Vice President's Remarks in Honolulu, Hawaii
Hawaii Convention Center
11:12 P.M. HAST
AUDIENCE: Cheney! Cheney! Cheney! (Applause.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much. I was in the neighborhood and thought I'd stop by and say, aloha. (Laughter.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: It's great to be back in Hawaii. And from the enthusiasm I see here this evening, there's no doubt in my mind this is Bush-Cheney country. (Applause.)
Now, it's true that Lynne has known me since I was 14, but she wouldn't go out with me until I was 17. (Laughter.) I tell people we got married because Dwight Eisenhower got elected President of the United States. (Laughter.) In those days I was a youngster living in Nebraska. Dad worked for the government. Eisenhower got elected, reorganized things, Dad got transferred to Casper, Wyoming. And that's where I met Lynne. We grew up together, went to high school together, and just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. (Applause.) 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.)
We've been here a great many times over the years, including trips with my former bosses, President Gerald Ford and former President Bush. This is one of the friendliest, most beautiful parts of the country, with a rich and diverse -- (applause) -- with a rich and diverse culture. I particularly appreciate the unique contributions native Hawaiians have made to this state and to our nation. (Applause.) And I am honored, on the eve of this historic election, to bring good wishes to all of Hawaii's citizens from the President of the United States, George W. Bush. (Applause.)
Before I go on tonight, I wanted to make just one comment. I noticed today that Senator Inouye's wife, Maggie, has been diagnosed with cancer. And I'm sure we all want to wish her the very best in the surgery that's ahead for her this week. (Applause.)
I am told this is the first time in history that a national candidate has come to Hawaii so close to Election Day, and I'm proud to hold the distinction. I'm here for a very simple reason: Hawaii is a vital state in this election, and President Bush and I would be honored to have your vote. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: The people of Hawaii understand the importance of steady, principled, consistent leadership in the White House. That's why this state is moving our way. And on Tuesday, I have a feeling we're going to surprise a lot of people back on the mainland because -- (applause) -- we're going to carry Hawaii. (Applause.)
I want to thank Governor Lingle for those kind words, and for joining us here tonight. By sending Linda to the state capital, the people of Hawaii showed that strong, optimistic leadership is more important than party labels. (Applause.) The President and I are grateful for Linda's support in this campaign, and for the support of fellow Republicans across the country. We're equally proud to count millions of Democrats and independents among our supporters. (Applause.) It doesn't matter which party you belong to, or who you have voted for in the past, we're asking for your support. (Applause.) And with your help, we'll make George W. Bush President for four more years. (Applause.)
I'm also glad Lieutenant Governor Aiona could be here tonight, as well as your Party Chair Morioka.
AUDIENCE: Duke! Duke! Duke!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: And I want to thank everyone who has put up signs, or made phone calls, or worked to get people to the polls. This campaign has the greatest ground game in American political history, and I thank you for being part of it. (Applause.)
With only a matter of hours remaining in the campaign, the choice facing the American people could not be more clear. All right. (Laughter.) Don't hold back. (Laughter.) This is no ordinary time for America. We've all seen the tape of Osama bin Laden recently.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: It's a reminder that we are engaged in a global war on terror. This is a conflict we did not choose, but it is one that we will win. (Applause.)
We're standing just a few miles from Pearl Harbor, the site of a sudden attack on the U.S., on Sunday, December 7th, 1941. That day our peaceful country found itself in a global struggle that would last four years and would test our patience and resolve as a nation. Fortunately for us all, a great generation of Americans was more than equal to that challenge. (Applause.) They pulled together in freedom's cause, threw back aggression in a two-front war, and aided the rise of democracy in Europe and the Pacific.
Three years ago, America faced another sudden attack. And like other generations of Americans, we found that history had unexpected duties in store for us. September 11th, 2001 made clear the great challenge of our time. And since that morning, we have seen the brutal acts of terrorists around the world – from a nightclub in Bali, to trains in Madrid, to a school in Beslan, Russia. Against this kind of determined, organized, ruthless enemy, America requires an aggressive strategy – not merely to prosecute a series of crimes, but to fight and win a global campaign against the terrorist network. (Applause.) If the killers of 9/11 thought we had lost the will to defend our freedom, they did not know America. And they did not know George W. Bush. (Applause.)
