Vice President Cheney's Remarks at a BC'04 Rally in Medford, New Jersey
Lenape High School
Medford, New Jersey
10:51 A.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Mercy. (Laughter.) This sounds like Bush-Cheney country. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, it's -- what was that? (Laughter.)
It's a pleasure to be back in New Jersey, and here in Burlington County, in the historic Township of Medford. And all of you live in one of the most beautiful areas in the Northeast, and you sure know how to make a Vice President feel good. (Applause.) We appreciate the tremendous turnout today, and I bring good wishes to all of you from the President of the United States, George W. Bush. (Applause.)
And, Bernie, let me thank you for your kind words and for all that you've done for this country not only in New York, but in Iraq and Afghanistan. You've been vital to our efforts over there, and we deeply appreciate it. (Applause.)
It's good to see my old friend Jim Saxton here today. Jim and I have been friends for 20 years. (Applause.) Jim does a great job representing the third district, and the President and I greatly value his advice and enjoy working with him in Washington. And I want to thank Dave Jones, and the men and women of NTC's Eastern Division for your endorsement today. David. (Applause.)
From here, Lynne and I are traveling on to Ohio and Iowa today, and then tomorrow we'll be in Wisconsin and Minnesota. And we're traveling after that, but I forget where. (Laughter.) But we've got many more stops along the campaign trail, and three weeks to go. We saw once again in the debate on Friday night that the differences between the President and the Junior Senator from Massachusetts. (Applause.) And as Election Day draws near, one thing is becoming very clear in this state: New Jersey is moving toward a Bush-Cheney victory. (Applause.)
We're doing well here because New Jersey voters understand the importance of steady, principled, consistent leadership in the White House. This is no ordinary time for America, and the last three-and-a-half years have brought some serious challenges to our country. We are meeting every one of those challenges with strength and resolve. And today, people in New Jersey and across the land can be confident of a better future; a stronger economy; and a nation that is more secure, thanks to the character and the leadership of our President, George W. Bush. (Applause.)
As Vice President, I have an opponent of my own. (Laughter.) Come on, I haven't even got the line out yet. (Laughter.) I had a great time debating him last Tuesday. (Applause.) People tell me that Senator Edwards got picked for his good looks, his charm, his great hair, his sex appeal. (Laughter.) I said, "How do you think I got the job?" (Applause.)
But in all seriousness, and I do want to be serious for a bit today, this is a very important election – and it could not come at a more crucial time in our history. 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 is exactly what we will do. (Applause.)
Under President Bush's leadership, we are confronting the terrorists with our military, so we do not have to fight them with armies of firefighters, police and medical personnel on the streets of our own cities.
Since the attacks of September 11th, President Bush has led a clear, steady, and consistent effort to protect the American people. We are going after the terrorists wherever they train and hide. We are confronting regimes that sponsor terrorists or give them safe haven. And in the broader Middle East, we're aiding the rise of democracy, because free nations will not become breeding grounds for terror.
We're making progress. We have ended the Taliban regime. And Saddam Hussein is in jail. (Applause.) We have broken up terror cells around the world, and captured or killed thousands of al Qaeda terrorists. We're training security forces in both Afghanistan and Iraq and rebuilding schools and hospitals to improve lives. And we are helping the people of Afghanistan and Iraq to build representative governments. Afghanistan, where almost half of the 10 million registered voters are women, held its first democratic election in history yesterday. (Applause.) Iraq will have free elections in January. (Applause.)
President Bush does not deal in empty threats and half-way measures, and his determination has sent a very clear message. Just five days after Saddam was captured, the government of Libya agreed to abandon its nuclear weapons program and turn the materials over to the United States. (Applause.) Today, the centrifuges, the plans for nuclear weapons, and the uranium that once were hidden in Libya are locked up and stored away, never again to be a danger to anyone.
The President is determined to prevail in the global war on terror, but even after 9/11, John Kerry has often seemed not to understand the threat. From 9/11 to this hour, our principal concern has had to be that the terrorists will strike again, and that they will try use even deadlier weapons. We know they seek chemical, biological and nuclear capability, which means we cannot wait until we are attacked to deal with them, as Senator Kerry implied in his speech at the Democratic Convention. Nor can we think of our goal in this war in the way Senator Kerry described it yesterday in The New York Times. Quote: "We have to get back to the place," he said, where terrorism is "a nuisance," sort of like – and these are his comparisons -- sort of like gambling and prostitution. This is --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: This is naive and dangerous, as was Senator Kerry's reluctance earlier this year to call the war on terror an actual war. He preferred to think of it, he said, as primarily an intelligence and law enforcement operation. This is all part of a pre-9/11 mind set, and it is a view we cannot go back to.
The 9/11 attack was the worst ever on American soil. We lost more people that day than we lost at Pearl Harbor. Since then, we've seen attacks all over the world -- Madrid, Casablanca, Mombassa, Riyadh, Istanbul, Jakarta, Bali, Baghdad, Beslan in Russia, most recently in Egypt. This is a global conflict. If we fail to aggressively prosecute the war on terror, destroying terrorists where we find them and confronting governments that sponsor terror, the danger will only increase. The terrorists will escalate their attacks, both here at home and overseas, and the likelihood will increase that they will acquire weapons of mass destruction to use against us. Ultimately the cost of dealing with this threat will be far higher than confronting it now.
