The Vice President's Remarks at a Victory 2004 Labor Day Picnic in Clear Lake, Iowa
Clear Lake City Park
Clear Lake, Iowa
2:33 P.M. CDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Looks like Bush-Cheney country. (Applause.)
Well, Lynne has known me since I was 14, but she wouldn't go out with me until I was 17. And although we just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary, it's still -- I'm on trial here. (Laughter.)
But I tell people the reason we got married is because Dwight Eisenhower got elected President. In 1952, I was living in Lincoln, Nebraska with my folks -- not far away. (Laughter.) And Dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service. Eisenhower got elected, 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 as I say, last week ago yesterday, celebrated our 40th anniversary. (Applause.)
MRS. CHENEY: Don't forget three granddaughters and a grandson.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: And three daughters and a grandson later.
MRS. CHENEY: Granddaughters.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Three granddaughters and a grandson later. (Laughter.) I explained to a group the other night that if it hadn't been for Eisenhower's election victory, Lynne would have married somebody else. (Laughter.) And she said, right, and now he'd be Vice President of the United States. (Laughter.) True.
But away, we're delighted to be here today in Clear Lake. Wasn't that a fantastic convention last week in New York? (Applause.) And I've been to eight Republican conventions over the years, and that's about right at the top of my list. I thought the President gave a superb speech that last night, laid out a great vision for the future of our nation, talked about how important it is for us to be able to transform government so that all of our citizens are equipped and prepared to take advantage of the dreams and opportunities that we all have.
He also -- he talked about the liberty -- the power of liberty to be able to transform countries. And we look forward to taking our vision over the course of the next 57 days, right down to until November 2nd, when we're going to reelect George Bush President of the United States. (Applause.)
I want to thank Senator Iverson for his hosting us today and for warming up the crowd. He obviously did a good job. (Laughter and applause.)
And I also want to say a word or two about two of your outstanding members of Congress that I work with on a regular basis, Chuck Grassley and Tom Latham. (Applause.) They do a superb job for the people of Iowa.
Now, in 2000, we campaigned hard in Iowa. We didn't quite make it. But we're going to keep working hard right through the election this year. And on November 2nd, Iowa is going to be in the Bush-Cheney win column. (Applause.)
We're now at that point in the race, obviously, where I have an opponent. (Laughter.) No, I really do. And one of the things that I've been intrigued by is everybody keeps saying that John Edwards got picked for the job because he's sexy. He's charming. He's good looking, and he has great hair. I said, "How do you think I got the job?" (Laughter and applause.)
But in all seriousness, this is a very important election. It could not come at a more crucial time in our history. Today we face an enemy every bit as determined to destroy us as were the Axis powers in World War II.
This isn't an enemy we can negotiate with or appease, or reason with. This is, quite simply, an enemy that we must destroy. And with George W. Bush as Commander-in-Chief, that's exactly what we will do. (Applause.)
I'm sure that many of you heard the remarks last week by Rudy Giuliani, in New York. He talked about the attacks on his city, and he remembered that day that as the terrible tragedy occurred, at one point, he turned to his police commissioner, Bernie Kerik, and he said, "Thank God George W. Bush is our President." (Applause.)
Since then, of course, under the President's leadership, we've driven the Taliban from power in Afghanistan. We've closed down the training camps the terrorists used to train to kill Americans. Under the President's leadership, we rid the world of a gathering threat by eliminating the regime of Saddam Hussein. Seventeen months ago, he controlled the lives of 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. He turned control of Libya's program over to us, and today the uranium, the centrifuges, and the design for those nuclear weapons 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 nuclear weapons technology. We've put terrorist financers out of business, and dismantled terrorist cells worldwide. Most of the planners of the 9/11 attacks have been captured or killed -– including Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, the mastermind. (Applause.)
We could not have succeeded in these efforts without the help of dozens of countries around the world. We have a coalition of 30 nations in Afghanistan, and some 30 nations in Iraq. We're grateful for their commitment and for the sacrifice of their people, as well. For this part -- for his part, the President's opponent, Senator Kerry, calls our allies a "coalition of coerced and the bribed" and "window dressing."