Under the President's leadership, we have reached around the world to capture and kill thousands of al Qaeda. In Afghanistan, the camps where terrorists trained to kill Americans have been shut down, and the Taliban driven from power. (Applause.) In Iraq, we dealt with a gathering threat, and removed the regime of Saddam Hussein. (Applause.) Nineteen months ago, he controlled the lives of 25 million people. Tonight, he sits in jail. (Applause.)
Because of President Bush's determination in the war on terror, leaders around the world are getting the message. Just five days after Saddam Hussein was captured, Moammar Ghadafi in Libya agreed to abandon his nuclear weapons program and turn the materials over to the United States. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Not on your life. (Laughter.)
The biggest danger we face today is having nuclear weapons technology fall into the hands of terrorists. The President is working with many countries in a global effort to end trade and transfer of these deadly technologies. The most important result thus far is that the black-market network that supplied nuclear weapons technology to Libya, as well as to Iran and North Korea, has been shut down. And the world is much safer as a result. (Applause.)
Having liberated 50 million people, we are now supporting the efforts of the Afghan and Iraqi people to establish representative government. In Afghanistan 10 million people registered to vote, nearly half of them women. (Applause.) Elections were held three weeks ago, the first in the 5,000-year history of that country. (Applause.) In January, the people of Iraq will vote, as well. And we will be safer as a result. One the lessons that history teaches is that institutions of self-government turn the energies of people away from violence to the peaceful work of building better lives. Freedom is the best antidote to terrorism. (Applause.)
In all our efforts we have been aided by dozens of countries around the world. This April, I traveled to Japan and Korea to thank the leaders in those countries for their vital contributions in Iraq and other fronts in the war on terror. America's relations with Japan and Korea have never been stronger. And we're grateful as well for the friendship and support of other Asian allies. 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. (Applause.) We will never seek a permission slip to defend the United States of America. (Applause.)
The clearest, most important difference in this campaign is simple to state: President Bush understands the war on terror and has a strategy for winning it. Senator Kerry does not. (Applause.)
All doubt on the matter was removed recently when Senator Kerry said that he wanted to lead America back to the place where we were ?- to a time when terrorism was, in his word, a "nuisance."
THE VICE PRESIDENT: When I read that, I thought to myself: When was terrorism only a nuisance? Was it a nuisance four years ago, when the USS Cole was attacked and nearly sunk and we lost 17 sailors?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Was it a nuisance six years ago when they attacked simultaneously two of our embassies in East Africa and killed hundreds?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Was terrorism just a nuisance 11 years ago, when the World Trade Center was first bombed?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Or 16 years ago, when Pan Am 103 was blown out of the skies over Lockerbie Scotland?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Or 21 years ago, when a suicide bomber in a truck loaded with explosives drove into a barracks in Beirut and killed 241 American servicemen?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: My friends, there never was a time when terrorism was just a nuisance. There never can be a time when terrorism is just a nuisance. Our goal is not to reduce terror to some acceptable level. Our goal is to defeat terror – and with George W. Bush as President, that is exactly what we will do. (Applause.)
During this campaign, we've heard a lot of bold talk from Senator Kerry, but it cannot disguise a 30-year record of coming down on the wrong side of virtually every major national security issue. He first ran for Congress advocating the idea that we should deploy American troops only under the authority of the United Nations.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: He ran for the Senate on the platform that we should dismantle most of the major weapons systems that Ronald Reagan used to keep the peace and win the Cold War.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: In 1991, when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and stood poised to dominate the Persian Gulf, John Kerry voted against Operation Desert Storm.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: In the first debate, this year, Senator Kerry said America had to meet some kind of "global test" before we could take military action.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: The President and I know better than that. We know that it is not our job to conduct international opinion polls. Our job is to defend America. (Applause.)
Now, in the closing days of this campaign, John Kerry is running around talking tough. He's trying every which way to cover up his record of weakness on national defense. But he can't do it. It won't work. As we like to say in Wyoming, you can put all the lipstick you want on a pig, but at the end of the day it's still a pig. (Applause.)
That's one of my favorite lines. (Laughter.) You want to hear it again?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: As we say in Wyoming -- (laughter) -- you can put all the lipstick you want on a pig, but at the end of the day it's still a pig. (Applause.) This is a great crowd. (Applause.) All right.
AUDIENCE: Cheney! Cheney! Cheney! (Applause.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Mercy. These are not times for leaders who shift with the political winds; or who fail to understand the nature of the struggle we're in. Our troops, our allies, and our adversaries must know where America stands. The President of the United States must be clear and consistent. In his years in Washington, John Kerry has been one of a hundred votes in the United States 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. And in this time of challenge, America needs ?- and America has – a President we can count on to get it right. (Applause.)
