The Vice President's Remarks at a Montana Victory Rally in Kalispell, Montana
Majestic Valley Arena
5:06 P.M. MST
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much. I appreciate that warm welcome to Kalispell, Montana. (Applause.) It's almost enough to make me want to run for office again. Almost. (Laughter.) But it's great to be with you back in Big Sky Country. And I came straight from Washington this afternoon. I bring greetings to the good folks of the Flathead Valley from President George W. Bush. (Applause.)
And of course, I'm delighted to be on the stage and share some time with Conrad Burns, Denny Rehberg, and Montana Chairman Karl Ohs, and the Republican candidates for the state legislature here in Montana, a great bunch. And I did bring my Lynne. (Applause.)
How many of you saw her interview on CNN by Wolf Blitzer? (Applause.) You can tell who wins the arguments in our house. (Laughter.)
But actually, no, I want to make it clear to everybody that Lynne and I have a Republican marriage. No, we really do. In 1952 when I was a youngster living in Lincoln, Nebraska with my folks, dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service, Dwight Eisenhower got elected President -- a great Republican victory. And after he came in, he reorganized the Soil Conservation Service where dad worked, and he got transferred to Casper, Wyoming, which is where I met Lynne. And we grew up together, went to high school together, and we recently celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary. (Applause.) But I've explained to people over the years if it hadn't been for that Republican victory in 1952, I would never have moved to Wyoming, and Lynne would have had to marry somebody else. (Laughter.) And she said, right, and now he'd be Vice President of the United States. (Laughter and applause.)
But I'm here on behalf of the President, and all of us on behalf of our fine candidates to ask folks to do everything they can to see to it that we get that Republican ticket elected six days from now here in the state of Montana. Thank you. (Applause.)
It's important to talk to your friends and your neighbors and get everybody out to the polls. We need the support of Republicans and independents and discerning Democrats. Spread the word that if you want a strong economy, a safer America, and a better future for our children and grandchildren, then cast your ballot for the Republican team next Tuesday. (Applause.)
Of course, leading the ticket here in your great state are two superb public servants in Senator Conrad Burns and Congressman Denny Rehberg. (Applause.) I've done my share of campaigning over the years, and it was my great honor to represent your neighboring state of Wyoming in Congress for 10 years. Like Montana, Wyoming's got only one Congressman. That made it easy to pull the delegation together for a meeting. (Laughter.) I always took pride in knowing that our delegation might be small in size but it was quality. The same can be said for all of you here in the state of Montana. All of you know Denny Rehberg because he works hard and keeps in touch with the folks back home. Each and every day, you've got a congressman who puts his heart into the job, who works with both parties for the good of your state, and the nation. Denny Rehberg is simply one of the best, and he's earned another term in office. (Applause.)
In my current job as Vice President, of course, I preside over the United States Senate. When they wrote the Constitution, they created the post of Vice President, then they got down to the end of the Constitution Convention there in Philadelphia and decided they hadn't given him anything to do. So they made him the presiding officer in the United States Senate. My predecessor John Adams, who was our first Vice President, he also had floor privileges, and then he could participate in the debate. He could actually go down into the well of the Senate and participate in the debate. Then he did a couple of times, and they withdrew his floor privileges. (Laughter.) They've never been restored.
But I still do get to preside. And it's kind of a mixed bag, as you might imagine, in the United States Senate. But one of the senators I like and respect the most is Conrad Burns. (Applause.) I've campaigned for Conrad in every single one of his races for the United States Senate. Since the day he arrived in Washington, he's been a leader on all the issues that matter to this state -- from agriculture and energy to national security and management of federal lands. And he comes at every issue with the kind of clear thinking and common sense we desperately need in the Nation's Capital. Members of the Senate spend a lot of time arguing and debating, but every senator would agree on the fine qualities of our colleague Conrad Burns. We admire his tremendous work ethic, his patriotism, his good honor, and his sense of humor. He brings that to the job every day. Lord knows we need it. (Laughter.)
Conrad knows the value of hard work. He stands up for limited government and for low taxes. He's an entrepreneur who knows the greatness of our free enterprise system. And he's a Marine who stands 100 percent behind the men and women of the U.S. military. Montana simply could not ask for a more dedicated, effective advocate in Washington, D.C. than Conrad Burns, and I look forward to swearing him in for another term as the United States Senate come January. (Applause.)
We live in a period of incredible consequence for our country -- with difficult issues, with big debates, and decisions that require not just toughness but wisdom. I am humbled by the honor of serving the country in times like these. And I'm proud to serve with a President who makes decisions based on what's right for America, not based on polls, or the conventional wisdom from the pundits on television. (Applause.)