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Now, when the President praises our allies, Senator Kerry today called it the phoniest thing he's ever heard.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I've got news for Senator Kerry. As General Tommy Franks said recently, every contribution from every nation is important. They deserve our respect, not insults. Demeaning our allies is an interesting approach for someone seeking the office of the presidency. When it comes to diplomacy, it looks to me like John Kerry should stick to windsurfing. (Laughter and 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 be able to prosecute terrorists. We created the Department of Homeland Security to give our government focus on the mission of protecting the American people.
But a good defense is not enough. We also have gone on the offense on the war on terror -- but the President's opponent even seems to object to that. Senator Kerry has even said that by using our strength, we are creating terrorists and placing ourselves in greater danger. But that is 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 between our President and his opponent who has called for us to fight a "more sensitive" war -- as though Al Qaeda will be impressed with our softer side. Senator Kerry declared at the Democratic Convention that he will forcefully defend America -- after we have been attacked. My friends, 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 in our power to prevent it -- and that includes the use of our military forces.
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 possibly 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, and spare parts, Senators Kerry and Edwards voted no.
AUDIENCE: Booo! (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 voted for the use of force and against the resources our men and women needed once they were in combat. Only four. Senator Kerry and Senator 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. (Laughter.) He said -- (Laughter.) He said, and I quote, "I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it." Well that certainly clears things up. (Laughter.) But lately he's been saying he's proud that he and John Edwards voted no, and he explains 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, and then refuse to provide them 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.)
President Bush knows that our dedicated servicemen and women represent the very best of the United States of America. And I want to thank them and all the veterans with us here today for what they have done for all of us. (Applause.) One of the most important commitments George W. Bush and I made during the 2000 campaign was that our forces would have the resources they need and the respect they deserve -- and we have kept our 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 very 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. And in a 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. His back-and-forth reflects a habit of indecision, and sends a message of confusion. And it is 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 the President and I took the oath of office, on January 1, 2001, (sic) 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, 1.7 million new jobs over the past year -- including 144,000 jobs last month alone. Here in Iowa, almost 10,000 jobs have been created since last year. Mortgage rates, and 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 the nation, 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, and it's growing stronger. The Bush tax cuts are working. (Applause.)
Our accomplishments these last 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 use up 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 this 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'll 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 because 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 America's doctors should be able to spend their time healing patients, not fighting off frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.)
And we will continue to move forward toward to adopt a comprehensive energy policy -- one that promotes domestic energy production, respects the environment, allows us to develop renewable fuels like ethanol and biodiesel. The President's plan does all these things. But it was blocked by a Democrat filibuster in the Senate. We fell two votes short being able to get that legislation passed. Senators Kerry and Edwards didn't even show up for the vote.
Our opponents have a very different vision for the country. They oppose tax relief; now they're proposing massive increases in federal spending. They oppose effective reform of the 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 we reject the brutal practice of partial birth abortion. (Applause.) We stand strongly for the Second Amendment, and we will defend the individual right every American to bear arms. (Applause.) We believe that 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. But we have a situation in the U.S. Senate where Democrats – including Senators Kerry and Edwards ?- are using the filibuster to block the President's sensible, mainstream nominations to the judiciary. Recently, they used their obstructionist tactics to keep the Senate from voting on Bill Myers, a fine man, a friend of mine from the West. 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, by the way, is the circuit that decided we should not say "under God" when we pledge allegiance to the flag. 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 Chuck Grassley back 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's a person of loyalty and kindness, a man who speaks plainly and who means what he says. I have seen him face some of the hardest decisions that can come to the occupant of the Oval Office -- and make those decisions with the wisdom and humility that Americans expect in their 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'll 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.
The President and I are honored by your confidence in us, and by your commitment to the cause we all share. We will wage this effort with complete confidence in the judgment of the American people. The signs are good -- here in Iowa, 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." (Laughter and 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 Iowa. I want to thank you for this tremendous welcome today to Clear Lake. 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 2:55 P.M. CDT
Richard B. Cheney, The Vice President's Remarks at a Victory 2004 Labor Day Picnic in Clear Lake, Iowa Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/281549