Something Senator Kerry said in the first presidential debate reveals the same mind set, the same lack of understanding of the danger we face. He said that before America acts, we must pass a "global test."
THE VICE PRESIDENT: The President and I know, even as we work to build international alliances around the world, that our job is not to conduct international opinion polls. Our job is to protect the American people. And we will never seek a permission slip to defend the United States of America. (Applause.)
When John Kerry suggests a global test, he goes right back to his beginnings in politics, when he ran for Congress the first time and he said he would only deploy troops under the authority of the United Nations.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: During the 1980s, he opposed Ronald Reagan's major defense initiatives that brought victory in the Cold War. In 1991, when Saddam Hussein occupied Kuwait and stood poised to dominate the Persian Gulf, Senator Kerry voted against Operation Desert Storm. You occasionally hear some bold talk from him, but it cannot disguise a 30-year record of coming down on the wrong side of virtually every major defense issue. (Applause.)
Perhaps Senator Kerry's most notorious vote is the one against funding for our troops. After voting for the use of force in Iraq, he voted against the $87 billion dollars needed by our men and women in uniform for ammunition, spare parts, and fuel. The reason for his shift was simple: Howard Dean, the anti-war Democrat in the Democratic primaries, was surging ahead. Now, I have to ask: if Senator Kerry can't stand up to the pressures posed by Howard Dean, how can we expect him to stand up to the al Qaeda? (Applause.)
The other night in the debate on Friday, Senator Kerry said, and I quote, "I've never changed my mind about Iraq." (Laughter.) "I do believe Saddam Hussein was a threat." End quote. And then within minutes he changed his mind, saying that Iraq, and I quote "wasn't a threat." The Senator, who likes to say he never wavers, wavered within the course of a single debate, and that matters, because our troops, our allies, and our enemies must know where America stands. (Applause.)
The President of the United States must be clear and consistent. The Iraqi people need to know that America always keeps its promises. The terrorists need to know that we will not cut and run. And our men and women in uniform need to know that we will honor their service and sacrifice by completing the mission. (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 here today for what they've done for all of us. (Applause.) One of the most important commitments the President 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.
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. A senator can be wrong; a senator can be confused; a senator can be indecisive for 20 years, without consequence to the nation. But a President always casts the deciding vote. And in this time of challenge, America needs – and America has – a President we can count on to get it right. (Applause.)
Senator Kerry's 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. 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 here at home. When President Bush and I took the oath of office on the inaugural platform on the west front of the Capitol, our economy was sliding into recession. Then, on 9/11, terrorists struck our nation and shook the economy once again. President Bush responded by delivering tax cuts four times in four years.
Every American who pays federal income taxes benefited from the Bush tax cuts – and so has our economy. We've created jobs -- (Applause.) We've created jobs for 13 consecutive months, a total of over 1.9 million new jobs during that period – including almost 100,000 new jobs last month alone. Here in New Jersey, nearly 90,000 jobs have been created since March of '03. 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 know there are still challenges. (Applause.) 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 past 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 and spend his energy on small goals. He went to take on the big issues, and to make serious reforms. He has led with confidence, clear vision, and unwavering purpose. He's made hard choices, and 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 will keep moving forward with our pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda. We will work to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. And to help families and small businesses, we will lead a bipartisan effort to reform and simplify the federal tax code. (Applause.)
We will work to end lawsuit abuse. We know that it's a lot easier -- (Applause.) 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 we know the cost of malpractice insurance is creating a crisis, not only in New Jersey, but across the nation. America's doctors should be able to spend their time healing patients, not fighting off frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.)
Our opponents have a very different vision for the country. In the Senate, John Kerry voted to increase taxes 98 times. He opposed the President's middle class tax relief, and he voted to squeeze another $2,000 per year from the average middle class family. He is opposed to reform of our legal system, and he is against medical liability reform. Now Senator Kerry is proposing massive increases in federal spending. His 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 believe that our nation is one nation under God and Americans ought to be able to say so. (Applause.) And we ought to be able to say so when we pledge allegiance to our 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. The Democrats in the Senate have been doing everything they can – including using the filibuster ?- to keep the President's sensible, mainstream nominations off the bench. They are hoping to wait the President out. But I've got news for them. That's not going to happen. We are going to win this election. (Applause.)
My friends, the differences between the President and his opponent are as sharp as they can possibly be, and the consequences for the country are enormous. On vital matters of national security, Senator Kerry offers a record of weakness and a strategy of retreat. President Bush offers a record of steady purpose and resolute action, and a strategy for victory. Senator Kerry is a tax-and-spend liberal; President Bush is a compassionate conservative. Senator Kerry wants to empower government; President Bush will use government to empower people. (Applause.) John Kerry seems to think that all the wisdom is found in Washington, D.C.; George Bush trusts the wisdom of the American people. (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 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 Americans expect in their President.
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 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 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 New Jersey, and even in Massachusetts. (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 Jersey. I want to thank you for this welcome this morning. 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 11:15 A.M. EDT
Richard B. Cheney, Vice President Cheney's Remarks at a BC'04 Rally in Medford, New Jersey Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/282091