When you cast your vote next Tuesday, you're doing more than choosing a candidate for the House or Senate. You're casting a vote for which party will have a majority in Congress for the next two years. And that's going to make a big difference, especially when it comes to taxes. You know the record of Republican leadership. We've given America the largest tax relief since Ronald Reagan lived in the White House. We cut taxes for every American who pays income taxes. We doubled the child tax credit, reduced the marriage penalty, cut taxes on small business and began phasing out the death tax. We cut taxes on capital gains and dividends to promote investment in the region and jobs. And the results are in: more than four years of uninterrupted economic growth, real wages on the rise, 6.6 million new jobs since August of '03. President Bush's tax relief plan was right for America -- and it is working. (Applause.)
Our party has a clear record on taxes, and so do our opponents. When we first cut taxes in 2001, most Senate Democrats and nearly 85 percent of House Democrats voted against it. It's all right, don't hold back. (Laughter.) When we cut taxes in 2003, most Senate Democrats and nearly 95 percent of House Democrats voted against it.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: And when we extended key tax cuts earlier this year, most Senate Democrats and more than 90 percent of House Democrats voted against it.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I notice that now as we get close to the election, the leader of the House Democrats, Nancy Pelosi, from San Francisco.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: She claims Democrats "love tax cuts." (Laughter.) That only invites another look at her party's record on taxes. It's plain to see, and it stretches back a long way. The last time they had control of the Congress in 1993, they passed a massive tax increase. They'll do it again if they can; they've already figured out a way to do it. Under current law, many of the Bush tax cuts have to be renewed by Congress or they will expire, and the old rates will kick back in.
Recently the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, Charlie Rangel, said --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: -- said that he cannot think of one of our first term tax cuts that he would extend. If the Democrats take control of the House, Charlie Rangel would be chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. He would be in a position to block any legislation coming out of the committee. And if there's no tax legislation renewing the cuts, every tax rate will go back up to the old level, the marriage penalty will return, the death tax will come back to life. The child credit, also, will drop back down from $1,000 to $500. In other words, take the number of dependent children you receive the credit for. Multiply it by $500 -- and that's the additional amount you'll be sending to Washington if you get a Congress that lets the Bush tax cuts expire.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: That's the right answer. (Laughter.)
But that should raise the stakes of this election in the mind of every voter. If the Democrats take control, America's families would face an immense tax increase, and the economy would sustain a major hit. As the President has said, this nation needs more than a temporary expansion, so we need more than temporary tax relief. For the sake of America's entrepreneurs, families, and communities, we need to make the Bush tax cuts permanent -- and we can do that with a new Republican Congress. (Applause.)
We're going to continue working on an agenda for growth and jobs, a safe environment, and better access to health care. We believe our job is to solve big problems, not simply pass them on to the next generation. That's how we'll continue to do business. And when vacancies arise on the federal courts, the President will keep appointing outstanding judges like Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. (Applause.)
Above all, ladies and gentlemen, we're going to stay focused on our number one obligation: to protect and defend the people of the United States in this time of war. (Applause.)
After the attacks of 9/11, President Bush told the Congress and the country that we were in for a long struggle against enemies who regard the entire world as a battlefield. He said the fight would be a serious test of our patience, and our resolve as a nation. He was exactly right. And the people who have done the finest work in this war are the brave men and women from Montana and across America who serve in our armed forces -- we're proud of each and every one of them. (Applause.)
More than five years after 9/11, the terrorists are still trying desperately to commit acts of violence against innocent Americans. As long as that remains the case, we will be a nation at war. And wars are not won on the defensive. We'll protect this country by going on the offense, and taking the fight to the enemy. (Applause.)
In this election season, national security is at the top of the agenda, where it belongs. Every voter in the United States needs to know where we stand, as well as how the leaders of the Democratic Party view the global war on terror. The differences could hardly be more clear, and they have implications for the future security of the nation.
To win this war, America needs the Patriot Act. (Applause.) Thanks to this law we've been able to break up terror cells and prosecute terrorist operatives and terror supporters right inside our own country. The Patriot Act was passed overwhelmingly in October of 2001, because in those early days after 9/11, the danger to America was still in plain view for everyone. But when it came up for renewal last year, Senate Democrats tried to block it by filibuster. Their floor leader, Harry Reid boasted publicly --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: -- boasted publicly that he had "killed" the Patriot Act -- those were his words. Fortunately he was wrong. Fortunately for the country he lost that battle. (Applause.) But he might have won it if we did not have a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate. Conrad Burns voted for the Patriot Act. (Applause.) And he's the only Senate candidate in Montana who wants to keep it. (Applause.) That alone is a great reason to vote for him next Tuesday.
