadership, we removed the Taliban from power in Afghanistan and closed down the training camps where terrorists trained to kill Americans. Under the President's leadership, we removed the regime of Saddam Hussein, a man who cultivated weapons of mass destruction, used them against the Iraqi people, and their neighbors, and provided safe harbor and sanctuary for terrorists. Saddam Hussein once controlled the lives and the future of 25 million people. Today, he's in jail. (Applause.)

The defeat of tyranny and violence in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the rise of democracy in that troubled part of the world will be a crucial setback for international terrorists. Because we are strong and resolute, these nations will never go back to the camp of tyranny and terror. And America will never go back to the false comforts of the world before 9/11. Terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength. They are invited by the perception of weakness. And this nation has made a decision: We will engage the enemy, facing him with our military in Afghanistan and Iraq today, so we do not have to face him with armies of firefighters, police, and medical personnel on the streets of our own cities. (Applause.)

From the beginning, America has sought -- and received -- international support for our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. 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. President Bush will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of the United States of America. (Applause.)

Our nation is extremely fortunate during these times of testing to have the dedicated service of our men and women in uniform. The men and women who are defending our country represent the very best of the United States of America. We have with us today, Paul and Marilyn Johnson. I don't know how many of you know the story of the Johnson family. They have four sons and a son-in-law. Three of the sons -- Caleb, Bill and Nick -- serve in the Utah National Guard, and returned home from Iraq in May, just a few weeks ago. Their son Chris is currently serving in Afghanistan. And their son-in-law Douglas is currently serving in Iraq. Five members of the family who have taken up the cause and are serving on behalf of the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan. I think we owe them a deep well of gratitude. (Applause.)

One of the most important commitments that the President and I made during the 2000 campaign was that our armed forces would be given the resources they need and the respect they deserve, and we have kept our word to the U.S. military. (Applause.)

The President and I have some important differences with the folks gathering in Boston this week. When Congress voted to authorize force against Saddam Hussein, Senators Kerry and Edwards voted yes. But when it came time to fund the troops doing the fighting in Iraq, it was another story. Last fall, at the President's request, Congress considered legislation providing critical funding for our troops -- for body armor and other vital support, such as hazard pay, ammunition, jet fuel, vehicles, and spare parts. The legislation passed overwhelmingly, with a vote in the Senate of 87 to 12, and that small group of 12 senators who voted against providing funding for the troops included Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards.

Recently, Senator Kerry told us that his decision to oppose funding for our military personnel was "complicated." But as John Swallow understands, funding American troops in combat should never be a complicated choice. It's wrong to vote to commit our troops to combat and then refuse to provide them with the resources they need. We need a President who will back our troops 100 percent, and that's exactly what we've got in George W. Bush. (Applause.)

At every level of the ballot, great events will turn on the outcome of this election. The leader who sits in the Oval Office -- and the men and women who represent us on Capitol Hill -- will set the course of the war on terror, and set the direction of the American economy. Strong, consistent leadership is required, both on our actions overseas and our policies here at home.

When President Bush and I took office, our economy was sliding toward 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 dollars for the federal government. President Bush made his choice. He proposed and delivered tax savings to the American people -- not once, not twice, but three times. (Applause.)

The Bush tax cuts have helped our national economy create jobs for 10 consecutive months. We've added more than 1.5 million new jobs since last August. Here in Utah, more than 5,000 people went to work at a new job last month; and you have created more than 22,000 jobs since last March. Over the past year, the nation's economy has grown at a rate of nearly 5%. The Bush tax cuts are working. (Applause.)

These past four years have brought great progress in other critical areas, as well. With the President's leadership, we passed Medicare reform -- after years of inaction. And now senior citizens have more affordable access to modern medicine and to prescription drugs. And we passed a responsible environmental law called the Healthy Forests Act to improve forest health and to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire across the West.

Our accomplishments these past four years demonstrate something about the character of our President. President Bush did not go to Washington to mark time, or to spend his energy on small goals. He came to take on the big issues, and to make serious reforms. He has led with confidence, clear vision, and unwavering purpose. He's made the hard choices, and kept his word. And that's exactly how he plans to lead the nation for four more years.

John Swallow shares our hopeful, optimistic vision for the future, and we look forward to working with him to accomplish great goals. We need John in Congress to help us keep moving forward on a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda. We need John in Congress to help us make the Bush tax cuts permanent. We need John in Congress to help us end lawsuit abuse. It's a lot easier for America's businesses to hire new workers if they don't have to keep hiring lawyers. And for the good of our health care system, we need medical liability reform. America's doctors should be able to spend their time healing patients, not fighting off frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.)

Our country needs a comprehensive energy policy. It's time for the Democrats in the United States Senate to allow passage of the President's plan to make the U.S. less dependent on foreign sources of energy.

Our opponents have a different vision for the economy. They talk about jobs, yet they never explain how they would put a single American back to work. They opposed our tax relief, and now they are 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: to raise our taxes.

In fact, the team meeting this week in Boston would repeal many of the Bush tax cuts within their first 100 days in office. This isn't surprising when you consider their record. Over the years, Senator Kerry has voted over 350 times for higher taxes on the American people -- including the largest tax increase in history. That's an average of a vote for higher taxes every three weeks for the last 20 years. At least the folks back in Massachusetts knew he was on the job. (Laughter.)

If you listen to the other side's proposals between now and November, you'll see a clear pattern. Their plans would increase the power of the Washington bureaucracy, increase the clout of the trial lawyers, increase the size of government's claim on the American people's paycheck. And they would not create jobs or drive economic growth. What we're hearing from the other side is the failed thinking of the past -- and we're not going back. (Applause.)

With John's support, President Bush and I will also continue to defend our society's fundamental rights and values. We stand for the fair treatment of faith-based charities, so they can receive federal support for their good works. We stand for a culture of life, and we reject the brutal practice of partial birth abortion. We believe that our nation is "one nation under God." And we believe that Americans ought to be able to say "under God" when they pledge allegiance to the flag. (Applause.)

On issue after issue, President Bush has a clear vision for the future of the nation. Abroad, we will use America's great power to serve great purposes, to protect our homeland by turning back 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 born in America has a chance to learn, to succeed, and to rise in the world.

John has the same great goals for the state of Utah -- and with your help, he'll start carrying them out next year as your Congressman. John is a decent, humble man, and exactly the kind of Congressman the good people of the second district deserve. President Bush and I are grateful to all of you for your hard work and commitment to the cause we all share. We are looking forward to the months ahead, and to November 2nd, when we will see our cause to victory.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

END 12:48 P.M. MDT

Richard B. Cheney, The Vice President's Remarks at a Luncheon for John Swallow in Salt Lake City, Utah Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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