Our success in the war on terror is made possible by the men and women of the United States military. (Applause.) President Bush knows that our dedicated servicemen and women represent the very best of the United States of America. (Applause.) I want to thank the troops, the civilian personnel who support them, their families, and the veterans with us here today for all they have done for all of us. (Applause.)
Senator Kerry takes a different view when it comes to supporting our military.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: He voted in favor -- he voted -- control yourselves. (Laughter.) He voted in favor of using force against Saddam Hussein, but then during the primary season when it came time to vote for funds that would provide our men and women with body armor, ammunition, jet fuel, and spare parts they needed, Senator Kerry voted "no."
THE VICE PRESIDENT: He offered a ridiculous explanation, which frankly I think will go down in the history of American politics. He said, and I quote, "I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it."
AUDIENCE: Flip-flop! Flip-flop! Flip-flop!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: If you guys don't behave, the President will never let me come back again. (Laughter.) But the real reason Senator Kerry turned his back on the troops was what he saw in the polls. Howard Dean was the antiwar candidate and Dean was surging ahead in the polls, and so John Kerry, in order to advance himself in the Democratic primary, turned his back on our troops.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: He said his vote was "complicated," but, my friends, supporting American troops in combat should never be a complicated matter. (Applause.)
John Kerry turned to the polls again just a few days ago. Right after the bin Laden tape was released, the Kerry campaign took a poll to see what his response should be. He put his finger in the air to see which way the wind was blowing. George Bush doesn't need a poll to know where he stands in the war on terror. (Applause.) He's a man of courage and conviction who knows how to lead America during a time of war. And we need him for four more years.
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: 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 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 terrorists struck on 9/11 and shook our economy once again. The tourism sector was especially hard hit, and I know that presented serious challenges here in Hawaii. 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 cuts for the American people not once, not twice, but four times in four years. (Applause.)
Every American who pays federal income taxes benefited from the Bush tax cuts ?- and so has our economy. We've created jobs for 13 consecutive months ?- a total of over 1.9 million new jobs during that period. Here in Hawaii, more than 40,000 jobs in the last three years. And your unemployment rate is the lowest in the nation. (Applause.) 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. In a second term, we will keep our economy moving in the right direction by making the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Applause.)
We will also work to open more foreign markets, so consumers all over the world can buy Hawaiian products. (Applause.)
We'll work to end lawsuit abuse because we know it's 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, so that America's doctors are able to spend their time healing patients, not fighting off frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.)
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 support for their good works. (Applause.) We believe that our nation is "one nation under God" and that Americans ought to be able to say so when we 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.) The Democrats in the Senate have been doing everything they can – including using the filibuster – to keep the President's sensible, mainstream nominees off the bench.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: They are hoping to wait the President out. But I've got news for them. That's not going to happen because 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. (Applause.) Senator Kerry wants to empower government; President Bush will empower the citizens of this great land. (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.)
The polls in Hawaii are open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, bright and early. I'm asking every one of you to vote, and get your friends and neighbors to come along. There is a lot at stake in this election. And I want to ask for your support just as clearly as I possibly can. (Applause.)
If you want a President who will fight the terrorists on the offensive, and never relent in protecting our country, send George W. Bush back for four more years. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: If you want a President who will keep his word, and stand behind our military 100 percent of the time, send George W. Bush back for four more years. (Applause.)
If you want a President who will keep taxes low for families, farmers, and entrepreneurs, send George W. Bush back for four more years. (Applause.)
If you want a President who will expand opportunities to start a business or own a home ?- if you want to live the American dream, send George Bush back for four more years. (Applause.)
If you want a President who will insist on accountability in the classroom and keep parents and teachers in charge of the schools, send George W. Bush back for four more years. (Applause.)
And if you are a Democrat and you want a President who will stand up for America's enduring values, send George Bush back for four more years. (Applause.)
Once again, I want to thank you for coming this evening – this is a truly memorable night, one Lynne and I will never forget. (Applause.) Some candidates may take Hawaii for granted – President Bush and I take it seriously. We're proud to have you on the team. And together, on Tuesday, we're going to see our cause forward to victory.
Mahalo, and good night. (Applause.)
END 11:45 P.M. HAST
Richard B. Cheney, Vice President's Remarks in Honolulu, Hawaii Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/281088