To win this war, America also needs the Terrorist Surveillance Program -- this is a program the President set up right after 9/11, which allows the National Security Agency to monitor international communications, one end of which we have reason to believe is related to al Qaeda, or terrorist networks. The purpose is obvious: If people inside the United States are communicating with al Qaeda, they are talking to the enemy, and we need to know about it. (Applause.)
Yet many leading Democrats have denounced the President for this program. Recently, when a bill to authorize the program came to a vote on the House floor, 177 Democrats -- 88 percent of the House Democratic members voted no.
To win this war, America also needs to be able to arrest, detain and interrogate terrorist operatives, men like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the man who planned 9/11. The best source of information and intelligence in the war on terror is the terrorists themselves -- and we've obtained from captured terrorists invaluable intelligence that has helped us stop a number of attacks planned to take place inside this country. Not long ago, Congress voted on the future of this program. In the House, 162 Democrats -- about 80 percent of all House Democratic congressmen, voted no. In the Senate, 32 out of the 44 Democrats voted no. It appears their preference is no detention program and no military commissions.
Ladies and gentlemen, the key question before the voters on November 7th is whether or not this nation is serious about fighting the war on terror. And there can be no doubt that George W. Bush, Conrad Burns, and Denny Rehberg are serious about fighting and winning it. (Applause.)
Time and time again, we're seeing examples of Democratic Party leaders apparently having lost their perspective concerning the true nature of the enemy we face, and the need to wage this fight aggressively. No sharper example can be found than the Democratic Party chairman himself, Howard Dean --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Just wait, it gets better. (Laughter.)
He said the capture of Saddam Hussein did not make America any safer. And maybe it should be no surprise that such a party would turn its back on a man like Senator Joe Lieberman, who has been an unapologetic supporter in the fight against terror. (Applause.)
Instead they highlight people like John Kerry --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I told you it would get better.
He was their nominee, their presidential nominee in 2004, the titular head of the Democratic Party. Aren't we lucky he lost that election? (Applause.) You remember John Kerry -- the senator who voted for the $87 billion before he voted against it, the guy that was always lecturing us about "nuance." He's the one, you'll recall, who last year said that American soldiers were terrorizing children in Iraq.
And just this week he took another swipe at the U.S. military. Here's what he said, word for word: "You know education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Of course, Senator Kerry said he was just making a joke, and he botched it up. I guess we didn't get the nuance. (Laughter.) Actually, he was for the joke before he was against it. (Laughter and applause.)
The Senator has finally apologized, and rightly so. Just a short while ago. All Americans realize that the men and women serving in Iraq are not there because they didn't study hard or do their homework. The all-volunteer force represents the very best of this country. (Applause.) They're smart, patriotic, exceptionally well trained, and dedicated to their mission. They are heroes, and they are the pride of the United States of America. (Applause.)
Among the leading Democrats, you'll find a range of views on Iraq. Some of them want to pull out all the troops right away. Some want to withdraw on a time line set by politicians in Washington. Some Democrats in the House have introduced legislation to cut off all funding for the troops in Iraq. All of these proposals have a common theme: They would have America leave Iraq before the job is done. That's the kind of withdrawal that Osama bin Laden has been predicting. He and his followers believe that America doesn't have the stomach for the fight, and they are absolutely convinced they can break the will of this country. If we left before the job was done, we would simply validate the al Qaeda strategy and reinforce the notion that if they kill enough Americans they can change American policy. So the choice before the American people is becoming more clear every day: For the sake of our security, this nation must reject any strategy of resignation and defeatism in the war on terror. (Applause.)
Montana is a two-party state, with a long tradition of leadership and service to this country. And I know there are lots of Democrats and independents in Montana who don't find much in common with Democratic leaders like Howard Dean, Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi, and John Kerry.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: As you get ready to vote on Tuesday, it's important to remember that this election will have enormous consequences for this nation. In all the decisions that will come in the next two years, it's going to matter a great deal which party has the majority on the floor and the gavel in committee.
So the stakes in this campaign are high -- not just for the political parties but for the country. The outcome will determine whether Americans pay higher taxes or lower taxes. It will determine whether this government remains firm and resolute in the war on terror, or falls into confusion, doubt, and indecision.
The stakes are high for America's prosperity. The stakes are high for America's security. The stakes are high for America's families. (Applause.) The citizens of Montana deserve people in Washington who speak up for your values and your interests, people who vote on the House and Senate floor the way you would vote if you were a congressman or a senator. That's why you elected Denny Rehberg and Conrad Burns. And that's why these good men will be re-elected come Tuesday.
END 5:32 P.M. MST
Richard B. Cheney, The Vice President's Remarks at a Montana Victory Rally in Kalispell, Montana Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/283258